Lecture on 18.02.2018 for the New Year Celebration
at the Amitofo Care Centre Germany e.V.
2 Months at Amitofo Care Centre of Namibia (abbrv. ACC Namibia or Centre)
Report by Beatrix von Eycken
The daily routine
At the end of 2017, the Centre hosts 54 children, 11 overseas employees and 24 Namibian employees, some of whom live in the Centre, but to some extent also in Okahandja.
The days of Centre residents begin early. For the children with a morning ceremony in the temple. Then it goes for the first sports unit to the Kung-Fu hall. At 6:40 there is breakfast (Sundays at 7:00), lunch at 12:00, dinner at 18:00. All eat in silence. You only hear eagerly scraping of cutlery on dishes. After dinner, the adults who live in the Centre play with the children or pursue their own activities. At 19:00 o’clock the children and at 20:00 o’clock most adults are in their rooms. Wi-Fi was always a problem, so watching movies or surfing rarely worked. You go to bed early. My room was opposite of the temple. In the morning the singing of the children woke me up. There is hardly a way to wake up more beautifully.
For Julie, the cook and her team, as well as the children’s nannies, the working day started well before breakfast. For most other employees, the day starts at 8 o’clock. Until then, the bus which brings the staff from Okahandja, arrived. After lunch, there is a break for children and employees. Then work continues until 16:00 o’clock. The local staff, who do not live in the Centre, will be picked up again by 4:00 pm by bus. Only a few people can afford a private car. The bus is not public transport. There is almost no such thing. It is hired and paid by employees of various employers and then drives from station to station. ACC Namibia wants to change this for their own employees and organize their own transfer. This saves money and time for local employees.
The staff that stay at the Centre and the children share breakfast and dinner together. Every day and every meal, Julie and her staff serve Asian food for the overseas staff and local food for the kids and Namibian staff.
Saturdays will be worked till noon. After lunch, the free time begins. You can do your laundry (without a washing machine), watching the cows and goats that always get lost somewhere of the centre, playing GO (a strategic board game) with colleagues or badminton. When we found the game in one of the donation containers, the joy was huge.
For some professions, e.g. nannies, other working hours apply: they also work weekends, start earlier and work longer. They are entitled to free days, which they then have to take in such a way when care for the children by their colleagues is guaranteed. There are similar regulations for the kitchen staff.
Slowly, another sense of time sets in: There is always a lot to do, but the feeling of being rushed disappears. All life takes place in this one place. There are no long ways and you just have to take care of your task. Cooking, shopping, planning your free time: All these do not happen. Either because there is no possibility, or because others take care (like Julie about the food). There is hardly any distraction by the media.
The overseas employees are divided into two groups and on Sundays trips are made alternately. This opportunity is used to do the necessary shopping in Windhoek and Okahandja or to explore the area.