Farm 37 residents challenged by living conditions

TOUGH LIFE … Farm 37 residents at Walvis Bay say they face many challenges, including extreme windy conditions.

Walvis Bay residents who have been facing land challenges are slowly moving to Farm 37, located about seven kilometres east of Walvis Bay.

The residents mainly consist of fire victims and backyard tenants who were looking for an affordable place to call home.

About 40 families have already settled at the place, with more arriving gradually after earlier being informed that they could risk losing their plots if they fail to erect their structures.

The residents, however, complain that the first few weeks have been a nightmare after facing challenges including strong winds, mosquitos, hyenas, darkness, a lack of electricity, health services, shops and transport, among others.

The biggest challenge, they said, is that of children who are unable to go to school, as there is no transportation, while they can also not get to work on time.

The Namibian found Paulina Matemba on Saturday in a structure made of plastic bags that were almost blown away by the wind, with her four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son, who is sickly.

“He had two operations on the stomach and head, and he has four holes in the heart. His chest closes up. We have many emergencies because of his chest. I keep panicking when thinking about the time when he has to be rushed to the hospital again, because there is no transport. It is extremely windy and his chest could close up at any moment. I had to move before April last year, because I do not want to lose my plot. I also walk to Narraville, where I work,” she said.

Stacy Pabello arrived at Farm 37 a week ago.

“Yes, we need land, but it is tough out here. We feel bad that the kids do not go to school. We have about 10 children here that do not go to school. We need hospitals. I am asthmatic and it is really windy here. We need at least a bus. We will pay. It takes about four hours to get transport to Walvis Bay,” she said.

Emma Gaweses suggested that the municipality liaise with companies to rectify the transport issue.

“We might have residents with taxis at a later stage, but for now someone must at least help with buses to transport people to work, hospitals and schools. I will have to wake up at 04h00 to walk to the factory where I work. The factories refuse to help with transport. They say that we are too far outside Walvis Bay,” she said.

Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes on Friday said he visited the place and was pleased that residents built good structures, while noting that the council is working on providing all services to residents.

“We said that the move is voluntary. Challenges are opportunities to improve. I want to encourage them to be grateful. They now have their own plots. They are not living in backyards. We will go through the growth pains together. We are moving people gradually in small groups as we want to identify challenges.

“We had meetings with the taxi and bus association and traffic department to put Farm 37 in the route of taxi and bus drivers. We encouraged residents for now to see how they can get transport. We are having a meeting today with the technical department to see how we can start relaying the water through meters on each plot. We have toilet facilities and had a meeting with the Walvis Bay circuit to speak about schools,” he said.

The Walvis Bay municipality allocated and introduced erven to the first 50 landless people seven months ago after the area was identified in 2015.

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