Student - September 5, 2019

‘Mister caretaker, hair is growing on my wall’

Roelof Kleis

Eugene van Meteren sometimes feels like a globetrotter in Wageningen. A trip to tropical Asia and back within an hour is a breeze for the Idealis caretaker.

Eugene van Meteren works for Idealis as a caretaker. He writes about his experiences for Resource.

‘Early in the morning I get a call from a Hoevestein resident who is in tears. Judging from her accent she is from Asia. I hear panic in her voice. “Mr caretaker, please come to my room, I have a big problem. Hair is growing on the wall.”

The room is full of plants, the heating is on full blast and the windows are closed

Jungle room

Scenes from horror films flash through my mind. I kindly ask her for more details. “It started with a small black spot. After a few months the spot got bigger, and when I checked it closely, I saw that hair was coming out of it.”

Ten minutes later I’m at her door. When she opens the door, I’m hit by a wall of humid heat. I see that the room is full of the most amazing plants and I can feel the heating is on full blast. It’s like being in the jungle in a hot, exotic country.

She points out the hairy spot and I immediately see what the problem is. There is a large patch of mould on the wall, created of course by the climate conditions in this jungle room. The windows are closed so the moisture has nowhere to go. Such a culture on the wall is the inevitable result.

Just like home

We discuss the cause, but she says that she likes the sultry climate in her room. “That way I feel a little bit like I’m at home with my family.” These words bring tears to my eyes. I have to solve this respectfully, that much is clear. I tell her that she should ventilate her room regularly and turn down the heating every now and then. I arrange for Idealis to remove the mould, after which we will repaint the walls at our expense.

As I go back to the office, I realize that this is what makes my work so great: behind every door is a different world. I’m actually a globetrotter in Wageningen.’