When boreholes fail in the deep Kalahari Desert people living on resettlement farms face real survival issues. Historically resilient hunters and gathers, clustered on farmland that no longer supports ancient traditions, the San must rely on boreholes for survival. The DRFN is tasked with the responsibility to address water supply for survival.
When boreholes in Donkerbos recently failed the DRFN identified a remedy: move closer to water source seventeen kilometres away from their current homes. For urban dwellers with lots of mobility, a seventeen-kilometre move might be inconvenient. For San in Donkerbos, the move is monumental.
The San organize life in family clusters, tight knit and supportive. Each cluster represents a well organized social community. Throughout Donkerbos several boreholes provide water to these communities and the school. The failure of two boreholes forces highly impacted families to make the decision to move. As is it in communities throughout the world, these people have many concerns. Their well-established family homes will be divided, daily access to their children attending the Donkerbos school will be impossible, and the social network with greater community will be difficult to maintain.
Moving to the new borehole means clearing the desert land and dismantling, moving, and rebuilding their homes. It means a long day of walking to reach their children’s school and weathering the isolation of living in a location that is unfamiliar to the outside world.
After months of complicated evaluations and crisis management, Belinda Thanises, organized a successful planning meeting. Without access to texting and telephone communications her first attempt to prepare the residents for the meeting, she spent twelve hours stuck in the sand and unable to announce the meeting. The following week she was able to reach Donkerbos and prepare the people for the meeting to discuss a plan for assisting in the move.
Returning yesterday, March 13, the meeting was held under the community tree. The San were well prepared and Belinda’s agenda lead to a successful plan. In two weeks the DRFN will provide transportation back and forth, assisting in the relocation to the new site.