After being shut out of New Zealand during the Covid-19 lockdown and living in a farm shed in South Africa with her family for seven months, Carla Badenhorst says she is grateful to be back in the place she considers home. She talks to Ashley Smyth about her family’s experience.
The Badenhorst family is used to farm life, but farm shed life is a different story.
Carla and Dewald Badenhorst and their children Adriaan (15), Carlo (13) and Marieke (11) are originally from South Africa, but New Zealand has been home for the past five years.
They have been dairy farming in the Oamaru area for the past four.
The family went back to South Africa in March for new passports and became stranded for seven months, due to the border closure. They made it back to New Zealand and through quarantine just in time for their three children to start their last term of school. Adriaan attends St Kevin’s College and Carlo and Marieke are at Maheno School.
Stuck with no work and therefore no income, Mrs Badenhorst said they were forced to live in a shed on her brother-in-law’s farm in South Africa.
Initially things were not so bad. New Zealand was in lockdown at the same time and St Kevin’s had online classes, although the time difference and internet issues caused problems.
“It was a question of the 14-year-old sitting from 12 o’clock at night until 4 o’clock in the morning, South African time. So that didn’t last for long,” Mrs Badenhorst said.
“St Kevin’s then helped us out by sending offline work for him to do.”
She said Maheno School was also fantastic at providing work for the younger children to do.
But things changed when New Zealand came out of lockdown.
“[The children] just all went through that dip, that mental dip.”
Because the Badenhorsts had lived in New Zealand for so long, they were no longer entitled to South African benefits.
“We had the benefit of family available to help us out, yes. But family can only help you out for so long.
“It’s putting a financial burden on another family, in a lockdown state.”
An added complication was Carlo’s Type 1 diabetes. He is on an insulin pump and the family had to import items from Australia because they were not available in South Africa.
“So it’s been interesting, to say the least.”
It was a stressful situation for the whole family and hard to remain positive at times.
But on the plus side, since the family had been back the children had a new appreciation for their New Zealand lifestyle.
“They’re back to normal, back to school, back into routine. They are appreciating everything.”
Complications with expired visas would hopefully be sorted by the start of next year, she said.
“Hopefully they won’t have a problem. They’ve let us back. I’m not going back to South Africa, they’ll have to drag me out of here by my fingernails. I’m not leaving.”
Work-wise, Mr Badenhorst was back on the farm at Happy Valley Rd and life was getting back to normal.
The family was grateful to the Maheno community, who took care of their cats while they were away and kept them up to date with news.
Mrs Badenhorst said her family “were the lucky ones”.
“I still feel guilty being back, because of people still stuck.
“You always feel that your story isn’t as hard as another person’s. But we were in the lucky position that Immigration granted us the exemption.”Nike air jordan Sneakersyeezy turtle dove description chart for girls Mid Light Smoke Grey