Remember Me: Ndjinaa

On the 10th September was another small ‘step’ for women but a huge leap for people living with dementia in Africa when Susanne Spittle from Berlin did a presentation on Dementia in Africa titled: “I lost my mind – am I a witch?’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ndjinaa in a hurry

In this way, Ndjinaa was remembered when delegates from all over the world gathered at the Global Conference of Human Rights and Dementia and watched Susanne’s presentation and photos of Ndjinaa in and out of chains in 2012.

Thank you Susanne! You kept your promise after our two weeks of research in the Zambezi and Kavango last year. You said you would tell the world – and you did! Thank you!

IMG-20150917-WA0002 (1)

ADN salutes you! May the Ndjinaa’s of Africa rejoice because the ‘night of darkness’ is starting to fade i the Rays of the rising sun of freedom.

 

Attempts at creating a National dementia strategy for Nigeria

Alzheimer’s Dementia Namibia wants to publish the below letter for a number of reasons.

No 1 – We need to get the message out there.

No 2 – The struggle is so similar that it hurts.

And that is enough reason for us to help Rosetti Care in Nigeria. Please take time to read the below and help us to help them spread the word.

Dementia Nigeria

Attempts at creating a National dementia strategy for Nigeria

The Problem

I posted the article below on Facebook to jolt Nigerians into waking up and joining the rest of the world in the fight against Dementia (most seem to think that it is a “white man’s” disease!) The stigma is so entrenched, only two Nigerians ”liked” the posting, and only one Nigerian made a comment!

Lunacy, Witchcraft, and other Myths – what defines dementia in Nigeria


People acting out of the ordinary must be mad, or possessed by evil spirits and are therefore witches.  Mad people and witches are non people; they are ‘less’ than human; they are faceless vermin to be easily discarded.  Methods of discarding non people, lesser humans, faceless vermin: Friends and family dump them far away from home, somewhere they cannot be recognised or traced back to their roots. Places where they are nameless, faceless vermin, where they are either struck by fast moving vehicles and left to die with people passing by and doing nothing to help them; or where they are stoned/burnt to death as witches especially for talking to themselves and to people nobody else can see; or for acting irrationally. It only takes one person to point them out as witches for a crowd to quickly gather… and then there is no way of stopping the ‘mob justice’
Affluent families tend to lock theirs away from the community to avoid stigma. They pretend and tell friends or enquirers that their afflicted relative has travelled abroad, “gone away”. You see, madness and witchcraft are said to run in the family. Nobody marries into a family thus tainted and afflicted.

The Dementia Activist

For over two years now, I have been working hard raising dementia awareness in Nigeria mainly in order to remove the stigma and help persons with dementia and their loved ones understand the situation in which they find themselves. It is not easy living with dementia in any country, but it definitely is frighteningly fatal in Nigeria.

I had asked Alzheimer’s Society to roll their Dementia Friends programme (which is a huge success in the UK) into Nigeria as part of that initiative. After all Dementia is a global issue. I explained to them that the programme will slot in nicely into my Dementia Awareness plans for Nigeria, and that their training resources will provide current and added support. Of course, Nigeria will need to translate most of the resources into Nigerian languages (there are over 250), and put a Nigerian “slant” on them. After over a year of failed attempts at convincing the Alzheimer’s Society to go global with their awareness resources, I gave up, only to learn a couple of months ago that Canada and the Netherlands are now running Dementia Friends programme!

Prior to finding that out,  I had approached the global Purple Angel for assistance. I like the fact that it was founded and run by PWDs with direct experience of Dementia, which means other PWDs will relate easily with them. I feel honoured that they appointed me as Head of Operations, as well as an Ambassador of Purple Angel in Nigeria. In turn, I have so far appointed 15 Ambassadors (5 of these are professors, 3 are doctors and one is in the Senate) with 22 more in the pipeline. There are 36 States in Nigeria plus the Federal Capital Territory. The aim is to have one Ambassador each for each state and the FCT. This will ensure that not only will dementia awareness be raised all across Nigeria, but PWDs and their loved ones will feel they have some sort of local support no matter how minimal at the beginning. There is a plan to further divide the entire country into 6 or 8 zones with each zone having a Co-ordinator whose role it will be to relay feedback and to cascade updated training to their respective zones.

The Diplomat

Everything takes time in Nigeria! People here have expressed surprise at how fast we are moving. There is also our politics with capital P and small p. Too many tribal and societal issues. I don’t want to be seen to be prejudiced or “tribalistic”. People in high places who want in don’t have the time to go on campaign, and others have time but not the required access. Some States are embracing awareness faster than others, and it will be those slow ones that will complain later that they are being hard-done-by.

At the rate we are going, we will have more than one Ambassador in some States. I am mindful of ruffling feathers in those cases. So I have to ensure the multiple Ambassadors can work together, not against one another, otherwise the name Purple Angel might be damaged in the power struggle that might ensue. This is one of the reasons why I am advocating dividing the country into 6 or 8 non-political zones with each zone having a zonal co-ordinator. The hope is that the Nigerian government will very soon notice our activities and will want to claim it as their initiative, especially when the rest of the world asks what Nigeria has been doing about Dementia.

The Communication

The Nigerian Purple Angel Ambassadors have been holding events at physical locations as well as online, where we try to raise awareness and enlighten participants. We now have 4 Facebook pages dedicated to enlightening Nigerians on dementia related issues. The FB pages are: Dementia Nigeria, Dementia Care Society of Nigeria DCSoN (closed group), Purple Angel Dementia Awareness Nigeria, and Purple Angel Ambassadors Nigeria (private group). It is heartening to see the traffic on these FB pages, and the fact that most of the postings are regularly shared. This means that those who are still reticent in contributing to the discussions (due to stigma) are nonetheless sharing the information with friends and families.

I have also woven the our activities around such global events like, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Alzheimer’s Month, Mental Health Awareness, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Children Day, etc. I host these events at my facility, as well as arrange for some marches through towns and villages. We take the opportunity to raise Dementia awareness at these events. We are gearing up for Nigeria to become a part of the Age Friendly Communities and Cities!

The Funding

I am rather proud that we have the interest that we have, bearing in mind that Nigerians are not normally known to be involved in projects that do not reward them financially. The Ambassadors know that this is purely voluntary with no wage attached, and yet they want in!

As I have demonstrated, it does not require millions of UK pounds, or unscrupulous individuals with begging bowls running to the rest of the world for handout to raise awareness in Nigeria. It just needs local people who are willing to spare some of their time and energy to keep the ball rolling. Although I must admit the fact that I have been funding all these activities out my own money.

The Nigerian Ambassadors we have at present have agreed on future plans to raise funds within Nigeria in order to better support PWDs and loved ones. The hope is that we can convince the Nigerian government to take on part of the funding sooner rather than later. For now, some Churches, Mosques, Schools and Colleges are allowing us free access to their facilities where we can have Memory Cafes. Some private hospitals have also given us the free use of their premises as well as their doctors and nurses for Memory Clinics. We are currently working on getting some of Nigeria’s billionaires to donate some residential facilities as well as outreach and support personnel for those who are destitute and who are trying to live with Dementia.

Not The End……..

Initiatives

IFA Member – International Longevity Centre Canada

 

The International Longevity Centre (ILC-Canada), situated in the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Sciences, is an independent think tank with a focus on proposing ideas and guiding policy to address population ageing based on international and domestic research and practice.

 

ILC-Canada is concerned with a range of issues; however has particular interest in the area of health and long-term care and pays close attention to groups at risk.

 

Learn more on the ILC-Canada Website.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Ibadan – June 15 2015

 

To commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness day on 15 June 2015, Rossetti Care in association with Dementia Care Society of Nigeria and Dementia Nigeria teamed up with a local primary school to demonstrate the importance of older adults in a way that was both educational and fun for all.

 

“Growing up in Nigeria in the 60s the idea of elder abuse was inconceivable.  But times change and in the hustle bustle of our fast developing nation some of the older adults are being left behind, neglected and ill-treated.  This is a 21st century reality that needs to be addressed in Nigeria and throughout the world.” – Dementia Nigeria

 

Read more about WEAAD, Ibadan 2015 here.

2014: The Year in Review (2)

2014: The Year in Review (2)

The visitors:

The Swedish film crew that I took to Epupa so that they could film and capture Ndjinaa’s life story. The same film crew who then incidentally disappeared with all the material and has never been heard from again. It was my first experience of the “world” seeing Africa as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Then there was Professor Reimer Grunemeyer and Doctor Michaela Fink from the University of Giessen whom I also took up to Epupa to spend some time at the dementia village. We (Koos and I), taught Prof Reimer how to drink whisky and he exchanged his old faithful cap for an Epupa Falls Lodge one to the surprise of his colleagues. (His old red cap now hangs in Koos’s office among dozens of others which he has been collecting as souvenirs.)

There was also the debate with three witch doctors from Angola that must have been quite an experience for the German sociologists present. Especially when I confronted the witch doctors and told them that they were mere conmen using the superstitions of Africans to collect goats, chickens etc. for their own profit. I still don’t understand why the professor was so upset?

And in between:

ADN started to communicate to different towns about becoming dementia friendly. At the end of the year I have visited Okahandja, Gobabis, Outjo, Henties Bay and finally also Maltehohe.

Henties Bay Spar Staff

And of course there was the usual fights that happens within and outside any organisation in the world.

To be continued…

Image

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Part 5)

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Zambezi Region, Namibia)

Written by Berrie Holtzhausen, 21st August 2014

I personally learned the following from our four days in the Zambezi Region:

  1. Dementia in Namibia (probably Africa) is caused mainly by HIV AIDS.
  2. The perception of the world that dementia is only found among the elderly, is proven wrong in Namibia.
  3. Everything in life, from draughts, the loss of cattle through wildlife and even the reason why some people succeed in life and others don’t, are blamed on bewitching.
  4. There are two kinds of witchdoctors. A) The traditional healer that heals through natural medicine. B) One that bewitches other people and controls the environment/nature.
  5. Witches are dangerous. Four witchdoctors are needed to confirm that someone is a witch.
  6. Every family has a witch(es) as all families have diseases, death and tragedies. And as you can only bewitch a family as a witch, you are a witch. This makes it possible to identify a witch in two ways: a) Someone in the family that has dementia or b) Someone in the family that is more successful than the rest.
  7. Almost everyone that we spoke to, belonged to some church or other but they all still believed in bewitching.
  8. The idea of bewitching inside and outside the church are basically the same, it is only the terminology that differs.
  9. My idea that ‘the success of bewitching lies in the brain of the one that believes in it’ is becoming truer to me.

I do hope to gather more information on all of the above in the Kavango Region as well, as in Namibia, the Kavango and Ovahimba Regions are considered the most powerful bewitching areas.

ADN

 

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Part 4)

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Zambezi Region, Namibia)

Written by Berrie Holtzhausen, 21st August 2014

Fortunately we did not leave the Zambezi Region without seeing the elderly. On the day we sat in on a court meeting, we learned from the InDuna, that the next day was pensioner’s day and that pensioners would come from all over to collect their monthly state pensions of N$600. At 8am the next morning, we were there, and from all over the elderly came walking, some from miles away, to come and collect their money. However, this didn’t work out as the money didn’t arrive and they had to return the next day. This made me extremely angry as this showed no respect for our elderly. What’s worse, most of these old people had to go back to their villages and hand over their money to their children. It isn’t lift that is unfair, it is people.

Even though the whole episode made me very angry, it did give us the opportunity to meet the elderly of the Zambezi Region. One of the first women we spoke to did not quite look sixty to me and when I started questioning us, she told us her mom was 97 and could not come herself. I questioned her about her mother but she was very shy and didn’t want to talk. I do have a feeling that this might be another Ndjinaa case, but time will teach us as I now know when and where to find the elderly.

A girl of about twelve arrived with her grandmother who told me that her grandmother talked incoherently, could not remember things and could not look after herself. The girl said her grandmother was bewitched. I spoke to another man, in his fifties, who sat next to his father. He confirmed that his father frustrated him as he spoke mostly nonsense and could not remember anything.

Unfortunately we did not have a lot of time as we had to return to Rundu, but the Ndjinaa ‘sticker’ served its purpose and I hope that our information will be discussed over many camp fires during the nights to come. We spoke to a lot of people who believed that the witchdoctors are there to make money from them. One even referred to the witchdoctors as conmen.

ADN

To be Continued…

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Part 3)

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Zambezi Region, Namibia)

Written by Berrie Holtzhausen, 21st August 2014

In the four days that we were there, we visited three villages, two churches, two schools and a traditional court where the InDuna listened to our story and our mission in the Zambezi Region. We spoke to about 150 people. The ‘sticker’ we have of photos of Ndjinaa was a huge help and both parents and children often gathered around my pick-up to talk to us and pepper us with questions. Most Caprivians (collective name of people living in the Zambezi Region) can speak English. With the help of the ‘sticker’ and applications on my phone, we could explain to them the effect of ‘bewitching’ on the human brain.

At one school we found 28 Grade 10 students preparing for their year-end examinations during the school holidays. This made it fairly easy for me to talk to them about Ndjinaa and dementia. They requested that I should come back the next day to show them the full slide show. Unfortunately they had no power in the classroom and I had to rely on my phone. However, Susanne was very happy, because this gave her the opportunity to hand out her question sheets that questioned the writer about his background, that of the family, the elderly in the family and about witchcraft. We distributed about 200 of these sheets and the info will be processed back in Germany.

At the one church that we visited, a woman asked for prayer. The next day we went to pick up Susanne’s question sheets from the pastor, we asked where the woman lived. He told us that her family reckons that she is either a witch or is bewitched. When we visited her in her little mud house, she told us that she was diagnosed with HIV AIDS, thus another HIV AIDS related dementia. She said her family isolated her because she was poor, but it was clear that it was because they thought she was bewitched. At the taxi rank another woman came to us. She too talked very incoherent and was seen as a witch by her family. After a while, she too told us, that she was HIV AIDS positive.

At the place where we stayed, we met an American who is busy with research on malaria in the area. He told us that the Zambezi Region has the highest HIV AIDS statistics in Namibia at 25%. All pregnant women get tested for it and about 38% of them test positive. In the time that we were in the region, we could not find someone with Dementia older than 55. Everyone was about 40 years old and had HIV AIDS.

During our evening discussions, I often told Susanne, that unlike in the rest of the world, in Africa, the number of dementia patients are far younger. They also don’t live with Alzheimer’s disease like 75% of the world’s dementia cases, but rather of HIV AIDS. I also have a suspicion that the double stigma of AIDS and bewitching are worsened by the rejection and isolation from the family. This makes ADN’s mission a bit more complicated and a huge challenge.

ADN

To be Continued…

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Part 2)

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Zambezi Region, Namibia)

Written by Berrie Holtzhausen, 21st August 2014

On our way to Love More’s village, he told us that his dad’s sister bewitched their family and in that way, acquired the whole village. According to him, his sister, Ofelia, is also mentally disturbed or bewitched. And so Love More and Ofelia were the first interviews we had in the Zambezi Region.

According to Love More this is the reason why he was attacked, so that he could not look after his family anymore. Ofelia has also worked at a supermarket in Katima Mulilo as a cashier until a few years ago. But she could not continue as she couldn’t count money anymore and made regular mistakes. This is one of the symptoms of dementia, but as Susanne pointed out, this is also signs of HIV. And as dementia is often caused by HIV AIDS, we tried to determine whether Ofelia has been tested for HIV but apparently, according to her and Love More, she tested negative. But she had two children from different fathers. When we enquired about them, we learned that the one was in Zambia and the other lived in a village close to the Bukolo filling station. Ofelia stated that he was also bewitched and Love More was very vague about this man’s whereabouts.

Obviously, we went to these villages next. Love More went with us, to help find the man. When we found him, he told us that he was three years old. He also continued to clap his hands like they would do to show respect to an elderly. We later found out, that years ago, he was diagnosed with HIV AIDS.

ADN

To be Continued…

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo

The InDuna & witchdoctors of Bukalo (Zambezi Region, Namibia)

Written by Berrie Holtzhausen, 21st August 2014

Friday afternoon, 15th August, we (Susanne and I) arrive in Katima Mulilo. On the banks of the Zambezi is a beautiful overnight stop that we choose to stay in. Unfortunately for us, NWR (Namibia Wildlife Resorts) are busy taking it over and the Prime Minister and his crew checked in just before us. We therefore have to move as the chalets available have no water. However, the ladies at reception is very helpful and when they hear what we do and why we are in the Zambezi Region, they advise and direct us to the offices of NBC (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation). This would help us with the search for people that are bewitched. We have to leave quickly as we are told that the Zambezi Region is on Central African Time and not on Namibian Time and so we have lost an hour.

At the offices of NBC, we find two vehicles parked in length across the pavement. I decide to follow suit, but the security guard is quick to tell me that I have to park sideways to give other people space as well. Not sure why, I decide to quickly do this, as not to waste any more time. Inside, we are quickly helped and I quickly scribble an announcement on paper. The whole process takes us at most 15 minutes. Outside, Susanne and I wonder how we will ever know if they will actually broadcast this as we don’t understand a word Lozi – one of the five languages spoken in the Zambezi Region.

From the offices to the car it took us about five minutes and then we immediately dialed into the local NBC station and were just in time to hear an announcement of which we understood nothing but my cellphone number. I started to drive immediately as Susanne got into trouble for trying to take a photo of the NBC offices?! My phone started ringing and the first calls came in. Two cut the line when they realized I am no Lozi-speaking-witch. Another one told me very clearly he didn’t want to speak to me.

After that first call from a woman in Windhoek who told us about her brother who desperately needed help, we didn’t have another quiet time again. The woman on the phone asked me whether I was a traditional healer (black African) or a psychologist (white African)? The next morning we met her brother, Love More, at the filling station in Bukalo. Love More had only one eye – the other he lost in January after being attacked in Windhoek.

On our way to Love More’s village, he told us that his dad’s sister bewitched their family and in that way, acquired the whole village. According to him, his sister, Ofelia, is also mentally disturbed or bewitched. And so Love More and Ofelia were the first interviews we had in the Zambezi Region.

To be continued…

ADN

Namibia’s First Dementia Friendly Shop

Namibia’s First Dementia Friendly Shop

The 19th July 2014 is a historic day in the history of Alzheimer’s Dementia Namibia. Well, it started back in September 2013, but was only realized now.

During my visit with Michaela Fink at the University of Giessen, I was invited to meet Verena Roth. As Verena, with Prof Reimer Gronemeyer, is involved with Dementia Deutschland, it was only logical for me to meet her.

During my meeting with Verena, I learned quite a bit, but the most important concept that I picked up was not to create ‘dementia bubbles’ for people with dementia. What this entails is not to create a modern way of caring for people with dementia somewhere that is out of sight and out of mind from our daily ‘normal’ lives. She told me about dementia friendly societies where people with dementia are still part of their normal societies.

On the plane back to Namibia I had a lot to think about as the concept grew on me.

Upon my return to Namibia, the trustees and I of ADN decided to try to find one village or town in Namibia that would be willing to transform into a dementia friendly town and society. In one of the towns that we picked, a business woman suggested that we needed to transform the businesses into dementia friendly business as this would in turn create a dementia friendly town.

Since then I have visited six towns with ADN’s awareness outreach ‘program’ to help ordinary people understand people with dementia, the sickness and its effects on society as whole. At the end of my presentation, I always present a challenge to the attending people to transform their town into a dementia friendly place – a place where people with dementia can live a quality life despite having dementia.

The small coastal town of Henties Bay was the last town on my list for the first half of 2014. The majority of the people living in Henties Bay are elderly, retired white Africans. (One of the local pastors here mentioned to me that the average age of his congregation members is 75.)

As I drove to Henties Bay, there was an expectation in my heart that the people of Henties would be open to hear what I had to say. I was incredibly happy to arrive at a fully packed congregation hall. What really amazed me was the amount of younger people present – one of them the owner of Henties Bay SPAR (the biggest local super market?) Daleen Agenbach stayed behind after the meeting and asked me if I’d be willing to train her staff. She was one of many people in Namibia who had a family member with dementia and had to deal with her daily in the shop.

And on the 19th July I returned to Henties Bay and trained 35 SPAR staff members. Only three of the staff members with the owner, were white Africans. All the rest were black Africans – a nation riddled with superstitions and witchcraft.

As we live in Africa and witchcraft is the foundation of most African cultures, I decided to use bewitching as a synonym for dementia. Maybe it would help to make things more clear as someone who is ‘bewitched” displays the same signs (symptoms) as someone with dementia.

Henties Bay SPAR is the first business in Namibia committed to support any person with dementia that enters their shop. Hopefully the staff members, upon reco.gnizing someone with dementia in town, will be able to help and assist them, instead of being scared of them and fleeing from them. Maybe this is the start of spreading the word that people with dementia are not dangerous or bewitched.

In my training of the staff members, I have relied greatly on the following website: Dementia Friends (https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/) as their videos on the topic is truly both inspirational and relevant.

Henties Bay Spar Staff

MBAKUTUKA KOMAPANDO [Here I was freed from my chains]

Written by Berrie Holtzhausen

6th March 2014 is a day to remember in Namibia. President Hifikepunye Pohamba and the Cabinet have called on all Namibians to join them in a National Day of Prayer for the gender-based violence in Namibia. (Since January 2013, 36 women have died at the hands of their lovers.) The President even asked all bottle store owners to close for the day as both political and religious leaders believe that alcohol and drugs play a role in the abuse of women. (This of course is not the whole truth, is it?). I want to applaud the government for taking a stand on this sensitive issue and in acknowledging our dependency on God. This is quite a step forward in any secular government.

Secondly, today is the 57th Anniversary of Ghana’s Independence which is supposed to celebrate the freedom of every Ghanaian. But is every Ghanaian truly free? What about the witch camps where people with dementia and other brain diseases are being fenced in because they are regarded as witches and are seen as dangerous? What about the church camps where the ones that are freed from the witch camps are fenced in with no food and water until they are delivered from their demons? When will these people be free?

When talking about the maltreatment and violence against people living with dementia, I cannot stress more that alcohol and drugs are definitely not to blame. The culprits here are superstition and ignorance. These are the main reasons why people without dementia commit crimes against those with dementia. And that brings me to Ward 16, Oshakati, where I left Kaputu nearly three weeks ago. I promised her that I would take her back to Ndjinaa and the first Himba Dementia Village which we have called Mbakutuka Komapando which means “Here I was freed from my chains.”

6th March really only started for me when I stopped at the Oshivelo Gate on my way to Oshakati. A young female officer asked for my driver’s license and reason for visiting Oshakati. I cannot help but to love such questions, because it gives me the green light to talk about ADN. While I was telling her our story, I noticed in my rear view mirror that I was blocking traffic, but she just directed them passed me. She was deeply interested and when I finished, she said that I just described her mother living in a village near Eenhana. I gave her my business card and asked her to contact me. I really wanted to meet her mother.

Nearly the same happened at Etuna Guest House where the receptionist, Nathalie, told me about her mother who got sick and according to the doctor, she too is mentally ill. Juanine from Epupa also called to ask if I would stop in Opuwo to see a family just south of town that has a mother that acts the same as Ndjinaa. Is this coincidence or a bright orange light warning us that dementia and other brain diseases are more common in Namibia than previously thought?

And then I went to Ward 16. The same sister from three weeks ago was still counting pills. I now seriously doubt whether any of the patients can still be hungry after that amount of pills. When I close my eyes, I can see the nurse counting tablets. Does one get white-chocolate-coated Smarties? I sure hope so!

The Tanzanian doctor was in and she immediately called the sister to fetch Kaputu. I waited about twenty minutes before she returned with Kaputu. She was stronger and her eyes seemed alive again. When asked a question, she made a sound in answer. The doctor asked if she knew me, and she turned to me offering me a smile – or was that my imagination.

While the doctor and I waited for the nurse to bring Kaputu, she told me to return at the end of March to fetch Kaputu. I then started telling her how ADN got involved in the Cunene Region and how I was on my way there to help Koos and the team to move Ndjinaa to Mbakutuka Komapando. At the end of my story, I showed her the three pictures of Ndjinaa when we freed her. At first, I could see the doctor thought I was telling her some kind of fable. With Kaputu now in the room, she was shocked when she saw the pictures. She now looked at Kaputu and again asked her if she wanted to go home. Again Kaputu made a sound and smiled. The doctor immediately started to give orders to the sisters to prepare Kaputu for her return home in the morning with me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ndjinaa after ADN freed her

I wasn’t at any prayer meetings today. In fact, I probably interrupted one when I stopped at the closed gate of Etuna Guest House, pressing the buzzer with nobody to open for me. I looked at my watch and realized it was 13h00 – the time for the one minute silence for all Namibian people. I returned to my pick-up and got silent on my own thanking God that I was able to return to Opuwo tomorrow with Kaputu.

I bought Kaputu some ENSURE (an energy drink) to drink on the road back to Opuwo. I have no idea what happened to her dress, but luckily I will have Zelma with me tomorrow (The bar tender of Epupa Falls Lodge). We can then just quickly stop at PEP Stores to buy Kaputu something suitable.

To me, prayer is every action and reaction that I am busy with as I am fully aware that we all live in the shadow of God’s loving hand.