Pensioner sells used bricks for grandchildren’s livelihood

By: Paulus Shiku

SWAKOPMUND: A Swakopmund pensioner is determined to make a living for himself and his grandchildren by collecting and selling discarded bricks.

The 77-year-old man is raising his three grandchildren – two boys and a girl – left in his care by his sons and daughters, with the money he makes from selling used bricks at N.dollars 1 each.

Speaking to Nampa at the dumpsite near the DRC informal settlement on Wednesday, Jeremia Amadhila, accompanied by his 13-year-old grandson Saltiel Amenya, said he uses the money from selling bricks to supplement his monthly government pension grant to buy school uniforms and food for his grandchildren.

Amenya, who works with his grandfather, never attended formal education. He was raised at the Okafituenya village in Angola, and his uncle brought him to Swakopmund earlier this year for schooling.

“I am still searching for a school where he can be admitted. I am sure very soon he will be attending classes. I do not want to be blamed by Government for not taking good care of these children,” said Amadhila.

Amenya, who cannot read or even write his name, says he is eager to start school and learn English and Afrikaans.

“He is a fast learner. I am sure it will not take him long to catch up. The other two who I stay with are now in Grade One and Three, respectively. They can read and speak proper English,” he said proudly.

Fortunately, the grandchildren are at primary school, so Amadhila does not have to pay school fees because primary education is now free in the country.

Amenya and his grandfather collect interlock bricks as well as normal bricks used to construct buildings.

“I am making a reasonable profit of N.dollars 2 000 a month. If it is less, it is N.dollars 1 000. I have regular clients who have my (mobile phone) number, and call me when they need bricks – one customer just left now with a truck full of bricks,” he enthused.

This senior citizen refuses to stay home like other pensioners, saying he is still active and able to work for himself, buy food and pay for electricity for his house.

He thus encouraged other elders who cannot sustain themselves financially to find ways to make money, instead of sitting at home, waiting for their children to support them.

Amadhila also advised young people that there are lots of opportunities to make money, so those who do not have formal jobs must go out there and find work.

“If you do not have a job and/or cannot find a better one, go out there and collect scrap metals, bricks and other useful materials for building and recycling to resell. It is better than staying without money,” he said.

He noted that political leaders always advise people to create employment for themselves, and that is what he is doing.

“Tate Sam Nujoma (Founding President) always tells us to do little things to make profit and feed ourselves. I am old, but I will continue working until my body cannot do it anymore,” added a spirited Amadhila.

His neighbour, Margaret Kambalala, does a similar job of reselling used bricks.

This mother of two little girls is unemployed.

“My boyfriend and I do not work, so I come here to find and sell bricks so that we can support our children.

It is hard to get a job in this country if you are not educated and well-connected – people first give jobs to their families and friends,” lamented Kambalala, who was accompanied by her two children at the dumpsite.

While there, this Nampa reporter witnessed several other Swakopmund residents coming to collect used bricks for resale.