Covid lockdown in farm shed for stranded family

Dewald, Carla, Marieke (11), Adriaan (15) and Carlo (13) Badenhorst in South Africa, where they...
Dewald, Carla, Marieke (11), Adriaan (15) and Carlo (13) Badenhorst in South Africa, where they spent seven months living in a farm shed. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
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, the family was forced to live in a shed on her brother-in-law’s farm in South Africa.

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."

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."

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.

Since the family had returned to New Zealand, the children had a new appreciation for their lifestyle.

"They’re back to normal, back to school, back into routine. They are appreciating everything."

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."

 - Ashley Smyth

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