The days start early in the Omaruru Children’s Haven. The housemothers wake the children up at 05.30 a.m. so that they can wash themselves, get ready for the day and eat mealie-pap (a maize mush) or oats together. Around 7.30 a.m. the children in school-going age are on their way to their respective schools and at 8.00 a.m. the Omaruru Children’s Haven falls silent when the pre-primary children have been taken to the kindergarten.
This is the time of tidying up and preparing. The housemothers clean the yard and the rooms and cook lunch, the volunteers are using the few quiet hours to prepare the study time and in the office you can hear the computer keyboard clicking while emails are being answered, letters typed and invoices paid.
Between 12.00 o‘clock and 1.30 p.m. the children return from school and when all have arrived it is time for lunch. After lunch it is resting time for the smaller children, while most of the bigger children return to the schools for afternoon classes, sports or music lessons.
At 3 p.m. the children begin with study time, at first the pre-primary children and grades one, two and three, later the children in grades four to seven. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. it is shower time, so that everyone is clean and neat and the day’s dirt and sweat is washed off by the time dinner starts at 6 p.m.
After cleaning the tables and washing the dishes the little ones have leisure time until 7.45 p.m., which is usually spent singing and playing or listening to stories being read by a volunteer or housemother. After this it is time for tooth-brushing and bed. The big children are not that lucky though. Their study time starts at 7 p.m. and usually lasts until 8 p.m. Before exams, however, they often have to spend more time together with the volunteers doing homework and preparing for the exams. At 9 p.m. the big children also have to get ready for bed and return to their rooms. But of course a 16 year-old doesn’t want to sleep at 9 p.m. You can often hear them talk about the day, school and friends for some time until the slogan is at 9.30 p.m.: lights out and sweet dreams!