Willem & Wendy getting ready for a new adventure with Tearfund in Iraq

Willem & Wendy working with Tearfund - new adventure

Yes! The new adventure starts, you could read more about it a couple of weeks ago, but now we are really ready… First we had a lovely time with our direct family in the Netherlands and visiting our community Perspectief. And now, after almost two weeks of briefings at the headquarters of Tearfund in London, we leave tonight via Turkey to Iraq: our new home for the coming two years. We realise that this will be an immense challenge and undertaking, but we feel extremely relaxed, energetic and blessed by our ‘Papa’. We look forward to it.

There is a lot we want to share, but we cannot always share it. That is why some updates will be more general and will have no details. This is in regards to the safety of the programme, ourselves and our local colleagues. But we are able to tell a little bit more of what we will be doing.

Which adventure are we taking with Tearfund?

Tearfund works in different locations in Iraq where we bring aid to the returning refugees (returnees) who return to their former ‘homes’. We work with cash-programming (so that people can spend where most urgent), water & sanitation projects, psychosocial and peacebuilding programmes. More details will follow later, when we’ve seen it in action ourselves.

What will we be doing? 

Willem is Iraq response director. This is just as his former job in Nepal the same as Country Director: responsible for the programme in Iraq, the strategy, the security, and thousand and one more things. Fortunately he’s a star in delegating, so don’t worry :-).

Wendy is Grants & Information Coordinator. She will coordinate the grants of institutional donors (the biggest donor is currently OFDA/USAID). With this coordination she will be a spider in the web for collecting information, making reports and proposals and keep an eye on the timelines and she will also be involved in information coordination.


Getting to know Tearfund: 
Briefings at headquarters: 
Bags packed: 
Checked in: 
Ready for take off to our new adventure!

Want to know more about Iraq?

We can of course write a whole story about Iraq, but you can find quite some information online. For example on Wikipedia. 

Thanks for your support! We’ll write more soon…

Did you know that London has a lot more to it than the sight seeing of old buildings and monuments in the city? We have seen a whole different side this time: Richmond Park. This is also London:

Deer in Richmond Park in London - het begin van ons avontuur

Find the deer, there are quite some 🙂

Wendy in Richmond Park in London - het begin van ons nieuwe avontuur


Balancing on a tree-trunk - difficult to travel roads

Difficult, difficult, difficult. During our holidays we laughed out loud when we heard the song of Dutch comedian Brigitte Kaandorp: I have a very tough life (sorry only in Dutch). But at the moment, there’s not much to laugh about if you look at the situation in the world and a lot of people are in real difficult and very tough circumstances. A lot of people have a very tough life. I cried a lot a couple of times. But despite my compassion that might be good because at least I can still feel anything, people need more of my action.

A quote from our colleague…

My colleague Elisabeth Ahlquist worded it beautifully, so I won’t take effort to write something myself, but I will just quote her:

‘This is one of those weeks when each day seems like an onslaught: Hurricane Irma (which has Haiti in its sights, a nation still rebuilding from March’s devastating hurricane); the brutality of the Myanmar military on the Rohingya; Trump’s rescission of DACA; N. Korea and it’s hydrogen bomb tests; publication of studies revealing micro-plastics in our water; wildfires raging; civil wars continue in South Sudan, Syria, DRC, and Yemen; millions forcibly displaced from their homes due to violence and insecurity; 20 million people are threatened by man-made food emergencies…

It’s a real cluster cuss and sometimes hope seems hard to hold. But I cling to hope on behalf of those taking the full force of the onslaught.’

How do we bring hope and change?

That is what we have to do. Cling to hope and think about how we can give hope to the people in these extremely difficult circumstances. What can you do? Do you give time in prayer? Or by stabbing your hands dirty? Do you give some of your money to organisations that bring hope in these circumstances? Do you give your heart? Dear people, sometimes the situation is overwhelming and we cannot take this any longer. But please, promise me we won’t forget them all. Take one of those situations in your heart and support them in a way that is possible for you. Let’s bring hope!

Fortunately there are also a lot of good things happening. Like here in Nepal: So it’s about time for a few new blogs.
To stick with the word ‘difficult’ we will show you something in this blog about the difficult roads we travel in Nepal. A challenge, but nothing we can’t overcome.

For about 160 kilometer, we driver about seven or eight hours

The roads in Nepal to our project are a challenge. Especially when it rains and storms, but even if it’s dry, the potholes are quite a trial. The route is only about 160 kilometers, but we take about seven to eight hours to get there! Below you’ll find two small video’s of the potholes (who don’t show that well – you just had to be there actually) in the road. Oh and holding my phone is also a challenge in itself… :-).

The next video might show it even better…

Hiking for hours in the difficult to reach areas

When we arrive at the outskirts of the project, we have to hike for hours sometimes from the one cluster of houses to the other. For me this feels like ‘holidays’ because the area is beautiful, but if you do this day in, day out in all kind of weather circumstances like rain and cold, to reach the most vulnerable, than that is very tiring and difficult. And I have the utmost respect for my colleagues who work there.

Do you see the beautiful environment? It’s great, but there are no roads that you can reach by car… our colleagues do everything by foot! Respect. Now the sun was shining, but they are also going when it’s freezing cold or when it rains. Do you see the blue roofs? Almost all of them are new, earthquake resilient homes. Can you imagine seeing this makes us extremely happy? We may support a full village to built earthquake resilient homes. And a village is a lot more of those hills. 1,263 houses in total. You only see about 15 to 20 in this picture… can you imagine? 🙂 Almost 200 are finished now!

You can see the beautiful but difficult to reach areas. See the blue roofs? Those are Medair earthquake resilient houses. All respect for the staff as there are no roads for cars to reach those houses, everything is done on foot. You can see the beautiful but difficult to reach areas. See the blue roofs? Those are Medair earthquake resilient houses. All respect for the staff as there are no roads for cars to reach those houses, everything is done on foot.

And then there are the slippery bridges that consist of a tree or if you’re lucky two tree-trunks. The steep slopes, the many leeches during the rainy season that stick to your skin and try to get your blood. Respect… a lot of respect for my colleagues.

You can see the beautiful but difficult to reach areas. Crossing a river on just a slippery tree is just one of the challenges. All respect for the staff as there are no roads for cars to reach those houses, everything is done on foot.