Why I dumped my baby in a pit
A woman in Ohangwena broke down as she remembered the night the threw her nine-month-old baby in a pit latrine, supposedly as part of a grand plan to escape life’s difficulties.
09 October 2020 | Crime
For eight hours, Hilja Haikondo tried to get some sleep while her nine-month-old baby was crying in a pit latrine at her family home at Omauni, approximately 70km from Okongo in the Ohangwena Region.
In an exclusive interview with Namibian Sun, the 22-year-old haltingly narrated how she threw her baby into the latrine on the evening of 28 September in a fit of rage.
That evening, she returned home from the cuca shops just before 22h00 to a locked home, she said.
Her mother had gone out with the keys, and this meant her and the baby would have to sleep outside.
It takes a village
The next morning, a community member walked past Haikondo’s home and spotted her sleeping outside at the door step.
The woman asked Haikondo where her child was, to which she replied that her mother had taken the baby.
Having been at the cuca shop herself the previous evening, the woman realised something was amiss, as she remembered seeing Haikondo with the baby.
Walking over the pit latrine, she heard a baby crying. She alerted the police, who managed to rescue the baby girl. She was taken to hospital for medical treatment and has been placed in the care of a social worker.
Released on a warning
Detective Israel Hangula of the Omauni border control unit said Haikondo, who has been charged with attempted murder, was released on a warning because the Okongo police cells are “too full” to accommodate her.
With her next court appearance months away on 18 January 2021, she is set to be re-arrested once space opens up.
‘Did you want to kill her?’
Asked why she dumped her baby into the latrine and whether she planned to kill her, Haikondo went quiet for a long time.
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I think I was consumed by anger,” she said.
“I didn’t know what I was doing that day; I lost my mind at that period. I was stressed because I had just gotten off the call with her father threatening to kill me, cut off my head and return to Angola.
“I was remorseful later in the night when she started crying but there was so little I could do. I stood up at least two times and went over and I could hear she was still alive,” the mother said.
Dropped out of school
Born at Onane, a village in the Okongo constituency of the Ohangwena Region, Haikondo said her mother handed her over to a family member when she was just two years old.
When she was in grade 10 in 2014, she fell pregnant, and had to drop out of school.
The young mother said the father of her second child lives in Okahandja and left the village when she was pregnant. She has not seen him since.
Her first born, now aged five, lives with a family member.
Hardship and poverty
Adjusting her mask, she narrated how she has no means to take care of her baby.
Haikondo said the past year and a half have been characterised not only by hardship, but by poverty.
As both her and her mother are unemployed, they depend on handouts and government drought relief food to get by, she said.
While her daughter has been assisted by a woman she only identified as Nakale who works at the police station, on some days, Haikondo washes clothes to make money.
According to Hangula, most young people in the area do not go to school, and those who do mostly drop out to hang out at the cuca shops.
‘Please help me’
“Please help me,” Haikondo begged, clasping her hands together as she began to cry.
“If I get a job, I think I can get my baby back and take care of her.
“Right now, I just need counseling because I honestly don’t understand and I can’t explain why I did what I did,” she said.
– [email protected]