Wilderness Safaris and Wilderness Air jointly donated toiletry and sanitary materials to COVID-19 village response team in Seronga on Wednesday morning.
The P40 000.00 worth of goods were handed over to the team at the village’s airstrip by Wilderness safaris Field operations manager, Johan Von Backstrom and Wilderness Air’s acting manager, Kago Paul.
“To our friends in Gudikwa, Seronga, Beetsha, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, we hope this small donation will make a difference in the difficult times that lay ahead. As a company, Wilderness Safaris and Wilderness Air we’d like to commit that if there is any other need that may arise in the community please feel free to either contact us or Okavango Community Trust (OCT) and they can liase with us and if it is within our power we will gladly assist,” Backstrom stated.
Wilderness Safaris and Wilderness Air operate under Vumbura concession within NG 22, which is under the management of Okavango Community Trust. The five villages alluded to earlier by Backstrom form OCT. Another concession run by the same Trust is NG23, which has been leased by another major tourism company in the country, the Great Plains conservation.
The donations, CT general manager, Botshelo Sesinyi said will benefit individual households in dire need.
According Sesinyi, the donations were requested from the Wilderness team following a needs analysis by social workers in the five villages.
In the analysis, Sesinyi revealed, the village social workers discovered that many disadvantaged families would need toiletry or sanitary related materials at household level, during the current state of emergency and movement lockdown.
The 28 -day movement restriction was declared on April 2nd, 2020 and has since been extended by an extra week. For many people in these communities whose livelihoods involve working in local lodges, trading in goods and fishery, life has come to a standstill.
“Since they will be unable to fend for themselves, considering that their breadwinners have either lost their jobs or have had their salary cut, they are facing a serious threat of hunger,” explained Sesinyi.
The donations included toilet paper, tissues, hand sanitisers, gloves, dish and hand washing liquid soaps among others.
As regards to food supplements, Sesinyi maintained that the government has committed to supply the families, “Also considering that during this time most of our people would have farm harvest which they now don’t have.”
Generally OCT villagers are hustlers and lead a comfortable though not luxurious kind of life, according to the village chief, kgosi Maeze Bayei Maeze.
“We struggle like any other village, but our big challenge is that we have no proper roads. People have to travel across the river and into a long stretch of bad road to Maun to get resources. There are no proper shops in our villages besides tuck-shops. But now the tuck-shops are empty because of restricted movement,” said the chief.