• September 26th, 2018
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Terminally ill pensioner lives alone in the desert

National
National

Eveline de Klerk Walvis Bay-A 63-year-old pensioner who lives about 18 kilometres outside Walvis Bay in the desert is desperately in need of basic medical care. The pensioner, who identifies himself as Christian Potgieter, is terminally ill and lives in a deplorable state in an old caravan, without access to clean water and sanitation. New Era on Tuesday morning visited the frail and malnourished Potgieter at his caravan.  It took about 30 minutes before he emerged with difficulty from the caravan. Narrating his life story, Potgieter said that he currently suffers from three types of cancer, which makes it difficult for him to realise his life-long dream of mining semi-precious stones in the desert. “I suffer from three types of cancer, throat cancer and skin cancer… I cannot remember the third one. However, I was diagnosed in 2005 while living in Windhoek,” he explained. It is also evident the throat cancer is already at an advanced stage as part of the old man’s face already bears scars which he tries to cover with a bandana. When asked how he found himself so far away from civilisation, Potgieter explained that he does not have relatives and his only nephew is currently in the North with work, but that he does visit when he can. Potgieter who has lived and worked all over Namibia says that he previously worked in Walvis Bay and his love for mining led him to acquire a mining licence for semi-precious stones. “I came back in February last year from Tsumeb and started mining, but I fell ill shortly afterwards and cannot do it anymore.  All I do is sleep as my body is in constant pain and I’d rather spend my days in the caravan resting. I misjudged the time I have on earth and now I only see death creeping up,” says the pensioner who cuts a pathetic figure. He says that he receives a government pension every month, which he uses to buy food, mainly tinned fish, and maize meal that however does not last very long. “I love the land although it’s not the ideal place to stay, but I also don’t want to be a burden to people, but I am thankful for the two men that help me in anyway possible,” Potgieter said. Among the two men he refers to is Aron Joel, who works at a stone crusher factory close by, who since meeting the pensioner in February last year, has been checking up on him on a daily basis. “I am very worried about his wellbeing as I see he needs urgent attention. He is stubborn like any other elder but I make sure he has water and whatever he needs. However now I think he needs medical care as soon as possible,” narrated an emotional Joel. He added that he approached another resident Apolo Namupala to assist him as well. Namupala on his part has been taking Potgieter to Walvis Bay to receive his pension and also to do his monthly shopping for the most basic of essentials. “The old man is really sick now and we are scared that he might die alone here out in the desert that is why we went to the media so that we get assistance to make the old man’s last days as comfortable as possible,” he said.
2018-01-18 09:19:21 8 months ago
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