Pensioner of the Month

Hermien de Weever-Bhagwandas

In Pensioner of the Month, we ask pensioners about retired life. Was it everything they expected? And what can they teach us about our days to come?

In this edition, we meet up with Hermien de Weever-Bhagwandas, who at 70 years old, climbed up the Himalayas.

Having been a primary school teacher at Sister Magda School for the last 16 years of her career, Hermien de Weever-Bhagwandas retired at 62. ‘It was a revelation for me that I could, for the first time in my life, wake up with my husband a have a cup of coffee in peace.’

Hermien’s now late husband was a born Sint Maartener and the couple moved back to the island in 1999. They met in the seventies when Hermien was a teacher at the Oranjeschool.

‘I miss my husband very much, but I also enjoy my personal time now that I am on pension. I always say to my friends: pension is your time – you finally have the time to do things just for you. Embrace that gift.’

‘Pension is your time – you finally have the time to do things just for you. Embrace that gift.’

Hermien is a living example of the above philosophy. At 70 years old, she goes to the gym, hikes, plays tennis, and practices yoga and meditation. ‘Practicing sports was always important in my family. My late husband taught me how to play tennis and I am still grateful to him for that – look what it has brought me; my health, friends, and just loads of fun.’ 

Preparing for the Himalayas
‘If God spares you life in good health, there is hardly anything you cannot do. When I was planning to go to the Himalayas with my brother, people would call me crazy. But I know my body, I know what it can do. I hike several times a week here on the island, I have a lot of experience hiking in Surinam, and my personal trainer in the gym prepared me very well for the trip.’

Hermien’s physical fitness is as important to her as her mental health. To find inner peace, she visits Ashrams in Nepal and India. ‘It is important for me to get out of the hustle and bustle of daily life from time to time. At the ashrams, life is very basic and most of all quiet. I find that I really recharge during these times of quiet reflection.’

A word of advice for future pensioners from Hermien: ‘Find your passion and enjoy it to the fullest. Give yourself that purpose to get up in the morning and follow that passion. It will keep you fit and happy if you do so.’

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