Homeless Bear Brunt of Winter

With the arrival of winter, the poor and the homeless continue to feel the pinch the most, as most of them have to find ways to keep warm with little or no blankets.

New Era yesterday spoke to the homeless as well as those living in shacks to find out how they will survive through this winter.

“Last (Monday) night was very cold,” reminisced Magreth Morkel, who squats under Wernhil bridge in downtown Windhoek.

Morkel, whose blankets were stolen on Monday, said she stayed up all night at the police station in town because she did not have blankets to cover herself.

“Last night was cold and my blankets were stolen. I did not want to feel the cold so I stayed up at the police station where I listened to people’s complaints until the early hours of the morning,” she relived her ordeal when New Era interviewed her.

She said people living under the bridge do not really share blankets. “Everyone here fends for themselves,” Morkel said.

“My blankets were also stolen. The people who stole our blankets are homeless people based in other parts of the city,” said a young homeless man who was with Morkel.

“There are many homeless people in Windhoek, some are based at Aussplannplatz, the museum and other places and they are also in need of blankets,” commented Morkel.

A visit to Okahandja Park informal settlement also revealed that the poor are mostly affected by the cold, as they do not have much in terms of blankets to keep the cold away.

“It’s very tough but we will see how we will make it through the winter,” observed Lucia Swartbooi when she was asked if she is feeling the pinch of winter. The mother of three girls said she only has two blankets, which she will share with her daughters.

“Last year we made fire and put the coals inside our shack to make it warm,” said Swartbooi, who explained how she and her family managed to keep the cold at bay. Swartbooi does not have a job and she is unable to work because of a mental health condition, she told New Era.

“We are feeling cold,” complained 38-year-old Eveline Kooitjie, who also lives in Okahandja Park.

She too added that she does not have enough blankets.

“I am unable to work because of ill health but I believe that God will touch someone’s heart to give me blankets and clothes for winter,” Kooitjie remarked.

Source : New Era