Jika Joe: It’s tough in the tents

2013-04-12 00:00

ALMOST a week after homes in Jika Joe were destroyed by fire, residents are having a difficult time trying to piece together their lives again.

Malawian Dick Kameza, who told The Witness last week that he had lost everything in the fire, said living in a tent was hard.

When it rained, water came through the fabric and it become very cold at night, Kameza said yesterday.

“It’s very tough living here,” he said while he and his neighbours huddled around a fire.

The recent rains have left parts of the tent village muddy and the residents still look out on a mound of garbage amid the stink of sewage.

But assistance has come from several quarters, including the Community Chest, the Mama Ntombi Community Project and Gift of the Givers.

This week, with the help of the uMgungudlovu FET College and Pastor Chris Parasuraman, 300 beds and mattresses were donated to residents affected by the fire.

Sandra Pillay, the project manager and fundraiser for Mama Ntombi, is worried that many children left homeless by the fire are not in school.

“They lost all their uniforms and clothes. The clothes they’re wearing now have been donated,” she told The Witness at the informal settlement yesterday afternoon.

She is also worried about the infants living in the leaking tents.

Yesterday Pillay delivered nappies and toilet paper to Xolisile Ndlovu, who lives in a tent with her seven-month-old son, Sibusiso.

Said Ndlovu: “It’s cold. My child has developed a cold. They told us we’d be here for only three weeks while our homes were being fixed.

“Gift of the Givers have given us some food, and before, we were being given something to eat by the Red Cross.”

Pillay appealed to Pietermaritzburg residents to donate whatever they could to Jika Joe.

“If they need us to collect, we will do that,” she said.

Attempts to get hold of Manilal Inderjit, the chairperson for community services for Msunduzi Municipality were unsuccessful.

Pillay can be contacted at 074 120 0337.

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