TB-Stricken, Jobless, Down-and-Out

For the past two years, Cristofine Garoes, 42, a resident of Okahandja Park has been suffering from TB of the bones medically referred to as ‘Tuberculosis Spondylitis’.

New Era spoke to the ailing dejected mother of five over the weekend who shared that because of her situation she is unable to work in order to provide food for herself and her children.

Lying on a rather unhygienic mattress covered with dirty blankets pain and hopelessness is written all over Garoes’ face. “I don’t have food, toiletries and the water card that I have does not have any units in it for me to fetch water,” she says lying on her mattress in the rather small and rusty shack situated in Okahandja Park informal settlement.

She says she does not have anybody to support her now that she is unable to walk long distances or work to put bread on the table for her family.

“I rely in my 17-year-old daughter who is now in Grade 10 at Gobabis under government support. Right now as I am speaking I don’t know where my family is. One of my brothers, who use to stay at the farm, passed away and he is the one who used to assist us. Now I get the little support from my son and neighbours. The pain is getting worse every day because the medication I got last year from the hospital is finished and I don’t have money to go back to the hospital,” Garoes, who has been living at Okahandja Park for the past six years shares.

Garoes said she started experiencing excruciating pains, and itching in both her ankles and thought it was just a slight pain. After two weeks, the ankles started to swell and sores starting appearing on the ankles.

“I then decided to go to the hospital last year October but I didn’t get the treatment I wanted. The doctor just told me to go back but I never went back because I don’t have money,” she narrated.

She cannot walk long distances anymore because she now experiences the pain in both legs.

“What I do now is to walk slowly to my neighbours and ask for money so I can be able to buy something to eat, water to drink and struggle for food. I am getting thinner and thinner every day of my life because I don’t eat healthy food and the doctor said the pain will get worse because of lack of a balanced diet,” she related.

Furthermore, Garoes who cuts a pitiful figure says, “I have a nine-year-old son but he doesn’t go to school. There is no one to help me for him to go back to school because I am suffering with this disease. He desperately wants to go to school,” said Garoes.

She appealed to government to visit her and assess her situation in order to assist her.

“I cannot even go out and look for a job anymore because I am in pain and I cannot stand for a long period. All I do is to stay in my empty house and sleep from morning to evening and the pain is worse everyday. I am afraid of dying because I don’t eat healthy food and my pills are also finished now to lessen the pain.”

Seated not so far from her is a regular visitor and friend, Eveline Kooitjie, who sympathises with Garoes’ condition.

“I feel my friend’s pain,” concurs Kooitjie, who also stated, “It’s as if I feel the same pain. I check her up everyday to see if she is fine and I sometimes sleep over to give her water. I sacrifice to provide her with the little I have but I don’t have a job and it’s always hard for me to provide her with healthy meals.”

Source : New Era