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The Life Story of Alvin Fortuin

Alvin is 52 years old. He was admitted to Nerina Place of Safety in 1971, to Lentegeur Hospital in November 1994 and moved to Includid in 1997. Alvin has mild intellectual and physical disabilities. He speaks Afrikaans. He can do most things, just a little slowly.

Alvin is currently one of the security guards at the main gate. He works Monday to Friday and every other Saturday. He used to be the garden captain.

Alvin has been to both England and Greece to present at conferences. He has also presented at Parliament. He represents Includid at the Western Cape Network on Intellectual Disability. He has passed an accredited course in basic first aid with Red Cross.

He has his own mobility scooter which he saved up for himself.

Alvin’s dream is to drive an automatic car.

Alvin tells his story...(in his own words)

I was born in Cape Town. I lived in the hospital until I was 36 years old. I am an only child.

I started living at Includid at Lighthouse, then Alden, then Highgate Houses. Now I live at Sunshine.

My mother did not visit me at hospital. My friends are here. My parents never contact me but I have a dog called Bobby. I have had Bobby for 4 years. I used to walk her every day. She has been to the SPCA as she was not very well. (Bobby has died since this interview was recorded)

I did not like life in the hospital. They were not kind to me.

I was interviewed in the office before I came here. Susan and Marlene interviewed me.

I did not have my own room in the hospital. I shared with another man. I have forgotten his name as it is so long ago.

I went to occupational therapy at the hospital. I helped the occupational therapist. I did this every day.

I did leave hospital on a bus and I went to Cape Town. It was scary. There were 10 patients at a time. I went shopping for clothes. We went once a year.

I did not like the hospital because they told me what to do. I know what I want to do. The hospital food was terrible. You had to eat it but it was not nice. They prepared the food and you just ate it.  I used to help clean the kitchen, for a year. I started in the kitchen at 9.00 until 1.00. In the afternoon I would have a sleep.

Then I came to Includid which is nice. I got a job in the garden. I was the garden captain. I told the other people in the garden what to do. I worked in the garden for a long time and then I wanted a change. I became a security guard. I look after the gate of Includid. I have a badge and a walkie-talkie. I like being a security guard, it is very nice. I get to meet people. I tell people where to go. If I need help I call someone from the workgroups on my walkie-talkie.

I am going to take my learners. I have the book in the [security] hut with me. I would like to drive an automatic car. I’d like a small car, a two-seater. I would go with a support worker.

I live in Sunshine House with 5 others and a support worker. She helps to cook the meals and make sure that we are safe.

I have been to the U.K. I flew on a plane. I went via Greece. I went for a walk. I visited another disability group there. It was fun. We went to a workshop with lots of others. I would like to travel again.

I can give presentations. I have presented at Parliament. I would like to do that again.

I am a representative on the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disabilities. I represent Includid there, to say what we want.

I speak Afrikaans. I can speak some words of English.

I am happy.
Alvin's video life story
Alvin, telling us
his life story
Alvin, Includid's security guard
Alvin doing his daily job
at Includid
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