Efundja transformed our lives

While the levels of the water may have subsided, the gift of efundja keeps on giving, for these women in particular.

18 May 2017 | Local News

Six women In Omusati Region, aged between 42 and 60, make ends meet by camping along the Oshikuku-Outapi main road at Oshikulufitu village, selling fish to passers-by in order feed their combined family of 55.

The women shared their stories telling Namibian Sun their lives have been temporarily transformed by the blessings from the seasonal flood known as efundja, which has seen them escape poverty with the income they make from sales of fish.

They buy the fish from the boys and men who spend their days and nights in the waters and they resell the 'entangu' or small fish.

They indicated to Namibian Sun that they have been camping at the area since 1 April when the efundja started.

According to the women, the last time they carried out this exercise was three years ago before the drought took hold.

Talking about transformation and escaping poverty, Agripine Sheimi said with the income they make from selling fish they are able to sustain themselves and their families.

“We are able to improve our lives and we can buy important thing with the money we make, fencing our houses, buying food, paying people to do work in our fields while we are selling here, bringing tap water into our homes, assist with our children's school needs and also buy livestock such as goats for feasts,” Sheimi said.

She indicated that they can make up to N$1 500 on good days such as Sundays when passers-by are traveling back to other towns. During week days they can make an income of up to N$700 to N$900 or less depending on the customers that stop and buy.

Explaining the reasons for camping, Sheimi said it is to avoid theft of their fish by community members and because of animals such as pigs and dogs that eat their fish if unattended.

Shiemi however indicated that they do not sleep on-site every day.

“We don't always sleep here and we are not here all day as we give each other an opportunity to go and take care of things at home. We look after each other's things for each other,” Sheimi said.

However as the women thank the seasonal flood and good rains for transforming their lives temporarily, they also raised concern about how they will suffer once this form of income is gone.

“As much as we appreciate the efundja we remain concerned as we are unemployed and this only came after three years. We have been depending solely on our mahangu fields which were also not giving us much,” they women collectively said.

This was then followed by their request to government to see whether they can be taken to training and be part of projects which will help them secure employment or become self-employed.

They justified their request by indicating that they are still fit to do physical labour adding that they can contribute to the economy of the country.

“If you look at us, we are still fit and there is a lot we can do. If someone or government can take us after the flood waters have disappeared to be part of projects, we will really appreciate it because we are heading our home with the challenge of making ends meet. We no longer want this life,” they said.

Contacted for comment, the governor of Omusati Erginus Endjala said that the women should contact their respective Constituency Development Committee (CDC) in their constituency as far as unemployment is concerned which will be channelled to the Regional Development Co-ordination Committee (RDCC).

“In every constituency we have what we call what we call CDCs. Issues of unemployment raised by them are then channelled to the RDCC which is where all the projects initiated are then prioritised,” Endjala said.

“The advice I can give them is that if they have any business in mind which they want to conduct they can go their centre and get assistance,” Endjala said.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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