Family squating in their own yard

2016-05-31 06:00
Magdalene Leepi is pleading with anyone that can help her build a house. She says life is unbearable in her one-room Wendy house that leaks. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Magdalene Leepi is pleading with anyone that can help her build a house. She says life is unbearable in her one-room Wendy house that leaks. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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“I miss taking a bath and being in the kitchen making nice food for my family. Now I have to sit in bed all day and that frustrates me a lot.”

These are the words of Magdalene Leepi (53) from Retreat.

Now in a wheelchair, Magdalene says it is difficult for her to do the things that she wants to do. And staying in a one-room Wendy house, that she has to share with three family members, makes life just unbearable.

Over the years she has taken many hard knocks in life. They couldn’t afford rent and their landlord at the time allowed them to stay for free for over a year. However, they were eventually told they had to move out.

Trying to make ends meet with little means, they got a Wendy house which they erected on her serviced plot in Retreat.

“We don’t have running water, a toilet or electricity. Things are very difficult.”

A plea for helpMagdalene’s niece, Nashilene, can’t even go look for work because she has to help her aunt who can’t do anything for herself at the moment. They are now calling on anyone who can help them.

“This is such a difficult time for us. We have to survive on donations. We even have to ask for water from other people. We have been getting water at the community hall, but we can’t get access now that we are struggling. We are relying on people that just bring us a bottle [of water] now and again. I can’t even talk about how we go to the toilet. We have to relieve ourselves in a bucket, then dig a hole, dump it and cover it up again. We have disinfectants that we spray to keep the flies away. This is our life. It’s not easy,” she says.

“We have been knocking on several doors for help, but all have been shut right in front of our eyes. All we want is for someone out there to hear our cry. All we want is a decent house. We have suffered enough. It’s the little things that we miss, like taking a bath, cooking and just sleeping properly. We can’t do it here. The place is too small.”

Winter worriesMagdalene is worried this winter will be a nightmare living in their Wendy house.

“The roof has holes. When it rains, everything gets soaked. We can’t even sleep. We leave the dry spot for the child and we have to sit up the whole night. I’m so worried that we will get sick. We have the plot and a plan for the house, but because no one is working we can’t afford building ourselves a house.”

Nashilene says they take each day as it comes.

“At times we go without food or water. We have no other option or else we would have ended up in the streets. This is not easy for us but we haven’t lost hope that there are people out there who will help us and take us out of this misery.”

Monica Petersen, chairperson of the Lakeview Neighbourhood Watch, says they are trying to help. “We have organised for people to help them with water. The main issue is for them to get a house. We are calling on anyone who can help with a bag of cement or some bricks or any building material to come forward so that we can help them. Their situation is not good. Please just let us know – we will organise to come and collect.”

V Anyone willing to come to the rescue of this family can call Petersen on 079 636 6542.

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