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By: Justicia Shipena 

While the Namibian government is still to locate two Namibian nationals in Ukraine, Wilka Ngalandji entered Poland with only her passport and the clothes on her body. 

This comes as tensions between Ukraine and Russia have spiked, with Russian launching an invasion in the European country with more than 2 000 civilians and soldiers killed in the attacks. 

Ngalandji lost all her belongings in the mist to get to safety. 

“While I was at the exit point at the border, they called me into a room, so I put my bags somewhere. I couldn’t go back and pick up my bags. I just found myself on the other side in Poland,” she told The Villager. 

She added that she inquired about how she could get her luggage back, but they told her she was unable to. 

“They cannot give me bags because I’m already in another country. I made calls, and until now, I just managed to come into Poland with whatever I was wearing,” she explains. 

“I don’t have a suitcase. I lost my pc, and basically, I lost everything. I just came with a passport, and that’s it.”

However, Ngalandji said she does not regret leaving the stuff behind. 

“Because if I can recall what happened in Kyiv, it is way better to lose my belongings than to lose my life,” Ngalandji said. 


Awaiting to return to Namibia, Ngalandji said she feels good to get back. 

“I feel a lot safer than when I was in Ukraine. I feel happy. I have this good feeling that everyone else would have felt when they get out of danger,” she expressed. 

She further added she is relieved to have made it. 

“When I’m watching the news and looking at how the places I know and used to visit get destroyed, it is hurtful and traumatising.” 

A few months away from graduating, Ngalandji wishes that the attacks in Ukraine will be over soon. 

“We are happy, and we are praying for Ukraine for things to go back to normality. We hope we will also continue with education as some of us were in the last year, and we just had a few months left to graduate. We pray opportunities for us to get our degrees,” she emphasises. 


According to her, the experience of how she reached the Ukrainian-Polish border was traumatic. 

“This is trauma that will be difficult to overcome. It wasn’t easy to reach the Ukrainian-Poland border because cars were not allowed to reach the borders. So they drop you off halfway.” 

Hence, Ngalandji said this depends on the driver as some would drop one off 60km or 30km away from the border. 

“I was left with 45 km to walk to the border. I was with two other Namibians. We got dropped off, and we walked the 45km to the border,” she said. 

She further added that she was put in a tight spot at the border as they were first only allowing Ukrainian people to pass through before any other nationalities. 

“I remember it was around 2 am, and we reached the border at around 10 am. We were so tired, had no rest, and just wanted to reach the borders.”

She expressed that many people made their way to the border via foot. 

“Everyone was walking. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black or Asian. Everyone walked because there were no other means to reach the border,” she said. 

Waiting for three hours to make it through, Ngalandji said she and the other two Namibians almost gave up. 

“Later on, we told each other that we made it to the borders so we could do this.”

After waiting for three hours, a new arrangement was put in place, and the officials at the border started letting all women go through. 

“The nationalities did not matter. Women and men were a lot, and it was taking long. Some people came as a family, and they had to separate because of this,” she adds.

Upon this, Ngalandji and the other girl she was with had to leave another behind due to gender separation. 

“We left the boy behind, and we managed to exit Ukraine. However, the boy was there for two days, and he could not even make it out in two days.” 

When she reached the exit point at the border, she was told to wait. 

“This was to check our passport and confirm details with our embassy.” 

15 days for students to exit Poland 

According to Ngalandji, the government indicated that after 15 days, those who would not have made it will not be catered for.

“They said we have 15 days to leave Poland. This means the government will only pay for meals and accommodation within the 15 days of being in Poland,” she said. 

She added that should one not exit the country within those days; they would be on their own. 

“They are expecting everyone to leave in 15 days. After 15 days, you will be out of their assistance.”

She told The Villager that the Namibian government has also offered to pay for a one-way flight ticket to Namibia. 

“This is not by force because some people are not willing to go home and are willing to go other countries in search of opportunities,” she said.

The International Relations ministry also said that the Namibian embassies in Austria, Germany, and Russia facilitate the students’ accommodation, meals, and flight tickets. 

It had also said that Namibian nationals have started departing for Namibia in groups, depending on the availability of flights. 

Thus far, 25 have arrived in Namibia this week, of which 23 arrived today at the Hosea Kutako International airport. 

“The government will bear all costs related to accommodation, PCR tests, flight tickets, and were necessary, personal necessities,” said international relations officer Penda Naanda. 

The ministry had confirmed that 89 Namibian nationals were in Ukraine and that 80 were safe. 

“Seven are still in Ukraine, while the whereabouts of two are unknown.”

Naanda said upon arrival, the Namibian nationals will be taken to Windhoek and will be provided with psycho-social support upon request.











Justicia Shipena

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