Picture us: a kind-hearted, socially minded couple, until 2016 living in ‘the cheese town’ of The Netherlands, Alkmaar. A couple, both around fifty, with various skills and working experience in profit and non-profit organisations.
We really love to travel around the world, are extremely interested in what occupies people and are touched by other cultures. In September 2015 our world turned upside down! We got ourselves in a rollercoaster of emotions, meetings and heart-warming impressions, all leading to our decision to live and work in Malawi, Africa!
From our childhood days it has been our dream to make a meaningful contribution to a development area. After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 we first set foot on this path. An unforgettable and impressive experience, leading to our conclusions that this was what we wanted to do more of.
And then, suddenly, there is this recruitment advertisement: “Project managers in Malawi”. We started ‘Googling’ on Malawi, we bought a map, read about comments and experiences. Meanwhile our heart was beating faster and faster….Is this really happening? For us it felt like ‘the puzzle was completed’. Maybe the word that describes this best is: Homecoming!
We are deeply impressed by everything Floor and Jan - together with the local employees, and of course the fundraising volunteers, contributors and the committee of the foundation in The Netherlands – have build here.
What we see is a well considered and solid organisation with a vision of the future. We see colourful, concerned people and of course ‘our’ 80 children. The project, beautifully situated at the stunning coast of Lake Malawi, halfway between Mzuzu and Karonga, really is a litter paradise on earth.
While being very enthusiastic about our adventure, at the same time there is an awareness about the dark sides of Malawi: poverty, famine, high death rates and also there are great differences between the Malawian values and habits and our Dutch (to?) well organised and efficient way of life.
So we realise that for us this is a life changing event, an unpredictable adventure. And there will be times we will be wondering why in earth we got ourselves into this new life.
Although being very enthusiastic about our plans, at the same time there is awareness of the ‘dark side’ of Malawi: poverty, famine and high death rates. We also have to deal with Malawian values and habits, very different to what we were used to in a (to) well organised and efficient country like The Netherlands. So we realise all too well that this for us is a life changing event. This adventure is unpredictable. From time to time we will wonder why we got ourselves into this.
But we are full of confidence and feel privileged to be selected to continue this project Floor and Jan started to the best of our ability.
Andre en Pien