Behind the scenes - afspraken op inspirerende locaties. Willem & Wendy

Behind the scenes - afspraak bij de Kamer van Koophandel gemaakt

Behind the scenes. – The last week before we go back to the Netherlands has arrived. This means: a lot of handovers and here and there some last minute stress. But it also means: looking forward to what is to come. Especially the holiday at the moment: – rest – walking – enjoying each other – and more rest. And secretly we are already preparing for our own company during the weekends. Bit by bit we will share more with you.

What are we doing?

What is involved in setting up our own business? Willem and I have made a whole schedule with actions. This states what we all need to think about and the steps that need to be taken. Of course, we first brainstorm about what we are going to do exactly, what our goal is and how we will make a difference. We determine our target group and find out what is really needed and how we can respond to this. We have many conversations at different inspiring locations … What a privilege!

Behind the scenes - vele brainstormgesprekken op veel inspirerende plekken.

Name, logo and branding

All these ideas may also be put on paper or online…: Website, brochure, e-mail. Our target group must know what they will choose, even if they do not yet know us personally! Of course we also think about the name of our company. We will release the name in February. And about who can bring that into shape by coming up with a logo. Meanwhile we have had a lot of wonderful responses from great designers. It will be difficult to choose, but next week we will make a decision! It will be difficult that we have to disappoint some designers, but their wonderful work will be noticed by someone else. We will probably fill in part of the branding as well, because I think it’s way too much fun to play around with Adobe Spark and Lightroom and so on. Hobby-time! Our talented cousin Joel will take care of the website again with his company Succeswebsites, because with this website he has delivered top-work.

On schedule and arranged…

√ Appointment registration into the Netherlands / Nijkerk again.
√ Buy a car
√ Appointment accountant
√ Complete registration form Chamber of Commerce
√ Holidays booked
√ Appointment registration Chamber of Commerce
√ Appointment for opening new bank account
And much more…

Exciting and fun at the same time! We are looking forward to it!

2018 in a nutshell: Willem & Wendy brainstorm session

2018 in a nutshell. Above: Willem & Wendy having a brainstorm session about starting up their own company after an interesting and highly intense year with Tearfund in Iraq.

I can still hear Wendy say ‘We really have to post a blog soon…’. A few weeks later the same message comes from me and so we continue to follow each other without picking up a pen. We have only posted two blogs and the first was in February of this year. But now, dear friends.. in the last weeks of this year.. of our period in Iraq.. as an employee of Tearfund it’s finally there.. 2018 in a nutshell: A blog!


Sometimes I hardly dare to write. Feeling guilty about the fact that we have been so quiet. In the first six months in particular, we were socially rather antisocial. In 2017 I often prayed for a new challenge. Well, let me tell you one thing… Beware of what you pray for. Because we have gotten that challenge! And how!

Unique challenges and lots of change

To start with: We are doing well. We are tired but satisfied. Feel healthy again both physically and mentally. Can exercise frequently, eat healthy and live in a beautiful apartment two minutes walk from the office. We have devoted the majority of the past year and the hours spent in a day, to work, work and more work. Of course we knew that when we left for Iraq with Tearfund, that we would work a lot and that there was a big challenge awaiting us. However, we did not expect that there would be so much to do! The amount of changes that have been made in one year have been unique for us (and believe me, we are quite used to change).


The challenge with emergency aid projects is not just about the fact that you may have to live in dangerous places. That it’s freaking hot or just as cold as ice. You have to deal with rules that can make life very complicated. And where everything around you constantly changes. There is more… For example, finding qualified people who want to serve in a country like Iraq. The impact of a lack of employees means that you sometimes have to perform multiple roles for too long a period. In addition, you have the non-stop personnel changes going on around you. On average people do not stay for seven years, but only for about one year. And there are many different and understandable reasons for this.


The program in Iraq is Tearfund’s largest project. When the situation escalated with ISIS in 2014, Tearfund came to Iraq and in four years the organisation in Iraq has grown from nothing to a $ 10 million portfolio with around 110 employees. The team worked very hard to serve people in Iraq through CASH, Livelihoods, Protection, Social Cohesion, NFI and WASH projects in various places in Iraq including Mosul and Kirkuk.


2018 has been a year of continuous change but also a year of stabilization. A year in which we switched from a top-down to a bottom-up mentality. Having grown enormously in terms of capacity. Working as a team on a five-year strategy for Iraq. Helping more than 30,000 people… A year in which… you know… I can continue to write but how can you process almost 1 year in 1 blog? This would be a story in a nutshell. So in short: a lot of nuts have been cracked!


When you go through a phase of intense stress and continuous change, there are also those moments when you withdraw from it all. Taking rest and reflecting on all of what happened is crucial. Such moments can even lead to new dreams… and for those who know us a bit, we do not like to keep it with only dreaming. We dare and do. And that has led to something new. News that may be a surprise to many of you (maybe we apologize again for our non-social behaviour). This news is the same reason to make a blog or vlog again soon because we might have stirred up the curiosity…

Are you ready? We will come back to the Netherlands from January for a longer period and to start up our own company. More information soon.

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


Breaking News – part we already gave away above, but if you want to know the full message and see us in it? Watch the movie now. Even though it was not an easy decision, we decided to leave Medair after seven years…. what??? Yes! This is the announcement. Where will we go? And with whom? And when? Find it all in the movie…

This is breaking news – but what exactly will you be doing?

This is all information we will give for now, as we will first enjoy some Christmas holiday with our family, but more information will follow shortly after! Once more, because we are getting closer and closer – merry Christmas and a great start of the New Year.

If you are still thinking about sharing your blessings at the end of the year with the most vulnerable. Please share this story with people around you so that their voices are being heard, or contribute financially to Medair, or pray. Thank you so much.