Today when we drove from work, we gave someone a lift. The route we took passed by Twaloloka, the location that was recently destroyed by fire in Walvis Bay ( read it here) and many Namibians from different regions donated a lot of items to try and get the residents of this township to restore their lives and build anew. The last I saw was a beautiful picture of tents lined up where the families are temporally moved to while the government is sorting out land where they will be located.
Today as we drove by, I asked my fiancé to drive a bit slow so I can observe. Life is continuing in the new settlement. There was a boy and his younger sibling taking off fish that was hung on a line to dry. This is common way to preserve fish if you do not have a fridge. Unfortunately all the donations catered for many things but not capital items. There was also fresh sand surrounding the tents which is a sign that some of them were working on making their tents firm to survive the wave of east winds. There was even a tent where there was a taxi parked next to it. This brings hope that despite all the hardships, people were able to bounce back and start making the most out of life.
After some time, I then told my fiancé I’ve had enough time to observe and he could drive. He only took me there on the promise that I would not take a photo, to which I agreed. As we drove away, I realized the Red cross sign on one of the tent and the next and then the next. Only then I realized that the tents are either military tents ( green marked with big numbers) or white with Red crosses. It thus sank in for me that this is just a humanitarian crisis. There is nothing different between the living conditions of these people and those of displaced men and women in east and north Africa where civil war is still happening in some countries.
Only yesterday we all stood in solidarity and togetherness with them but now we are all gone. They are left to embrace life inside the tents. Although not directly comparable, it reminded me of weddings in our communities ( in particular in Oshiwambo speaking people). How the whole family will pull together to make sure that the event is success. The donations will pour in in forms of money, food, cattle, cars to ensure that the event happens and that all guests are catered for. This often puts pressure on the couple getting married to match the efforts being put in by the family, which at times leaves many broke and indebted.
Just as the world went silent on Twaloloka and the residents had to embrace life by themselves, so you will be left to ponder and make the best of your financial decisions. Whether it was a wedding or any other financial decision, you will need to bear the financial consequences of your decision and re-build that which you have destroyed. For many, they go in debt and clearing this can cost them peace and other unintended consequences.
In conclusion, when everyone else is gone and the lights goes off in your room, you will only have each other or yourself. Think before you act and avoid impulsive decisions.
Love~ Dhalondoka Panduleni