May I invite you for a short review of the history of origin of this beautiful spot on earth.
Helmut Bleks was still 1969 a successful steel production manager, to be more precise the plenipotentiary of the company Rexrodt. His world collapsed, after having had a heart attack end having been advised by a physician to leave the humid climate of the Ruhr area. His recuperation trip brought him to Namibia and already in 1970 his family settled on a farm in Khomas Hochland, recently purchased. It was situated about 40 km from Windhoek.
Any buildings on the farm had still to be erected. During this time Helmut Bleks noticed that his farm labourers could neither read nor write. He decided on the foundation of a school. The first children were taught in the shade of camel thorn trees. Later the first school buildings were erected with the help of the parents, friends and sponsors. The Farm School Baumgartsbrunn was officially founded in 1972.
In 1973 the Bleks family started on their own initiative a farm school for 17 children of their farm labourers. At that time people did no more speak of Helmut Bleks, but of “Mr Helmut”.
In the year of the death of Helmut Bleks in 2006 the school village Baumgartsbrunn – presided over by the Helmut Bleks Foundation – 520 primary and junior secondary pupils. There also was a hostel, an outpatient’s clinic with a fully equipped dentistry and an ambulance as well as an ecumenical church as intercultural meeting place of the population of the Khomas Hochland.
There was also a need for further practical training of the pupils after school. Helmut Bleks erected small work shops where pupils learned vocational skills. These skills included bricklaying, woodwork, weaving, shoemaking and dressmaking.
In 1990 the Institute of Domestic Science and Agriculture, Baumgartsbrunn, the first of its kind in Namibia, was inaugurated. The female and male students coming from all over Southern Africa were not only trained thoroughly in elementary Domestic Science and Catering areas, but also given the opportunity to learn a sound trade like tailoring, weaving, shoemaking and gardening.
Guests on Eagle Rock Lodge are welcome to go and see that project in order to get a personal impression of what two decades of careful and committed development aid can do in countries of the Third World.
We wanted to continue the work of “Mister Helmut” – the lodge as training facility for the Helmut Bleks Foundation of Domestic Science and Agriculture
In September 2010 we took over the lodge. Our concept we based on the full integration of the Helmut Bleks Foundation’ training into the genuine running of the lodge. The Lodge was intended to become a practical training facility for the students as planned by Helmut Bleks.
Our guests were to experience the students of the Helmut Bleks Foundation in their work and directly get a good idea of the quality with which the Foundation sends out its students after two years of having been trained by expert staff. 70% of all the work at the Lodge would have been done by the students. That means, in the morning students would have made up your bed and cleaned your room. You would have been provided with cool drinks all through the day. A highlight would have been the joint dinner, which would have been prepared and served by the students.
In the concept you would have noted the word “should“. This concept we could only start, develop and be put into practice until November 2011. A sequel was not possible because of the changed situation in the Helmut Bleks Foundation.
Friedrich Dönhoff has written a book on Helmut Bleks: Mr. Helmuts Schule. Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, ISBN 3-499-61992-X
The book is also available in the library of our Lodge.