9th and 10th Day – Senioren Flat

9th Day


Today we came back to our working routine, joining the cleaning shift in the morning. We prepared the opkeamer with Gerry for the collective lunch of the residents. We learned how to set the table in a very specific way, Nijlanstate way. Gerry is very precise about it.

 

 

During our shift, we also took the time to interview Gerry. She is the one who works the longest here and it was important for us to hear about her experience and about her relation to care.

 

 

In the end of the interview she also gave us the present she made for us: a pair of high heels that she customized with paint, flowers, grid and other elements. It even has a hanger so that you can have it on the wall. This is her speciality, the way she related to art as well. To our eyes, this is her gesture of care. We will for sure use these shoes as an inspiration for the event.

After our shift we entered our marathon of meetings. We met today 3 people, each of them for an hour. We ended up being late to each of our appointments. The first person we met was a couple, family Kats. We already met Henk before at the afternoon of film screening but it was now also the occasion to meet his wife, mevrouw Kats. Both of them are a very active couple. They told us how they decided to move in this place while they were still young enough so that they could appreciate taking part of the organisation and activities. They bought two apartment together so that they could have more space. She has her office to work while he can be in the living room watching tv. Both are involved in the different committees of Nijlanstate. Along their life here they traveled a lot and are very active cyclist. They cycle still 3000 km a year. They are in their 80s, yet still feel full of energy. They are very proud about the system of the building, the cooperative and how care goes through that.


Our second meeting was with Meneer Werf. The one that called me while I was running under the rain. Meneer Werf lives in a small apartment with his wife. His wife is in a wheelchair and can’t hear much anymore. She can only recognize his voice when he speaks to her slowly and loudly. She sat close to the window looking at the sun and smiling from time to time. Meneer Werf took us for a small tour in his apartment, the apartment is made so that his wife can get all the cared she needs. He paints sometimes and he has quite a specific style, we both liked. He used to be a cook in the past but is happy now that the food is being provided. He cooked enough during his life. We had a long conversation about our stay here and about his life. He misses his house and feels sometimes a bit lonely here. That is also why he was happy to spend some time with us.


Our third meeting was with Mevrouw Bijsterveld and Mevrouw Veenstra, two women who live together already for 40 years. Both of them were more than 90 years old but they both looked still very active and very beautiful, like two independent women. Their apartment was classy and comfortable. Together we talked quite some time about politics and how people are getting more and more scared of strangers. We talked about Hungary, France and Netherland, comparing the situation in all three countries.


At the evening we went to see the glass house, where we will give our press conference later this week. After that we had a long talk about our progress. We realised that we should never forget that our performance is already started. Going from apartment to apartment with our trolley, creating little gestures of care we will offer back to our hosts to thank their invitations, working in the morning in the kitchen is already part of our 3 weeks performance at Nijlanstate. It is part of our work. It is our work.


We also had Jochem working with us that day on PR. He had several meetings where he spread the letter we wrote to care. This is also part of our performance as he performs our words from mouth to mouth, creating our rumor and legend in the city.


10th Day


Today we worked with the kitchen shift. We really like this shift because it is quite chill. Mostly doing meditative actions. Last time we sorted the grapes and this time we had to place two witloof rapped in the smoked ham and cover it with cheese.


 

 


This time was also very nice because we could use our camera to film the specific routines of the kitchen. Since we introduced it slowly to everyone, it is now ok for us to film because people trust us. One good example of that is that we asked Jan the chef cook if we could stand on a little box to film the food distribution moment and he proposed us to use a ladder. We would have never dared to bring a ladder there from ourselves, we would think it is too exposing but like this we could have the best angle. The final image was kind of funny, Alice standing on a ladder in the middle of the kitchen with her apron on.

In the afternoon we offered tea and cookie at the opkeamer from 14:00 - 16:00. In our letter last week, we also gave this as an option for the ones, who are maybe not comfortable to invite us to their home but still would like to meet us and talk with us. Just as usual we thought no one will come. We even took our laptops and were prepared to work through this 2 hours. But instead, we ended up with a big group of residents, who just kept coming one after the other. We even ran out of tea bags and had to make a big pot of tea instead of one by one.

After our big tea gathering success we went directly to our next meeting with Mevrouw Halsema, who was as well part of our tea meeting. She welcomed us in her little cosy living room while listening to Mozart. Since our stomachs were already so full of tea we drunk together an apple juice. Mevrouw Halsema lives alone. She lost her husband two years ago. They were married for a very long time. He was older than her and his state got worst in the last years. She talked about the challenge it is to keep on going when you partners died. She said she found her way by writing. We talked about our lives and hers. Our fears and wonders but also the beautiful things of life.