Thursday, January 24, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Fraser Esslemont's 1996 SA Town Hill Dispatches

15.01.96 Fraser's Town Hill dispatch: "Im very pleased to hear of your acceptance to Lincoln Univ. It must mean a lot to you after 7 mnths. of [labouring] work. Try and do forestry and wine making as well. Very soon ill be doing farm work at Pevensey. NB c/o Mrs. ... Underberg. At this private farm for disabled people sponsored by Round Table, SA. They farm 4 livestock cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. Also vegetables, fruit and potatoes. Ill be getting strong farming, like you have done, after years of teaching.

The weather changes in NZ must affect your horticulture quite a bit. I dont envy you. How many greenhouses does your farm have? Your weather diagram over NZ was good and very interesting. Do the forestry course at Chch [Technical College] another year. [Town Hill doctors a year before said Fraser lacked a 'learning curve'].

Your ears are bad, but my eyesights getting bad, so weve both decided on farming as a career. [Working in mud and cold, rainy weather didn't appeal]. My forebrain damage does not affect my coordination, only [anterograde] memory. [Town Hill doctors said Fraser lacked insight into his condition].

My friends say the sheep farming in NZ is good. So learn that too. The botanical gardens seem to be in a few countries of the world. I guess the botanists show off their flora of their respective countries.

Thanks for the brochures of Chch and Canterbury environs. I think so too, your decision was the right one [to emigrate to NZ]. Meeting another SA teacher Mike ... would make the country less lonely. Is the cat the only pet you have? Sundown 9.30 pm. is late. Will you have to pay for accommodation at Lincoln Varsity? Or move into a student's res? Welfare state seems a good idea in NZ, but not in SA. [Town Hill doctors said Fraser lacked judgement].

I think keep a regular visit to the audiologist. Before going back to teaching."

10.03.96 Fraser's Town Hill dispatch: "Im sure you and your family will enjoy living in Halswell. You must have rented a 3 b. room house to spread out the content of your boxes. You will have collected a lot in SA. [True, but we disposed of a lot before leaving SA, and still found NZ houses too small for our needs]. Surely renting a big house is expensive. A duplex or simplex does not seem to have caught on in NZ. Please send me a house photo.

I guess you and your family have got your bearings of the town and surrounding area, after 8 months. You dont seem to have a space problem (big yard). SA has people living on top of each other in the towns, cities and metropoles. Lyttelton and the Port Hills seem close. How many kms. from your house? Christchurch seems community minded and public spirited. Its just as well you did holidayed [sic] in NZ before you emigrated. Is the Avon river big and wide, from the high mnths? [sic] Good luck in your Lincoln course of wine making & horticulture. What local work will you get? [Insightful question. Nothing].

Try writing to Dr. Ross at Town Hill and let him know I will be visiting you sometime this century, or early next. Im still waiting for a brain scan. But im sure I can take a jet flight to NZ. Let Dr. Ross know. My lawyer won't let me have money until Dr. Ross makes me a voluntary boarder. Ask Dr. Ross if I can be a consent patient while I make travel plans. Do you and my lawyer consent to me being at Town Hill, and will you consent for me to have a holiday, if you and my lawyer are accountable for my travel movements? My lawyer would have to buy the air tickets.

[Fraser showed levels of insight while pushing for decertification, but lacked insight into hazardous international travel for a brain damaged person. Town Hill indemnified itself by punishing Fraser in closed wards and the forensic security block. If Town Hill wouldn't take responsibility for Fraser when he was out of hospital, what was the point of certifying Fraser in the first place? Fraser was duped by psychiatric / legal jargon. Fraser wanted me and his curator to consent to his Town Hill imposed lack of independence and incarceration abuses. No way would I consent to continued abuses. Town Hill needed to rethink and improve its rehabilitation and management of patients and communications with patients' families].

I realize you will be 45 after you pass your 1st year exams. Is the course 3 years? Potchefstroom is comparable to Lincoln. [True, in small varsity size.] Good luck in your results."

01.06.96 Fraser's Town Hill dispatch: "Transfer to farm in Midlands, Natal. Very soon I'll be pulling out cabbages, cauliflower, carrots & beetroot, quite close to Maritzburg (2 hours drive away). For the next 6 months. Sunnyside Farm is quite close to Underberg. This farming is on a trial basis, after 7 & two thirds years at Town Hill. I'll be getting a mountain bicycle to get around on the Sunnyside Farm. Saving wisely, I'll be able to fly to NZ to see you and your family at the end of year 2000.

You'd better do vini-culture [sic] to be ahead of me in experience. I suppose SA and NZ horticulture expertise is very much different though.

Send me your phone number after your 131... in Christchurch NZ. Also some photos of your house and surrounding area. Id very much like to get an idea of the area. Id do the same of Sunnyside Farm, Ntl. Im not getting a car, ill hire when I need. My hand was not badly damaged. Im keen on seeing NZ."

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