26 Jul 2015 17:00pm
By Mulisa Simiyasa
OUTJO, 26 JUL (NAMPA) Unemployed father of 11 children, Immanuel /Hoaeb sits with a worried look on his face - he does not know how to feed his family tonight.
/Hoaeb, 49, and wife live with his mother-in-law in a zinc house in Camp Five settlement in Outjo in the Kunene Region.
His family was recently evicted from a farm where he had worked for approximately six years on the grounds that his family has become too big and too expensive to feed, and because they occupied a big piece on the farmland near Kamanjab.
We have no house of our own and we cannot provide for our children.
We survive by begging on the streets and from neighbours, said /Hoaeb.
His children range between 27-years-old and one year old.
They were 12 children, but one of them, a 16-year-old girl, died in 2014 after a short illness.
/Hoaeb also has two grandchildren.
At night, all children sleep next to each other on the floor with little or no blankets to cover themselves.
A 10 kilogramme bag of maize meal lasts only one day in their house.
The children include three girls and eight boys. None of the older ones, aged between 27 and 15, work and the young ones do not attend school. /Hoaeb claims that all his jobs were on farms situated far away from schools.
The older children roam the streets of Outjo on a daily basis, scavenging for food and handouts.
/Hoab said he helped his former employers increase their fortune by taking care of their livestock, and now he needs help.
He urged Government to help him or for someone to give him a job of any kind - someone who would allow him and his 11 children, wife and two grandchildren to live together at that place of employment.
With a soft voice, /Hoaeb says his five small children are the ones who induce the most pain in his life when they demand food.
His hope for a better future for them all was shattered in 2013 when his daughter dropped out of school in Grade Five after she fell pregnant at age 13.
We live in absolute poverty. I can clearly say I am the poorest man in Outjo; I need help, /Hoaeb said woefully.
His wife Magdalena /Hoaes, 41, whom he married in the Outjo Magistrates Court in 1994, said farmers in the Kunene Region mistreated them because of their large family that needs daily basic resources in large quantities.
What must we do? Yes, my children are many, but they are already here on earth.
A medical doctor at Outjo advised me to lock my womb [sic] some years ago, but he did not tell me I would experience these troubles if I did not do so, she said.
/Hoaes only started using birth control injections in June this year.
Her mother, Clara Tabus, said her grandchildren eat any type of food.
We survive on my pension grant. My grandchildren are forever hungry. They have never seen enough food in their lives, the 70-year-old Tabus narrated.
/Hoaes is Tabuss only child who is still alive.
Outjo Constituency Councillor, Abraham Job also does not know how to pull /Hoaeb and his family out of poverty.
Job said many large families in his constituency are likely to be impoverished too, and thus called for urgent mass assistance for them.
He claims that on every third day, a family living in poverty would walk straight into his office and cry out loud, asking him for something to eat.
We sometimes give money from our pockets at this office. Poverty and hunger are the biggest challenges facing our people, Job said.
Meanwhile, the government is planning to establish a national Food Bank in the near future.
Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Bishop Zephania Kameeta recently said the private sector is very eager to come on board and donate food.
Kameeta also said no one should be hungry, and reiterated the theme of President Hage Geingob's inaugural speech that no Namibian should feel left out.
Let us work together - the government, churches and other faith-based organisations, as well as people of goodwill - to fight poverty, he noted.