Blind Thokile now pleads for potable water

Thokile in his Mokhukhu
Thokile in his Mokhukhu

MOKUBILO: After a miserable 13 years living in an incomplete structure he called home, the childless widower Barebotse Thokile 62, who is blind, now owns a modern house.

Thanks to Debswana Mining Company, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) in partnership with Boteti Sub District Council, Thokile now occupies a bachelor pad with a bedroom, sitting room, kitchen and an en suite bathroom and toilet.

For years Thokile inhabited a rickety mud hut with all signs of neglect and poverty. The hovel had no potable water and no toilet for a person of his condition.

Living in such a derelict structure made up of dilapidated grey mud walls with the thatched roof half gone, without a door, in a yard without gate, he was certainly susceptible to all weather conditions.

The only solace that he had was the tent donated by the council, which acted as a shield during the rainy seasons.

The tent was his last and only hope for better accommodation, a far cry from the modern and spacious brick house that he now proudly calls home.  Mmegi visited Thokile on Christmas Day last year and unlike other people who spent the day preparing all kinds of dishes and enjoying with their family and loved ones, Thokile cut a lonely abject figure in front of his modern house. The only thing that kept him closer to events of that day was an Omega radio besides him.

Thokile was overwhelmed that Mmegi reporters had visited him for the second time after the first interview with him back in 2012.

He praised Mmegi’s article for exposing his plight as a needy person saying it has opened opportunities for him, which came in the form of the resplendent house.

The blind man could not hide his excitement as we exchanged greetings and introductions.  “Ke itumetse tota ngwanaka ke agetswe ntlo o sena go kwala ka nna ka 2012 (I am very grateful my child because I was built this house after you had written about my plight).

“This is my new home now, “ he said pointing to his new house with a smile as I introduced myself to him.

Thokile narrated that his life has changed as he now has a house but was worried that there were still struggles in his life.

“This house has a flash toilet inside, but I do not have water in my yard. I still visit the nearby bush to help myself whilst I have a modern toilet in my house, “ he said.

He said that he still struggles and pays people to fetch water and firewood for him.

His struggle is evident because even after a year the blind man still sleeps on the floor in an empty house without curtains.

Thokile said that life could be better if the donors had connected water to him, but now the modern toilet is not benefiting him because he will never afford to connect water by himself. “There is nothing I can do, I rely on government for almost everything and because of my condition, unlike other people I cannot work in Ipelegeng.

“I am just hoping for a Good Samaritan to help me with connection of water, “ he pleaded. He said that even though he is blind if the house was electrified it would be better than staying in the dark.

Asked about Thokile’s current situation the newly elected village councillor Phankge Resetse promised to follow the matter with council to establish what could have delayed water connection to Thokile’s yard.

“They have constructed him a modern toilet requiring potable water and expectations are that the house should benefit him.

“I will follow them at council and establish what could be delaying the process of water connection, “said Resetse.

The councillor applauded Debswana and Boteti Sub-District council for having built Thokile a house even though there are still limitations. He acknowledged that poverty is high in his area.

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