Soup kitchen nourishes destitute kids

Khorixas-Every Wednesday about 180 residents line up to get free food from Ada Khoebagu soup kitchen, situated in Donkerhoek informational settlement in Khorixas. For some the soup is their only source of food due to the severe poverty in the area.

Ada Khoebagu soup kitchen is the brainchild of former councillor Angelika Sabata, who enthused she took over the soup kitchen last year after the one operated by the Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) closed its doors in 2015. The pots belonging to the NRCS were donated to Ada Khoebagu soup kitchen.

Sabata said that when she started as a home-based care volunteer for the NRCS many people had refused to take their medication because they were simply too hungry.

''When the Red Cross soup kitchen closed I took over so that people can eat something before drinking their pills. The soup kitchen used to serve food three times a week when it was assisted by the Kunene Regional Council but after withdrawal of the sponsor the kitchen serves the one hot meal on Wednesdays.

Our major donors withdrew, thus we only serve the beneficiaries once a week. In future if we get more assistance we can serve the beneficiaries two or three times, Sabata said. Currently the Dutch Reformed Church at the north-western town assists the soup kitchen with N$2,000 monthly.

Emmie Bedeker of the Dutch Reformed Church has called upon residents to give a small amount every month so that others can be fed at the soup kitchen.

Bedeker told New Era that the church has been assisting the soup kitchen since the beginning of this year.

If everyone givesa small amount each month we can help out a few more people.

The church also donated material for building a shade.

Bedeker said that through people helping the soup kitchen those who benefit from the weekly hot meal can know that there are people out there who care about them.

Some people have lost hope in life so by giving something (donating) to the soup kitchen you will give them hope, Bedeker says.

Katiti Musaso, a thirteen-year-old Grade 6 pupil at Eddie Bowe Primary School who lines up weekly to get a hot meal, says: I have eaten here since the beginning of the academic year. I hope we will get food everyday from this soup kitchen.

Musaso hails from Opuwo and resides at the informal settlement with her unemployed uncle and seven other relatives of whom many are at school too.

The blind Sebulon Tjambandja, a 69-year-old father of seven children of whom four are at school, said: We survive only from the government grant which I get and this soup kitchen is a great help for us. I pray that one day it will get donors so that we can at least get a full daily meal besides the soup.

Some of Tjambandja's children reside with their sister in the location.

This is a good initiative. We eat from it (soup kitchen) as my grant does not last the whole month. We also get clothes from it and sometimes blankets, Tjambandja says.

Anna Jaunda said: There is no porridge at my house for the whole month. We are struggling and at least weekly we get a meal to eat here.

Jaunda said she went to take a 2kg bag of maize meal on credit at a local shop. Jaunda has worked as a security guard for the past fifteen years before she got sick.

As you can see I am very sick and cannot work anymore my dear. Even now my children are going to school this month without washing with soap. There is not even soap at my house, said the soft-spoken Jaunda, who was joined by her 14-year-old daughter Ester who is a Grade 6 pupil at Eddie Bowe and also goes to the soup kitchen every Wednesday.

Ada Khoebagu means Let's be there for each other as humans in the Khoe-khoegowab language. Sabata says people must care for their relatives while they are still alive.

Let's start caring for our loved ones while they are breathing. Some people come from well-off families but the way they live is shameful, she says.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia