Oshakati - For seven-year-old Timo, the spot next to the skip bin between Game and Etango complex in Oshakati, where he uses boxes as blankets, is his “happy place”.
“I like it here. It is where I get rotten and unwanted food, unlike at home where I starve,” he explained.
The first attempt to speak to Timo, who refused to provide his surname, did not go well.
“Go away! what do you want? I am not going back home, I am fine here,” he shouted when he saw this reporter approaching him.
Timo calmed down a little later, after which he told New Era that he sometimes stays with his father at Oshoopala location (also formally known as Ankambya) in Oshakati. His mother is in Oshikango.
“Nobody chased me out of the house; hunger chased me out of the house. At least here I get something to eat. I don’t mind the weather, what matters is peace and food,” he said.
Timo told this publication that he only sees his father sometimes, adding that there is no use staying at home alone and hungry.
“The situation at home is worse; no one wants to live like that. If I take you there, you would come and join me here,” he added.
The boy left school last year and does not want to go back. He did not provide reasons for his decision to quit school.
For now, he only wants blankets and clothes.
“I am request good Samaritans to assist me with old blankets or clothes,” he pleaded, while showing his old sandals.
Chief superintendent at the child welfare ministry, Maggy Katimba said she is not aware of Timo’s situation.
She said it is always best to call her office whenever someone comes across such children, especially those under age, so they run and assist them.
“We are ready to as assist anytime. We have an orphanage house for them, and we can always enrol them in school,” explained Katimba.
Child welfare ministry spokesperson Lukas Haufiku said they have noted that most street kids do not like shelters.
“Most of them have places to stay but they run away from their homes,” he said.
Although street kids are a rare sight in northern Namibia, with the recent cold weather experienced countrywide, it’s not hard to imagine what the less-fortunate without proper shelter, warm clothes and blankets go through.
A case in point is the recent death of a homeless man in central Windhoek. Although the cause of death is yet to be established, many speculate that he froze to death.