17th and 18th Day Senioren Flat

 17th Day

Our day started by Mvr Udomien van Halsema at 10.00. Our idea for her was to make together a calendar which would contain for each week a special thought or wish. Originally we planned that we would each of us write a certain amount and then share it with each other. Somehow, probably, due to our poor dutch, it went differently. Udomien did not write any statements but instead worked on ours together. Grammatically but also content wise which actually made much more sense. For example, with the statement “With each day you get closer to yourself”, she had questions concerning the fact that it is not the same for everyone. Instead she changed the sentence into “ Try with each day to get closer to yourself”. We left each other touched by this experience.



After that we had half an hour to finish up the soup and warm it up for our lunch meeting with Menno and his wife. His door was already open when we arrived. They were waiting for us. He thought that we will only leave the soup there for them to eat it so it came as a nice surprise that we would actually spend this lunch together. His wife immediately asked for their nicest table cloth. We helped to prepare the table and cut some bread. We got to know that they are married for 60 years and just recently had a party. Menno is taking a lot of care about his wife who is partially paralyzed and can not hear well. She told us though that when they are people here, like us she often falls out of the discourse simply because she can not hear. Despite her condition, she is lovely woman. Smiling and taking part in her own limited way. At the end of the lunch, we asked feedback, since Menno was a lifetime cook. He said, it was delicious but a bit spicy and the vegetables were not cut small enough for them. We had a nice time and we left each other happily.



Later on we went to the kitchen to ask Jan, the chef cook, if we can use the oven to make ouf cake for the event. That we can use the oven but he even gave a special cake recipe which he explained to us with care. It was his way to be present with us in the event, since he could not attend, due to a museum visit in Den Haag with his wife (Thursday is always his free day)

18th Day

Today is the big day. We know we are going to be up on our feet from early morning to late night. We know that we have no control over a lot of things but throughout the years, we learned to cope with this. So our stress level is not too bad.

In the morning we did a general run through with Jamila and we know we fit in with the one and half hour time limit we gave to ourselves. We are happy about that because time can be a bitch. In the afternoon we shopped for all the food and drinks needed, then we prepared the cake and all the texts. Since the event will be in dutch we made sure that everything is translated as well in english for our non dutch speaker audience member. They would then receive an english printed version in order to follow the event. On the last minutes we took 5 minutes to come to our room to dress up and transform into the hosts.


At 19.00 (our event starts at 19.30) we were barely ready and our first guests were already here. From this moment on they just kept coming in an endless flow. Our estimation for the night was about 40 people but we had everything prepared for 50 and a little more in case. At least 65 people came. We can’t be sure, at one point we lost counting. In this 65 people, there were at least 40 bewoners, 15 staff members and 10 visitors from outside. The fact that so many bewoners and specially staff members came melted our heart.

The beginning was very chaotic. We had Janna helping us at the bar but she was overloaded with everybody demanding coffees or teas like if it was their right. We all jumped into it to help the situation. The chairs were prepared in two half circles pointing to the middle of the room, where we were giving the opening speech. After that the plan was that people move into couples (at the beginning everybody got a number that would pair up with someone else) into different part of the rooms. This was like a scene from a movie in which you try to move such a group with rollators and sticks while they don’t yet what is going to happen to them. Most of them were coming in th believe that they would attend a simple presentation, they sat down, made themselves comfortable with their little coffee, ready to watch something. They didn’t know that they would be asked to participate. With all this, it was some kind Kusturica film. The beauty was that all more fit people in the room realised that it had to be a communal action and everybody jumped in to help. Eventually we all got seated, with a plank in between the knees, playing the role of a table and we got ready to start the second of the evening.

There would be a lot to say about what happened on this night. As usual our plan was teared apart by reality but as always glued back together by our ability to adapt. In the end it came out as beautiful evening, surprising to everybody and definitely in the spirit of care.

When we closed the evening, Ieteke stepped in unexpectedly to give a last speech as a thank to us. She said, she learned something very valuable from us, that care is also being curious. She thanked us for that and gave us a little frisian package of goodies. After that all the bewoners cued up to say good and wish the best with a special attention to the future baby. We were very touched by all this attention. We are not used to that.

And one more important note. 4 friends came from Amsterdam to see this event: Clement, Melanie, Marion and Hans. It is always nice to feel the support from home.