05 Sep 2016 15:00pm
VERONICA GOMXOS DREAMS OF FEEDING THE NEEDY
By Francois Lottering
(NAMPA FEATURES SERVICE)
DORDABIS, 05 SEP (NAMPA) With every onion, tomato and carrot she puts in the basket, her face lights up with delight as she sees the success that has come of her hard work and perseverance.
It was not an easy walk to get the vegetable garden to where it is today, Veronica Gomxos tells Nampa on a return visit to the garden about three months after reporting about her sprouting crops in Dordabis.
Gomxos's makeshift greenhouse on a plot of land in this settlement situated 90 kilometres east of Windhoek is her lifeline.
She struggled to get the project off the ground in 2009, begging and borrowing money, seeds and gardening tools and today it earns her a living and supports vulnerable people with food.
The greenhouse is not sufficiently covered in netting to protect the fragile plants from the elements, and many plants are exposed to fierce heat in summer and frostbite during winter.
Frostbite cost me dearly. I lost almost all of my tomatoes and green peppers this past winter. Losing a few tomatoes and green peppers may not be a big problem for big producers, but for a person like me, every vegetable lost means money down the drain. I could have used that money to buy seeds, pesticide and pay for my child's basic needs like education and clothing, says the 30-year-old mother of a toddler.
Unemployment is rife and combined with alcohol abuse, surviving here needs self-discipline and determination.
Dordabis is situated on the main route to both Uhlenhorst and Blumfelde - a prestige tourist attraction.
It has an estimated 1 500 residents who use the few Government institutions like schools, a police station, clinic and post office.
The only little shop and fuel station belongs to a farmer.
These few establishments make it hard for Gomxos to find a profitable market for her produce, and she is forced to sell in the nearest town, Windhoek.
I have to take the produce to Windhoek, and transport costs are too high, so I have to look for someone traveling to the city to my veggies with, she says.
Gomxos also provides some of the vegetables to the sick and bedridden or on anti-retroviral medication free of charge and it means a lot to the beneficiaries who have nothing.
This little help she offers spurs her on to work harder to be able to help even more.
I dreamt about a gardening project to develop my community, the rural areas and feed orphans and vulnerable children and other vulnerable people, she says with a smile.
Asked why youngsters from Dordabis do not join her in the project since the land on which the project runs belongs to the council, she says they only want to hang out at the various drinking places.
Some say the garden project is a waste of time, which is not so; it is the future for us to survive and be self-sustainable.
She credits President Hage Geingob as being a motivating factor in her endeavour to become a successful crop farmer, because he continuously reminds the nation about the war on poverty and hunger.
Despite the ongoing drought in the country, Gomxos does not experience problems with water as she gets her supply from a nearby borehole powered by solar power donated by the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service and the Khomas Regional Council.
Right after harvesting, Gomxos started tilling and cultivating the soil for summer crops like watermelons, corn, cucumber and sweet melons. Hopefully, the hot summer sun will go easy on her crops.