Popya with Benedictus Saunders – “Never give up on life, make the best out of your situation”

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Tuulikki Abraham

LÜDERITZ – Benedictus Saunders, 36, born in Lüderitz in the //Kharas Region, started his primary school at the Nautilus Primary School in 1992, in Lüderitz.

Later in 1996, his mother passed away and he moved to Kosis, a small village near Bethanie in the //Kharas Region, to continue with his school. Due to his mother’s death, he left school several times that year. “After my mother’s death due to the pain, also due to Nama language at the school in Kosis, me and my brothers failed because by that time if you fail a language you fail a grade. We grew up with the Afrikaans language and could not understand any other language,” says Saunders.

He explains the difficult times growing up on a farm in Kosis without his mother. In 2001 when he passed Grade 10, he moved to J.A.Nel Senior Secondary School in Keetmanshoop, where he finished his Grade 12 in 2003. “After I finished my Grade 12, I got a job to support my siblings, where I could, but our lives were just so difficult and by that time the main problem was with school fees and examination fees.” He worked at different places trying to make ends meet; meeting wrong friends who smoke weed and use alcohol. “I was someone who messed everything up, drank a lot and smoked, I was also one of the lucky guys who always had a job and also having ladies at every party,” laments Saunders.

In 2007, he got a job at Lüderitz Nest Hotel, until 2012 in January when he got a job with Namdeb at Elizabeth Mine in Lüderitz. He worked for two years until the contract expired, having to re-apply every two years. In 2014, he could not stomach such insecurity, fearing that one day after two years he would not be contracted again and he would be jobless. He applied to the Ministry of Safety and Security as a police officer in 2014 and was one of the successful candidates.

One week before training on May 21, 2014, he fell sick. “I just felt weak in my right hand side from the leg to the cheek. I got a stroke, I was not able to talk or walk, ” he relates.

Saunders was admitted to the Lüderitz State Hospital for three months and half. From the hospital, he was still not able to talk and walk. He was sent to Keetmanshoop for physiotherapy. He became better, started talking and walk. Until today, he is exercising to improve his walking. Ever since his sickness, he quit smoking and alcohol until today. That is when he learned to read his Bible and pray for his strength. He started focusing and having positive thoughts about who he is. “I had many challenges during the time in that hospital bed. It was like doors to my future were completely shut and I felt more like an object. Every night I cried and asked a lot of questions to God, why me? Why this time? when I was about to go on training to be a police officer? But I could not blame anyone but myself,” reflects Saunders.

Currently, he is mining minerals such as topaz or tourmaline or any minerals that he can find in his prospecting license area. He is also planning to farm with poultry in Aus and registering his football team, as he was a football player before he became paralysed. Saunders want to encourage the youth and other people to never give up on life. “In life we should appreciate everything that we have, even if it’s not exactly what you need. I accepted what I got from God. There is still time and place for improvement in God’s world and to learn his commandments to avoid those things to happen. Let us live right so that one day we may enter heaven with a smile, let us share information and encourage one another towards the right way of life,” Saunders emphasised. Soon you will be reading a book on his life.

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