Asking for help

Recently I was traveling back home by train. At the station in Breda a man started talking to me. He asked if he could travel with me as he had a ticket to travel for free together with someone who had a valid ticket. I said that I was fine with it. He was very polite, telling me that he didn’t want to disturb me in any way; I should choose where I wanted to sit and he didn’t want to disturb me by talking to me if I didn’t want to. However, I liked to have some company, and as we sat on the train we continued talking. He lives in Dordrecht, works as a haptonomist and was passionate about theatre and city trips. He told me about his daytrip through the Netherlands that day and how he met different people on different trains. We spoke about our work and I told him about my company and the idea of cultural exchange.

As he left the train in Dordrecht he thanked me for allowing him to travel with me. I thanked him in return for the nice conversation, but also for asking me for help.

The Netherlands is a very individualistic country, like most countries in the Western world. Sometimes it seems as if we have blinkers on. We learn to take care of ourselves and to be independent. We don’t need to ask for the way, we use our own map or phone instead. We don’t need to ask a question, we will search for it on the internet. We don’t need to ask someone to take a picture for us, we will use our “selfie-stick”. We don’t want to rely on others or be dependent on them. It seems as if we like to be in control and don’t like to make ourselves dependent. By doing that, we would make ourselves vulnerable in some way. Also, many people don’t want to be indebted to another person. As a reaction to this development a Dutch platform “Durf te vragen” (dare to ask) was developed. The platform encourages people to ask a question and to be able to help each other in that way. A good step, because offering help on the other side can be rewarding. It makes us feel good if we can offer help to someone. But for that, someone needs to ask first. So dare to ask!

When I was in Uganda last May it seemed to me as if people there feel more free to ask for help. I walked on the street with a friend, when someone came towards us, opened wide one of his eyes in front of us, and asked if there was something in it, because it hurt. I couldn’t imagine this to happen in the Netherlands. Then in a taxi-bus, the Ugandan public transportation: A woman wanted to step out with some goods and her baby, which can be very tricky in the crowded and small taxi busses. She handed her baby to the male conductor, got out first and received her baby from the conductor afterwards. Another example: It happens frequently that people selling on the streets or in shops have little change and cannot give change of a bigger banknote. In that case all the surrounded shops and people are asked to change the money. A last example was whereby my friend started talking to a stranger, because his fly was open. It’s another example of how normal it is to both ask for and to offer help.

In the beginning all the offering of help made me suspicious of their intentions. When I walked on the street and asked for directions, people would accompany me for a five to ten minute walk. However, all the people I have met did this out of friendliness, without wanting anything back!

I think it would be a good thing if we could ask for help of those surrounding us more. It brings us closer to each other. An example being the man at the train station in Breda, who asked me for help. It was a nice train ride, we are still in touch through e-mail and I hope he is reading my blog as well.

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How to keep the holiday feeling

During the holiday you intensely enjoy your breakfast, a glass of wine in the sun and the beauty of nature. You decide to keep this holiday feeling for a while and to slow down a bit in the coming year. However, when someone asks you about your holidays after one week you have to think hard. The holidays seem to be long ago already. Where has the holiday feeling gone to?

The new environment during the holidays makes us more aware of our experiences. Smelling, seeing, tasting, hearing and feeling. Our senses are stimulated in a new way, which makes us enjoy the moment intensively. We see different streets, observe people with other habits and behaviour, taste special foreign dishes and smell the air of another surrounding. Back in the Netherlands we get trapped in the auto pilot again.

Do you recognize this? Are you also busy again accomplishing what is on your to-do list? In that case Mindfulness might be valuable for you. Mindfulness is about experiencing the moment with more awareness. Tasting, seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling, but with awareness instead of on the auto pilot. Exactly like during the holidays. And by doing that Mindfulness can help to enjoy the little moments more in your daily life outside the holidays. Attention is the secret behind and attention can be trained using several meditation exercises.

Are you curious about what Mindfulness can do for you? Today there will be a free Mindfulness workshop in Vroesenpark in Rotterdam. We meet at 11.30 am at Metro Blijdorp and walk to the park together. Do you already have other plans? Don’t worry, there will be two other free workshops on Thursdag 20th and Tuesday 25th of August at 7.30 pm. Please subscribe if you want to participate in the evening workshops by sending an e-mail to info@ontwikkelingswerkplaats.nl or call 0650617369. If Rotterdam is to far away and you want to practice with Mindfulness exercises yourself, please send me an e-mail and I can give you some suggestions.

Living the agenda

Last Tuesday I went to the Efteling (a Dutch theme park) with my sister. During our day out we spoke about how nice it would be to do this with all cousins, which are five in total and also with all boy- and girlfriends. It’s an idea that the five of us have for a few years now, but so far it never worked out to organize it. I thought this summer we should make it work using the website “datumprikker.nl”. For the ones who don’t know the website, it is used to add several optional dates, times and people. Every person added can match his or her personal agenda to the time options and share his/her options. The time that is convenient for all or most people can be chosen. It’s an invention for people that are busy, busy to find a common moment to spend time together. When I shared the idea with my nephew he responded that he will be busy for the coming month already.  Scheduled for a whole month already…

What is this what we are doing in the Netherlands? We are scheduling ourselves weeks ahead, not only in our work, but even in our free time. And who is familiar with the feeling of having planned something and not feeling like doing the planned activity? Even though we thought it would be nice eventually. Maybe at the moment itself we feel like doing nothing (also read my blog “sometimes it’s good to be lazy”). And worst of all, if we planned something, most of us feel obliged than to also keep to the agreements. In this way we make ourselves prisoners of our own mental representations and are at risk to live life from our heads.

During the five months I lived in Uganda I never used nor needed an agenda. Neither did my friends. In Peru I had an agenda, but I didn’t use it very often. Some, but not all people in my surrounding had an agenda, mostly for work. Here you can already see the planning that seems to come hand in hand with development (as Peru is much further developed than Uganda) OR development that comes hand in hand with planning. A Tanzanian friend once said: “If you ever come back to Tanzania please let me know and no matter what I will be there to pick you from the airport. I don’t need to schedule that, I will make time for it”. And I really saw that happen in Peru in the women shelter where I worked as a volunteer. If visitors came unexpectedly, all appointments on that day would have been cancelled and everything was “rescheduled” to receive the guests.

Now as this blog is about what we can learn from developing countries, what can we learn from them? I don’t want to state that we shouldn’t plan anything anymore. But, I have experienced how pleasant life can be without an agenda (even though I was working and had my obligations). And I’m even pretty sure, that you must have experienced this feeling as well. Do you remember some event that wasn’t planned and that came spontaneously? In my opinion those spontaneous moments are the nicest memories. Or the other way around, if you think back of some nice memories, was that moment planned?

Maybe “schedule” some “doing nothing time” and see what you feel like. Enjoy!

Please again, I’m very much looking forward to read your reactions to my blog! As people from at least four different cultures are reading my blog, it would be nice to create some “cultural exchange” here and learn even more from each other. So please feel free! Maybe you can start by sharing your nationality and the way you use your agenda.

Start of the Ramadan

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Maandelijks schrijf ik een blog over wat wij in het westen kunnen leren van ontwikkelingslanden. Zowel in Oeganda als in Peru heb ik gezien dat religie een belangrijke rol speelt. Het is met name voor Oegandezen ondenkbaar om niet in God te geloven. In het westen daarentegen neemt de rol van religie af en lopen kerken leeg. Cijfers van het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS) uit 2012 geven aan dat 46 procent van de volwassen bevolking zichzelf als niet-godsdienstig beschouwde. In Oeganda kan men zich niet voorstellen dat iemand niet gelovig is. Tijdens mijn werkzaamheden in de HIV counseling heb ik zelf ervaren, hoeveel steun en hoop mensen putten uit religie.

Uit onderzoek blijkt dat religie positief geassocieerd is met psychologische gezondheid (Rosmarin et al., 2013) en kwaliteit van leven (Panzini et al., 2011). Verder is religie een beschermende factor in het ontwikkelen van een depressie (Miller et al., 2012) en het plegen van zelfmoord (Huguelet et al., 2007; Moreira-Almeida et al., 2006) (Paz Mosqueiro, Sica da Rocha en Pio de Almeida Fleck, 2015).

Ergens in onze westerse ontwikkeling hebben we afstand genomen van religie en ook met de rituelen die daar deel van uitmaken. Bijvoorbeeld vasten. Vasten vanuit religieuze beweegredenen gebeurt binnen de Islam, het Christendom en de Bahá’í.

Op donderdag 18 juni is het weer zo ver en begint de voor de Moslims heilige maand Ramadan. Dit betekent dat er gevast wordt van dageraad tot zonsondergang: geen eten, geen drinken (óók geen water), niet roken en geen geslachtsgemeenschap. Voor Moslims is de Ramadan een maand van bezinning en reflectie, waarin de relatie met God centraal staat. Daarnaast kan het vasten eigenschappen aanleren als discipline, uithoudingsvermogen en zelfbeheersing. En het draagt bij aan inlevingsvermogen in de armen en vergroot het respect voor de medemens en God.

Geïnspireerd door twee Islamitische vrienden heb ik in juli 2012 voor het eerst enkele dagen “mee gevast” uit nieuwsgierigheid. Dit was voor mij een erg bijzondere ervaring. Allereerst merkte ik dat mijn lichaam veel langer zonder eten en drinken kon dan ik had verwacht. “Wat eten we toch eigenlijk in overvloed” was een gedachte die regelmatig in me opkwam. Daarnaast zorgde het vasten ervoor dat ik de aanwezigheid van eten niet langer als vanzelfsprekendheid zag, maar dankbaar was voor het eten dat er elke dag weer is. Elke avond na zonsondergang, genoot ik dan ook in alle aandacht van mijn eten en drinken. Wat ik niet verwacht had, was de confrontatie met een “leegte” die het vasten letterlijk met zich mee bracht. Een collega POH-GGZ (psycholoog) zei eens over eetbuien en koopverslavingen dat deze gelijk staan aan het “wegpoetsen” van emoties. Tijdens de Ramadan merkte ik echter dat een gewone maaltijd en drinken ook een bepaalde leegte kunnen invullen. Bij het vasten wordt je dus letterlijk op jezelf teruggeworpen.

Ik ben van plan om ook dit jaar enkele dagen mee te vasten en ik kan je aanraden om ook mee te doen (behalve als je ziek, zwanger, reiziger of ongesteld bent). Bovenop de spirituele effecten en bewustwording blijkt drie dagen vasten een positief effect te hebben op het immuunsysteem, doordat het hongergevoel de aanmaak van witte bloedcellen stimuleert (http://www.ninefornews.nl/laat-je-immuunsysteem-volledig-herstellen-door-3-dagen-te-vasten/). Ook goed om te weten: in heel Nederland (en vast ook daarbuiten) worden tijdens de Ramadan Iftars georganiseerd, waar iedereen welkom is om het vasten te doorbreken. Het biedt de gelegenheid om kennis te maken met de Islamitische gemeenschap, een uitzonderlijke gastvrijheid, bijzondere maaltijden en de mogelijkheid tot uitwisseling en om van elkaar te leren!

Deel je reactie of ervaring onderaan deze blog. Dit kan door naar beneden te scrollen en te klikken op “een reactie plaatsen”. Ik kijk er naar uit om deze te lezen!

Every month I write a blog about what we in the western world can learn from developing countries. Both in Uganda and in Peru I saw that religion plays an important role in life. Especially for Ugandan people it is hard to imagine not believing in God. In the Western world however, the role of religion decreases and less and less people go to church. Statistics show that in 2012 46% of the adult population in the Netherlands described themselves as non-religious. In Uganda one could not imagine not being religious. During my work in HIV counseling and testing I experienced how much support and hope people received from their religious believes.

Research shows that religion is positively associated with psychological health (Rosmarin et al., 2013) and quality of life (Panzini et al., 2011). Besides that, religion prevents in developing major depression (Miller et al., 2012) and suicide (Huguelet et al., 2007; Moreira-Almeida et al., 2006) (Paz Mosqueiro, Sica da Rocha and Pio de Almeida Fleck, 2015).

During the process of development in the western world, we seem to have been more and more detached from religion and also from the rituals that are part of them. Here we take fasting as an example. Both in Islam, Christianity and Bahá’í faith, fasting is part of the religious perspective.

On Thursday 18th of June the for Muslims holy month Ramadan will start. Starting from this date Muslims will fast from dawn till sunset: no eating, no drinking (not even water), no smoking and no intercourse. Ramadan is a month of reflection for Muslims, in which the relationship with God has a central place. Besides, fasting can improve discipline and self-control. Also, it contributes to understanding of and empathy to the poor and increases respect for others and God.

Inspired by two Islamic friends I first fasted for some days in July 2012 because of curiosity. It was a very special experience. First, I noticed that my body can be without food and drinks much longer than I thought. “We eat an abundance of food” was a thought that passed my mind regularly in that time. Besides, I did no longer see the availability of food as normality, it made me appreciate my meals more. As a consequence I enjoyed my meals and drinks intensely and with awareness every night after sunset. What I didn’t expect, was the “emptiness” the fasting confronted me with literally. My colleague psychologist once said that binge eating and addictive shopping are ways to get rid of emotions and feel less. During Ramadan I noticed that “normal” meals and drinks can also help filling some empty space within. That means that during fasting you are thrown back to yourself literally.

This year again I plan to fast for some days and I can recommend everyone to participate as well (that is, almost everyone, as you are not supposed to fast if you are ill, pregnant, traveling or in your menstruation). On top of the spiritual effect and increased awareness, fasting appears to have a positive influence on the immune system, because it stimulates the production of white blood cells (http://www.ninefornews.nl/laat-je-immuunsysteem-volledig-herstellen-door-3-dagen-te-vasten/). Also good to know: there will be many places in the Netherlands (and probably beyond), where Iftars will be organized during Ramadan and everyone is welcomed to break fasting. It gives the opportunity to get in touch with the Islamic community, exceptional hospitality, special meals and the possibility to exchange and learn from each other!

Please share your reaction or experience on the bottom of this blog. You can do this by scrolling down and clicking on “een reactie plaatsen”. I’m looking forward to hear from you!

References:

Huguelet, Pl, Mohr, S., Jung, V., Gillieron, C., Brandt, P.Y., Borras, L., 2007. Effect of religion on suicide attempts in outpatients with schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorders compared with inpatients with non-psychotic disorders. Eur. Psychiatry, 22, 188-194.

Miller, L., Wickramaratne, P., Gameroff, M.J., Sage, M., Tenke, C.E., Weissman, M.M., 2012. Religiosity and major depression in adults at high risk: a ten-year prospective study. Am. J. Psychiatry, 169, 89-94.

Moreira-Almeida, A., Lotufo Neta, F., Koenig, H.G., 2006. Religiousness and mental health: a review. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr., 28, 242-250.

Panzini, R.G., Maganha, C., Rocha, N.S.D., Bandeira, D.R., Fleck, M.P., 2011. Brazilian validation of the quality of life instrument/spirituality, religion and personal beliefs. Rev Saude Publica, 45, 153-165.

Paz Mosqueiro, B., Sica da Rocha, N., Pio de Almeida Fleck, M. (2015). Intrinsic religiosity, resilience, quality of life and suicide risk in depressed inpatients. Journal of Affective Disorders, 179, 128-133.

Rosmarin, D.H., Bigda-Peyton, J.S., Kertz, S.J., Smith, N., Rauch, S.L., Björgvinsson, T., 2013. A test of faith in God and treatment: the relationship of belief in God to psychiatric treatment outcomes. J. Affect. Disord., 146, 441-446

 

Sometimes it’s good to be lazy

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Zaterdag 9 mei 2015

Terwijl ik deze blog schrijf, zit ik op het balkon van mijn hotelkamer. Ik ben net klaar met niets doen: kijken hoe mensen langslopen, langsfietsen, hoe boda’s (motors in Uganda) langsrijden, sommige vol beladen met goederen. Ook rijden er auto’s en vrachtwagens langs, sommige beladen met mensen in de laadklep. Op hetzelfde moment vliegen de vogels vreedzaam voorbij, terwijl ik kijk naar de lucht en de wolken. Ik kan ontzettend genieten van “niets doen”. In Nederland voel ik echter vaak de druk om iets te doen en productief te zijn, er moet altijd iets bereikt worden. Zelfs in je vrije tijd “moet” je gezellig samen zijn met vrienden, een nieuwe taal leren, sporten etc., ook al zijn dit allemaal leuke dingen om te doen. Je zou er hoofdpijn van krijgen, om een excuus te hebben om even aan alle “moetens” te ontsnappen. Dit is denk ik ook de reden waarom lichamelijke klachten, zonder lichamelijke oorzaak ontstaan. Ze kunnen je een escape bieden uit de snelheid van het dagelijkse leven.

Ik ben lerende als het gaat om tijd te nemen om te dagdromen en niets te doen, want dit is niet altijd gemakkelijk. Meestal stel ik hoge eisen aan mezelf, waarschijnlijk beïnvloed door de manier waarop ik opgegroeid ben. Woensdag had ik gepland om mijn blog te gaan schrijven, maar het lukte me niet door een gebrek aan inspiratie. Dus besloot ik om wat ander werk te doen, wat ook niet lukte omdat ik me rusteloos voelde. Een goede Oegandese vriend, die ik geïntroduceerd had in de mindfulness meditatie, merkte op “hoe kun je een Mindfulness trainer worden als je zelf gestresst bent”. Ik waardeerde zijn eerlijkheid en directheid. Deze vriend is altijd ontspannen, leeft “Npola npola” (langzaam, langzaam) zoals de meeste Oegandesen en zou in mijn ogen best iets harder kunnen werken, omdat hij zoveel meer van zijn leven zou kunnen maken (maar dat is mijn oordeel). Hij zegt echter, dat je niets af kunt dwingen en dat dingen in hun eigen tempo gebeuren. En misschien zit daar wel iets in. Daaraan wil ik wel toevoegen, dat Mindfulness NIET gaat over altijd ontspannen zijn, het is een manier van zelfreflectie, een manier om dichter bij jezelf te komen en daarmee kun je vervolgens wijzere beslissingen nemen, die je welzijn ten goede komen.

Donderdag bracht ik de hele dag door met deze zelfde vriend. Ik was verbaasd door de manier waarop hij op de bank lag te nietsen, zonder televisie of muziek. Hij lag gewoon en was aan het dagdromen. Het deed me denken aan een tekst die ik laatst had gelezen “Wie dagdroomt heeft nachtrust” (Flow). En ik denk dat dat waar is. Dagdromen is een manier om weer op te laden, een groot deel van de verwerking van indrukken gebeurt namelijk onbewust. Uit onderzoek blijkt dat beslissingen die gemaakt worden door het onbewuste vaak de beste beslissingen zijn (laat me weten als je geïnteresseerd bent in de referentie, dan zoek ik deze op bij terugkomst in Nederland). David Rock beweert hetzelfde in zijn lezing over hoe het brein werkt (youtube: David Rock – your brain at work). Volgens hem is het brein niet in staat om de hele dag door geconcentreerd te werken. Daarnaast kunnen gedachten in cirkels draaien, wanneer er een probleem opgelost moet worden, zonder dat dit tot een oplossing leidt. En misschien herken je het zelf, dat juist op het moment dat je het het minst verwacht, de oplossing opeens in je opkomt? Het probleem even laten voor wat het is, je gedachten verzetten door een wandeling te maken, wat tijd door te brengen met vrienden of collega’s of door het beoefenen van mindfulness kunnen manieren zijn om het onbewuste zijn werk te laten doen. Daarbij geldt echter, je moet de intentie om een oplossing te vinden loslaten.

Na het nietsen met mijn vriend, gingen we nog diezelfde donderdag naar het zwembad. Zonder dat ik het verwachtte schoot me ineens dit onderwerp voor mijn blog te binnen en binnen een kwartier schreef ik een conceptversie. Dus uiteindelijk denk ik dat mijn vriend gelijk heeft en we niet alles kunnen forceren en beïnvloeden. We moeten soms loslaten en erop vertrouwen dat oplossingen vanzelf komen wanneer het juiste moment daarvoor is. En tot die tijd zou ik zeggen, neem vandaag eens een paar minuten om lekker niets te doen.

Ik kijk uit naar jullie reacties!

Een hartelijke groet uit Oeganda

Saturday 9th of May

As I’m writing this blog I’m sitting on the balcony of my hotelroom. I just finished doing nothing, while staring at people passing by, some walking, others by bike or on bodas (Ugandan motorcycles), either packed or unpacked. Also cars and trucks are passing by, some with many people in the backside. At the same time I see the birds flying calmly while I’m looking at the sky and the clouds. I always enjoy this “doing nothing”. Though in the Netherlands I often feel the pressure of the need of being productive and accomplishing things. Even in your spare time you ‘should’ visit your friends, learn that additional language, do sports etc., even if these are all very pleasant things to do. However, sometimes you would wish to get a headache to have an excuse to avoid all the must do’s. And actually I think this is where physical complaints, without a physical cause come from. They could give an escape away from the speed of daily life.

For me I’m learning to give myself the dreaming and doing nothing time, though this isn’t always easy to do so. I usually set high expectations and goals to myself, probably as a result of the way I was brought up. On Wednesday I had planned to write my blog, but it didn’t work, I didn’t have the inspiration. So I decided to do some other work, but it didn’t work either as I felt restless. A good Ugandan friend, whom I taught some mindfulness meditation, commented “how can you be a Mindfulness trainer if you are stressed yourself”. I liked his honesty and directness. My friend is always relaxed, lives “Npola npola” (slowly slowly) like most Ugandans and should in my opinion work a bit harder, as he could make much more out of his life (well that is my judgment). He however says, that things cannot be forced, they will come in their own pace. And maybe there is a point in that. I want to add though, that Mindfulness is NOT about being relaxed always, it is a way to reflect on yourself, to be more in touch with yourself and based on that you could make wiser decisions that serve your wellbeing.

On Thursday I spent the day with that same friend. I was amazed by the way he could lie on the couch without doing anything, no television, no music. Just laying down and daydreaming. It reminded me about a text I recently read “who daydreams has night rest (Flow)”. And I think that this is true. Daydreaming is a way of “charging” yourself, as a lot of processing may happen unconsciously. Research has shown that decisions made unconsciously are often the best decisions (if anyone is interested in the reference of this study please let me know, currently I don’t have access to scientific research). David Rock states the same in his lection about how the brain works (you tube: David Rock – your brain at work). According to him the brain isn’t able to be concentrated and working all day long. Besides, when needing to solve a problem, thoughts tend to go around in circles, without leading to a solution. And do you recognize that at a moment less expected, the solution suddenly pops up in your mind? Leaving the problem for what it is for a moment, going for a walk, spending time with some friends or colleagues or practicing mindfulness could all be ways to let the unconscious do his work. Though, you have to let go the intention of finding a solution.

After doing nothing with my friend, we went to the swimming pool this same thursday. All of a sudden this idea for my blog popped up in my mind and within 15 minutes I wrote the concept. So after all, I think my friend is somehow right and we cannot force everything. We have to let go sometimes and expect solutions to come when it is time for them to come. In the meantime I would say, take some minutes today to do nothing.

I am looking forward to read your comments.

Warm regards from Uganda

Welcome

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Welkom op de blog van Ontwikkelingswerkplaats! Drie jaar geleden veranderde Oeganda mijn leven. Ik kwam naar Oeganda toe om vrijwilligerswerk te doen, nadat ik overspannen/ burnout was geraakt in Nederland. In Oeganda leerde ik om meer in het moment te leven en om iets van het perfectionisme en de controle die ik altijd probeerde te behouden los te laten. Dit zijn namelijk twee dingen die de Oegandezen zeer goed kunnen.

Door middel van deze blog wil ik een brug slaan tussen de “westerse wereld” en “ontwikkelingslanden”. Ik wil informeren over de levenswijze in Oeganda en andere ontwikkelingslanden, omdat ik denk dat we hiervan in het westen veel kunnen leren en omdat dit kan bijdragen aan ons welzijn. In mijn blogs zal ik geregeld een link leggen met Mindfulness, omdat Mindfulness voor mij de manier is geweest om de “lessen” uit Oeganda toe te passen in mijn dagelijks leven in Nederland. Mindfulness gaat namelijk onder andere over meer in het moment leven en beter kunnen loslaten.

Ik hoop op jullie vragen, opmerkingen en suggesties! Die kunnen mij namelijk helpen om tegemoet te komen aan jullie interesse.

Met een hartelijke groet,

Denise Jonker

Welcome to my blog! Three years ago Uganda has changed my life. I came to Uganda to do voluntary work, after being extremely stressed and burned out in the Netherlands. In Uganda I learned to live in the moment more and to let go some of the perfectionism and the control I always tried to hold. These are two things the Ugandans can do very well.

In this blog I want to create a connection between the “western world” and “developing countries”. I want to inform about the lifestyle in Uganda and other developing countries, because I think that we in western countries can learn a lot from them and because I think it will contribute to our well being. In my blogs I will regularly refer to Mindfulness, because for me Mindfulness was a way to implement the “lessons” I learned in Uganda in my daily life in the Netherlands. That is because Mindfulness is all about living in the moment and letting go more.

I hope to get many questions, reactions and suggestions from you! Those would help me to serve your interests.

Warm greetings,

Denise Jonker