The letters and emails on this page reflect the thoughts and experiences of patients that have visited Okonguarri and wanted to express their gratitude in written form.

All information on this page has been voluntarily surrendered to Okonguarri and, where relevant, permission has been obtained from the author(s) for publishing thereof on this page on the website of Okonguarri. The information is reproduced here in its original form, without any alteration, except for spelling & grammar amendments where necessary. In order to protect the privacy of our patients, every effort has been made to remove any personally identifiable information.

From Victim to Victory

Through the darkness I saw the light
I just knew I had to fight

Often I was in desperate need for inspiration
My childrens' faces my only motivation

Dear God… I pray, please keep me strong…
on this lonely road that seems so long

It took a long time to hear the birds sing
Only a distant memory the joy they used to bring

Every day better than the one before
Finally I'm on the road to healing once more

Slowly I rose like a phoenix from the ashes of my past
Confidently I shine my light knowing it will last


Arriving with waery eyes, full of pain
Doubting if there is anything to gain

Here for broken spirits to heal
Everyone with different problems to deal

Day by day seeing masks disappear…
Exchanged with hope that lives will be back in gear

Being part of a family
Bound by shared struggles for eternity

A kind of love stronger than fate
Forgotten all the troubles and hate

We share laughter and tears
Make memories that will last for years

Do not despair

When the road you are trudging on seems uphill

When income is low and debts are high

When all hope is lost and thoughts become suicidal

Don't Despair

As there is a flicker of hope in the hour of darkness

Okonguarri is the place of hope for the hopeless

Where you become one with the wilderness

Where you find yourself

But it has once again become time

To leave your protective shield

To go out in the jungle

And to deal with my demons

But Don't Despair

As the loving and caring arms of Okonguarri

Will always be there for the hopeless, the helpless

And those who need solace


Deep in the bush
Where all is peaceful and calm
A place where your soul
Can come to no further harm

A place where we can learn
To once again find our feet
And where we will learn
To never look into the eyes of defeat

A place where our souls
Have no stress or worries
This magical place I call

My Silent Prayer

Looking in the mirror, what do I see?
A stranger that used to be me

Scared that this is one of my dreams
Life is not always what it seems

Hesitantly I feel a glitter of hope
Desperately I'll take any piece of rope

Slowly I see her strength growing stronger
Gladly this darkness will not last much longer…

Finally I will be free
My silent prayer while I'm on my knees


When I first came to Okonguarri, I was broken.

I hated myself for not understanding the way I felt and for not knowing things I thought I ought to have known.

When I was on the bus on my way to Okonguarri, all I could think about was cancelling the whole trip but something inside of me wouldn't let me, and I thank God that I stayed on.

Surrounded by strangers in a stringe place, it smelled like a cocktail for disaster. For the first two days I felt like sheep surrounded by wolves that were just waiting to go on the attack.

I slowly started opening up to the situation that I had placed myself in. I began to engage myself in verbal contact with my fellow patients and as I did that, I felt a bit of the heavy feeling on my heart fade.

As time passed I grew to love the place and people that had at first terrified me.

Okonguarri as a whole has created a space within my being, it provoked a desire to live again. It has created a thirst within myself to for self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

Okonguarri has given back to me a gift that life had robbed me of and it's my love for English and it has also shown me a way to express myself and my emotions; something that I have in the past found very difficult to do.

I know that this is just the beginning. I know that I have a war that awaits me, a war for my happiness. But Okonguarri has given me the weapons I need to fight this war.

One of my newly found friends once said "Okonguarri can take you to the water fountain but it is up to you whether you drink or deprive yourself of it.

I will leave Okonguarri as a woman with a mission and a great story to tell. I look forward to my next visit and I am confident that the woman that leaves these gates will not be the same woman that returns.

I will return a stronger woman.

Thank you Okonguarri for being patient with me, for teaching me things about myself that I have lost along the way.

Your beauty and tranquility has given me some of the most precious moments in me entire life.

Tank you my sweet haven.

Feb. 2013


This place is new to me

It's different

It's strange

It's Okonguarri

Everyone here has some sort of problem

As addiction

A burden

Something that bothers them

Everyone here is one big family

There's love

There's kindness

It's a second home, you see

Everyone here has some sort of trait

The loud one

The quiet one

The one who's always late

There's a reason we are here

We need help

We need care

We need to shed a tear

And when we leave, we'll be better

Ready to go

Ready to conquer

Ready to start a new chapter

Jul. 2014

Okonguarri Poem

With the break of dawn, I'm no pawn.

I strech, and scratch, and give a thankful yawn

But I feel I'm a wet fish, and my legs kill me,

with willpower, anything is possible/

As the sun sets, while I'm in the wilderness,

my legs fail me to compete.

Yes, they are also reaching their willpower.


I left my lungs and g-string behind

The sand, the stones, the wind, the breeze, are all so powerful,

they bend your knees.

The thought of snakes caught me on the way, causing my steps far apart,

but my heart's at bay.

I thank my God for health to play, for He's the one to make me play.

I walked through the path on my own, scared; I wished I was not born

I just heard my lungs screaming and almost fell out.


It shows what a team can do if you work together.

My lungs were burning, my legs paining,

I kept pushing not to let my team down.


So what?

Couldn't actively, enjoyed passively...

Great seeing you guys, competing, laughing...


Dream hill - Blaar - Bushman Art - paths so different

Wishing all to find their path into the future, and to happiness.

Though my butt and legs still aches,

the challenge was meaningful and the memories great.

I did not take part,

But I was in it, with each person, with my whole heart.

...so the day ends...

Aug. 2011

Why is it?

Why do I love so easily?

And get hurt so easily?

Why is it?

Why do I get stressed so easily?

When I can't get what I want?

Why can't I get over a lost love?

No matter how hard I try to forget

Why having bad friends?

And pushing away the right ones?

Why is it?

Why do I look for love in the wrong places?

And always avoid the right places?

Why keep on pushing myself for what I should have done?

Over and over again

Where do I start>

Where do I go?

Dec. 2013


Never imagined I would take this route. Oh, I hated it very much.

Never imagined I could fall in love, so deeply, with a place so unknown to me. And its mankind.

Never imagined that for the first time ever, on the soil of this great place, I coudld find lasting happiness!

It's like falling in love for the first time ever, and not want to let go!

Never imagined that I could have a second chance at life, I'm going to take that chance and never let go!

Never imagined that I could say goodbye, it's so sad; but so sweet; cause I will be back soon for sure!

Dec. 2013

Weg van Okonguarri

Mag my hart se wand

sterk staan teen seerkry.

Mag my glimlag van liefde straal,

want ek is nou sterker

as die oer-oue ysterklip -

met omgee gegrafeer.

My grensdrade opnuut gespan,

ek is nou in beheer

van my lewensfees.

Rustig onder Mopani blare is my trane begrawe.

Feb. 2017

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