He distributes residents' letters, directs traffic, checks that all traffic signs are still there, runs errands and keeps the shack tidy. Texel resident Johan Hin is a valued member of Boskalis' temporary staff. Where necessary, he provides assistance, allowing work to continue without delay.
When asked what he does most, his answer is brief: "All kinds of things. And that covers it exactly, because 64-year-old Johan does not have a set task. 'I report just before eight in the morning and then I am told what I have to do that day. This morning I had to leave twice by car because of a flat tire and this afternoon I had to stop by the hardware store and arrange the coffee in the construction shed.' He has a great time with the Boskalis construction crew reconstructing the Postweg. 'The atmosphere is good and plenty of tall tales are told. But the language is a bit of a problem. They are all Frisians and sometimes they switch to Frisian and then I can't make sense of it,' he chuckles.
Johan was born on Varia farm on Spang, the middle one in a large farming family. When he was six weeks old, the family moved to Hoeve Iepere near De Waal, where he spent his childhood. For 38 years he worked for Agrifirm, first in the warehouse and later as a truck driver. After yet another merger of the cooperative, which operates in the agricultural sector, Johan became redundant at age 55. 'I went out with an excellent arrangement, there's nothing to be said about that. And I had a great time there.' He then worked on a temporary basis for three years at the dyke reinforcement project, which was also carried out by Boskalis. 'It was there that I came into contact with Jacob van der Heide, who is the main contractor on this Postweg project. He told me that Boskalis would probably also do the Postweg and thought it was a project for me. That's how the ball got rolling.'
Johan is a people person and sociable animal. 'I know a lot of people on Texel. In the Agrifirm days I came everywhere by truck. I like having a lot of contacts.' How many hours he works each week varies. 'One week it's 20 and the next maybe 50 hours. It's just what needs to be done. The Forest Valley team at Post Road works 40 hours in four days. No work is done on Fridays. 'I am the only one of the team who lives on Texel. If there is something on Friday or on the weekend, they call me.' Johan also checks all the roadside signs on Saturdays and Sundays. 'Especially when it's very stormy or windy, you have a lot of work to do.' Regularly he also takes his wife Neel with him on weekends. 'She likes it too, though. The other day I had to arrange something at the NIOZ harbor and then she came along too.'
One of Johan's tasks is to direct traffic during detour, such as the Hollandseweg. 'Then it is not always so useful that you know a lot of people, because then they grumble to me about the detour or drive on anyway. That's not always fun. Soberly, he continues, 'Usually they get stuck further on anyway and come driving back. Well, I had warned them.' Directing traffic also has its fun sides. 'I have already experienced three times that tourists on the way to Labora ice cream farm took an ice cream for me. When we drive back, we'll bring you ice cream, they said. I'd joke about strawberries, but they actually came back with ice cream! That's nice right?
If time permits, he likes to check out work. 'Usually I eat in the shack near the airport. Occasionally I eat my sandwiches with the guys in the mobile shack, sometimes in the car. Just how it suits. When I'm a traffic controller, I don't move from my post, because if you don't pay attention for a moment, motorists quickly slip by.'
Nice when it's done
The best thing about his work, he thinks, will soon be the end result. 'The Postweg will soon look neat again. It's a lot of work, but it's nice that it will be nice again.' After that, Johan will see what comes his way. 'I joked to Jacob: then you just carry on with Hollandseweg and Hoofdweg. By the time those are finished, I'll be ready to retire!