Trials and tribulations of the residents of Welwitschia Old Age Home

Eileen van der Schyff

Residents of the Welwitschia Old Age Home in Swakopmund, managed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, are fed up with living in unhygienic living conditions brought on by the failure of the maintenance of the sewage system on the premises.

Ruptured potable water pipes, both the main line and supply lines to the living units as well as frequently blocked sewer lines is an everyday occurrence at this old age home.
Sewage water pushing up at units creates unhygienic conditions, is an eyesore for residents and visitors alike and the stench can become unbearable.
Sewage pushes up through drains, toilets and showers. It flooded parts of the units before, and residents lives in constant fear it can occur at any moment.
Every time a toilet is flushed, a sink or shower is used, a messy cocktail is created of grey water, sewer water and chemicals. With the sewer system not functioning correctly, it overflows on the premises instead of entering the main sewer lines to the municipality’s waste water plant. Lower lying areas of the premises receive the worst part of this problem.
Pleas of help to solve the problem have been falling on deaf ears. Simultaneously, contractors have their hands full with pumping out sewage at different locations in and around Swakopmund.
To make matters worse, several underground waterpipe leaks adds more water to the problem. There is one particular potable water pipe that ruptured so badly it overflows the already flooded sewer system.
“Where in the past, it was only needed to pump out the system once a week, it is now needed on a daily basis. The problem is no one attends to this”, one resident explained to the Namib Times.
Adding: “we don’t know who to turn to anymore. No one seems to care about this. We are crying out to be heard”, explained another resident.
Maintenance in general is also lacking. “We have to attend to the upkeeping of the garden ourselves. Our once beautiful gardens are slowly fading. The place is going backward. We can not keep up with everything on our own”, it was said.

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