Open Michelle House 7 June 2009- Old Age home for 13 people
Yakandonga Farm start renovations June 2010 to establish a Dementia Care Farm in Central Namibia. 40 km south of Otjiwarongo on the road to Omaruru
Start renovating old farm house
The Renovating team
care givers buildings ruins to rooms
three layers of carpets over 40 years
TRANSFORM THE VERANDA INTO A COZY WINTER-PORCH
TRANSFORMING TRIPLE-GARAGES INTO 4 BEDROOMS/KITCHEN/BATHROOM AND A TRAINING CENTRE
Opening of Yakandonga Dementia Care farm: Dancing, speeches and worship. All the glory to God ‘The Connector of DOTS’
Our Dementia Family start growing month by month and the care giver’s experience grew as we were taught in practice that everyone is an individual and every Dementia [ Alzheimer/Vascular/FTD/Lewy Bodies] has its own challenges.
They love to go for walks on the farm and enjoy the ‘freedom’ and new friendships
Quality of life means to be Free. To live with Dementia in nature is Freedom and not limited to a room behind walls and closed doors.
Who wants to spend your days during nice summer days in side a house?
On 07/10/12 Berrie found a Person living with Dementia in nature BUT chained into a hut for the last 20 years
this was Ndjinaa’s ‘home’ for 20 years.
Except for the chain from her legs to the pole of the hut her legs were chained together
Negotiations between Kapika [ Brother of Ndjinaa and Chief of the Himba people, who chained her], Koos Verwey and Berrie Holtzhausen start on 21/10/12 to free Ndjinaa.
12/12/12 Tjauritza, Venoo and Nancy is leading Ndjinaa to her freedom
What you see ; Chain, filthy cloth was what Ndjinaa owned and was with her in that ‘horror hut’
We set up a Bathroom to clean her and dress her newly
3o Minutes later a new Ndjinaa appeared
She walked into her new home [ an old army tent] and lay down on her new bed [ first one any many years] and fell asleep.
People came from near and far [ even from Angola to see the ‘Witch of Omaramba’ who is now living unchained and freely.
No one was afraid anymore of the ‘Witch’. I even convinced the children and Ndjinaa blessed them with bread.
Than the negotiations start for a piece of land to build Ndjinaa’s own village for her. It took us 18 months. Every 6 weeks we were sitting under Mopanie trees to Negotiated this important piece of history in Ndjinaa’s life and ADN’s goals of PWD preceived as Witches, chained and even killed.
Ndjinaa’s progression from a chained Witch to a Grandmother and opening her first Bank Account ever on 16/4/18. Nobody will ever collect her pension because she is a ‘Witch’.
She had only a little bit of water for herself everyday. Some say not more than 250 ml- 500ml per day. With the help of Paul Mauritz of the USA [ Microsoft] and Koos Verwey’s team we drill a borehole and put up a 10,000 Lt Water tank for her. Her village was the first Himba Village in the history with running water in her own village. Even Kapika’s cattle and goats are drinking from that bore hole’s water.
Ndjinaa move to her own village, called Mbakutuka Komopandu [ ‘Here I was freed from my chains’]
From second half 2017 I noticed that something is wrong. Every time I visited Ndjinaa she was half naked and if she is afraid. Some times hiding behind her hut or just staying inside her hut. Even her clothes start to disappear and I noticed that she getting thinner and thinner.
When I visted her again I noticed that she seems good again and even asked for some ‘medicine’ to put on a little girls knee. I went home more happy but still I was not convinced that everything is OK.
But when I returned with Auguste at the early November she was hiding behind her hut like if she was afraid , she was dirty and not well dressed. According to her daughter [ Vehatehako], her caregiver for that week we arrived her mother does not want to bath and is very aggressive. Well Auguste managed to bath her and dressed her nicely again. I became more and more suspicious and drove back with not feeling good about this. In my mind a idea which I have voiced to Koos already a few months ago , start to grow on me. ‘I am going to transfer her to Swakopmund’. This idea was totally against my own principle;
‘People living with Dementia need to be cared for in their own culture and environment.’
But it looked more and more like it is not anymore the Dementia Friendly environment that we [ADN] has created and tried to sustained for the last 5 years.
After visting Ndjinaa again in early 2018 and found her again dirty and half dressed, I decided to transfer her to Swakopmund Dementia Care Farm.
We traveled back to Swakopmund on 12 March 2018. One year after the death of UVAZERWA’S only son. Uvazerwa is the second wife of Kapika. When he died on 11 //03/2017 I wrote:
‘Ndjinaa might be in danger again!?’
Ndjinaa might be in danger again…why you ask?
Uvuzerwa’s (second wife of Kapika) only son ( 11/12) died this morning in Oshakati in the hospital.
I remember that my translator ( Gabriel) told me last time, that Uvuzerwa don’t want her children to be alone with Ndjinaa.
Knowing the Himba culture and the fact that a child’s death is always being seen as an elderly person who bewitched the child to obtain his/her power ,might be that Ndjinaa can be accused as the one who did the bewitching of the deceased boy.
I hope I am wrong….
JEALOUSY/MISTRUST/FEAR is the trinity of witchcraft and my hypothesis one of the reasons for High BLood pressure among believers in witchcraft. High Blood Pressure is a Wel known risk factor for developing Dementia.
Looking back now and what happened in 2017 with Ndjinaa, it is getting more and more clear to me why Ndjinaa was neglected all of a sudden after 4 and a half years.
END OF AN ERA?
Is this the end?
Or just a new beginning
Like birth and than death
Is there really an end or…?
Maybe something better
The next step in the journey of a thousand miles?
Will it be the best move for her?
Or maybe it is the best for us?
Is her 5 huts just another village?
Or is it for her home?
Will ADN Carefarm just be a strange place ?
Or will it grow into HOME for her?
Nobody will ever be able to proof it
Or even be 100% sure that it was a mistake!
I hope we can read her body language
See it in her eyes
Read her gestures when she walk
And when she is silent or talk
Intellectual discourse will never replace the deepest feelings of an individual.
Only time will tell
If and only if you can hear her
When she is NOT speaking
And you can experience her joy and pain
When she is not smiling or crying
Only than you might be able to know
Was it a mistake or another step to freedom!
Is this the end of an era?
5 years, 5 months and 5 days later
5 Years and 3 months without her shackles.
4 Years in her own Village called Mbakutuka Komapando ( Here I was freed from my chains).
Today 11 March starts new negotiations for Ndjinaa , maybe a new chapter of her life?
Today ( 16 March 2018) Ndjinaa was already 5 nights and 4 days at her new home : ADN CARE FARM just outside Swakopmund.
Auguste phoned Uvazerwa ( Kapika’s youngest wife) to report about Ndjinaa as promised to Chief Kapika during the negotiations.
“Ndjinaa enjoying her Omaere ( traditional food of the Himba’s) and meat every day. She is sleeping well and spend every day among her new “family” Auguste told Uvazerwa.
She replied: “Ndjiina uri koja ihe”
“It is because she is with her father at his place”
Maybe it was a confirmation of Chief Kapika’s blessing on Sunday during the negotiations….maybe it was the right decision…..???!!!!