Landing at Samenspraak is like coming a full circle in my life’s trajectory. From a very early age I assisted my grandmother in facilitating family dialogues, a form of settling domestic disputes among the members of the family clan. Little did I know then, that my ‘OMA’ was teaching me to detach from another ‘OMA’- Oordelen, Mening, Advies.
My education and work journey also took me through a path where oral discussion was the main source of communication. As a student and lecturer of Sociology; as a journalist; as a women rights activist; as an ethnographic researcher and English language coach, all I did was spoke to people and listened to people.
I arrived in the Netherlands in November 2019, six months pregnant, all by myself, with a hand carry cabin bag, in my summer shoes and a winter jacket that didn’t zip up because of my baby bump. I was right away socialised into the Dutch commute culture. Train, Bus, Metro I did it all in one go, then walked a bit to report at work.
By christmas, I had moved into a rented appartment in Apeldoorn, a place I had immediately fallen in love with, the moment I stepped out of the train. There was something in the air that felt like home. I had right away decided this is home from now onwards. And like most Dutch i commuted via train to and from my workplace in Amsterdam. My husband and my son then joined me in the Netherlands and in the strict lockdown atmosphere I gave birth to my daughter on an Ikea bed (90 x 200cm) placed in what was my home office.
Having ended my work contract, I was out of job for several months. I was advised to take up voluntary work, and this is how I came accross Samenspraak. On my first day when I was riding back home, after three good hours spent at the Buurt Kamer, I had tears of joy dripping through my cheeks. The activist in me was awakened, I felt complete, I felt settled.