Today is the day. It’s time to say it out loud. I am a little nervous about posting this blog. I keep browsing through old photo’s that I took in Tanzania a couple years ago. East Africa. It’s getting real again. Goodbyes are getting closer. Preparations more intense. I have been teasing readers of my blog a couple times already. I don’t want to postpone the news any longer. It’s time to share more about the adventure that is coming up with you all. In a couple weeks I am going to move to a new country for a year and start my working life as an aid worker. More specifically I am moving to Uganda to work as trainee Program Adviser for a year. A new phase, a new adventure and whole new life is waiting for me.

I have known this for a while now. I even applied for this graduate program last year after finishing my thesis. But then they couldn’t place me directly. Right now I can only be grateful for the extra time it gave me to relax and unwind after getting 2 degrees in less than 5 years. The whole rollercoaster I am in now started in January somewhere. A first conversation. Some time to think, pray and process. More interviews and conversations. With different people ranging from local staff to close friends and family. Decisions to be made. I struggled with the life I just started in Utrecht. I have a job I am truly excited about and I feel like I am growing and learning, yet this job is beyond what I expected and fits even more with what I studied for.

So I made a decision. To leave. Again. That is how it feels for some people. It’s hard to understand that I am going to another country again, when I just moved to another city. But most people around me have been incredibly supportive. They see my eyes light up when I talk about the work and the organisation. They immediately feel that this is the right thing to do, even though a year apart seems quite long. Today I said goodbye to a whole group of people that I won’t see anymore before leaving. One by one. Not a lot of tears, but mainly smiles and honest interest in the adventure that lies ahead. After all, missing people is part of loving people.

Even though I am going for a next step in my career, it feels like an adventure too. A new country, new people and a new job is all very exciting. I can’t wait for it all to start, even if I have no exact ideas yet of how the days will look like. And that’s okay too. I will discover what I will be doing in the next year day by day and hopefully you will discover that with me as I intend to keep writing in one way or another.

So the details of working and living in Uganda will be gradually discovered. My daily activities will become clearer in the next few weeks. For now, I do want to share a little bit on what ZOA is all about and why I am so excited to start my career in this field with this organisation. I grew up with this organisation and remember the pepernoten in December. A annual fundraiser in our local church that everyone knows. Something with refugees and emergency aid, that’s all I knew about the content for a long time. Until I started to learn more about the wide variety of development cooperation that exists in the Netherlands and beyond. ZOA’s mission can be summarised in three simple key words:

We provide RELIEF to people affected by conflict or natural disasters. We contribute to a new perspective of HOPE in which people work together for a promising future in dignity and mutual trust. Together with the affected communities we work on the RECOVERY of their livelihoods.

And that is only the beginning. Through the next few blogs I am hoping to introduce more of the work of ZOA to you and to tell you more about what I am going to be doing in Uganda. For now, I am going to finish my blog with a smile and a deep breath of air. It’s finally out in the open. If everything goes according to plan I will be moving to a new country soon. It means a time of goodbyes, but also of incredible growth and opportunity ahead. It means that I will have a direct impact in the famine due to natural disasters, climate change and mostly wars in the East African region. It means that I will be challenged and will have to go through intense processes of learning and adaptation.

And I am taking you with me on yet another chapter of this crazy, but beautiful life. You will be able to follow my journey where ever you are, since I already committed to sharing everything about this year of being 24. Maybe I’ll make adjustments in my writing, if so I’ll carefully explain those choices, but I will continue to write for sure. I want to share this adventure with you. All of you. No matter what will happen tomorrow, today with all the sunshine as well as the tears, is enough on its own. Maybe that’s the number one lesson that I have learned from writing so far. Each day is enough on its own. Each day is worth living for. All of us have a chance to live a hopeful life. Every single day.

More information about ZOA