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Sunday 22 July 2018
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Eumbo Lange – just like your normal house

Although not quite by choice, living in a shanty towns is not a matter of comfort, but home is home regardless of the situation. Those who live in it can only dream for better housing and should an opportunity present itself, at the mere snap of a finger, they will take it with both hands.
When the sun sets, especially in the informal settlements of the city, darkness signals the end of movement and doing any outside chores. Windhoek’s shanty towns have come to be known as the Silver Town, which stretches along the northern side of the winding Monte Christo Road.
From a point of observation, not only is the safety of these structures questionable but temperatures can become very low in the cold nights of winter and high on any sunny day. When the winds howl, it is almost a headache as home owners wonder if their makeshift shelters will stand the test of the wind.
While the standards of living in these settlements are a concern in itself, the luxury of having a decent housing structure can become an expensive privilege. A major challenge for Namibia remain the limited provisions of affordable housing facing Namibia’s low-income community and as such, it is nothing strange.
Subsequently, houses made out of zinc sheets are all people can afford. This is in addition to the every day to day challenges to make ends meet.
For Milka Tjipundi, her days and struggles in her ghetto came to an end three months ago. The days of collecting firewood at the stroke of sunset to prepare food for her family stopped when her boss, David Bishop bought her a well-equipped modified container home, from Eumbo Lange, a Namibian owned company.
One’s safety, warmth (especially in the cold) and comfort are just some priority boxes of concern to tick off when it comes to looking for a home. Eumbo Lange has surely come to meet the masses halfway.
The Patriot visited Tjipuka in her new home in the Havana Settlement. As the team drove through the dusty gravels of the busy Havana streets, thousands on foot find their way to their homes in a badly lit settlement. From a distance, one can see a glimmer of light, but only at the Tjipuka residence.
The team arrives just seconds after Tjipuka, a domestic worker has come from work. While she rests after the heavy day that was, the children are in the sitting room watching TV.
Next to her new home is the zinc makeshift where she used to live with her husband and children. Tjipuka tells us that she moved to Havana three years ago as after feeling the pinch of high rental fees in Ombili.
“Here it is way better. We do not pay rent as we have our own plot and our new home has made our lives easier,” she said.
“Around this time (19h00) when I get home, we would need to make fire outside to cook and eat. Now you can feel that it is cold outside and you can only imagine what it would take to be out in this weather. But that was our life before we got our new home,” she added.
The container conversion home is designed with all elements of a home in consideration. Tjipuka walked us through her home which consists of a lounge, a kitchen with a gas stove, a toilet and shower that has a geyser operating on solar energy.
The Tjipukas say life has changed for the better in their new home that allows them to have a comfort not many in the neighbourhood are able to.
“Life before was very difficult. We had to pay rent, water and electricity. We used to stay in a small room. My mom and her husband would be on the bed and the rest of us the children would sleep next to the bed,” narrated Biola, Tjipuka’s older daughter who is a pupil at Jan Mohr Secondary School.
As a student, it was even harder for her to juggle between doing house chores such as cooking outside and making time for her books by the candle in a room while the rest of the house wants to sleep.
“I simply could not study at night. At times you want to use a candle but you are afraid that you might leave it on and it could burn the shack. We could not watch TV because we did not have electricity. It was just hell.”
Today, as the only house in the surrounding with electricity, children from the neighbours flock to the Tjipukas to watch TV while others come by to charge their cellphones. Every compartment of the house is equipped with light and plugs that all operate on solar energy.
The rooms inside the house are divided with hard board while the container also comes with a ceiling to trap temperatures and avoid a noise when it rains. The temperatures that one would enjoy in a normal brick house are synonymous to that in the container house. The walls of the shipping house are made of steel that self regulates temperatures inside.
Dubbed as the perfect eco-friendly home, shipping containers meet the need of those who cannot afford the highly priced houses in Namibia. The house, which is not connected to the electricity grid is totally self-reliant and self-sufficient.
According to the 43 years old should she come of age and can no longer work, she will be moving her container to her retirement place as it is moveable. Other than for residential use, the shipping containers could be used as offices, residential units, shops, guest accommodation, source of income, school classrooms or other shelter needs.
For more information on container homes and prices, visit the Eumbo Lange Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as their website at www.eumbocontainers.com.




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