Fighting against ALS:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease causing all muscles to weaken to the point of getting paralyzed as nerve cells which are essential in the communication between brain and muscles, die. Anyone can get ALS. There is no cure and the cause is unknown. Patients get paralyzed, lose the ability to speak, eat and breath, resulting in death on average 3 to 5 years after the first symptoms.
If you want to support us in our fight against ALS, please e-mail us.
Unfortunately my mother has been diagnosed with this horrid disease in 2011. Sadly, she passed away in October 2016 after five years of fighting for a cure, taking part in research, and raising funds and awareness. Saying goodbye to daily things which seem so normal for a healthy person, she has learnt how to adapt and deal with all the limitations constantly and has always done this with a smile.
Fortunately my mum was a fighter and she did not fight alone. She motivated many to participate in various fundraising activities: the Amsterdam City Swim, the Tour du ALS up the Mont Ventoux in France… Together with friends, my mum handcrafted thousands of napkin bowls, organised benefit dinners… Her persistency and everlasting smile has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Euro’s raised for research. Unfortunately, it was too late for her as the monster ALS killed her merciless. We are continuing her fight, with initiatives such as kayaking for freedom.
Best regards from far has lost its most grateful reader and biggest fan. Writing about fascinating places as we do, she will always be with us as she has supported our work so strongly. We will continue to inspire and take those who cannot travel around this precious planet.
After volunteering myself for several months in South Africa, I have become extremely cautious about the volunteering projects that are sold to idealistic westerners. The whole volun-touring concept seems to be more a successful business model from which people in need, or animals, or ecosystems hardly benefit. As we are committed to make an impact, if you are interested in genuine volunteering projects, click here: these people need your help!
South Africa, December 2004. I slowly slide the sticky rubber gloves around my hands. I must follow this procedure before I am allowed to lift the crying hopeless one-year old baby from its bed that looks like a cage. I can’t see whether this child is a boy or a girl. This poor little creature stops crying as soon as I hold it in my arms to walk outside the room in this hospice as the stench of human feces is hard to bear. I look the kid in the eyes, and meet death. The child, too weak to make more noise rests its head on my shoulder, breathing fast. With my hand on its back I feel the lungs cracking, the kid breaths way too fast. My eyes fill with tears. Merely weighing two kilograms, my index finger and thumb close easily around its thigh… Soon this kid will die, and I realise that we live in a world full of unfairness where knowledge, food, and money should be shared more in order to put an end to this suffering. People close their eyes to this, but today my eyes meet the eyes of this baby and this hits me violently. The baby falls asleep on my shoulder, it leaks moist out of its blisters on its face which touch my skin. Death will follow soon for this orphan fighting against AIDS, born that way, mother ill herself.
I have seen death in the baby’s eyes, and made up my mind that I would save up money to return within 5 years. To do as much as possible which still seems nothing reflecting back, a drop of water in an ocean of orphans in South Africa who lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS.
South Africa, January 2009. I have kept my word. I arrive at the Agape orphanage, close to Durban for a two-month volunteering project to take care of orphans from 0 to 18. I could write a whole book about all the surprises and frustrations I came across. Like most volunteering projects sold to idealistic westerners, it took a few years only before Agape closed down. I still believe I have made an impact setting up a most needed dental program and funding a psychological support for abused children for a whole year. Still…
Environment & economy:
For both environmental and economic reasons, we pay a specific attention to favouring local companies and locally-grown food wherever we are. Overall, we merely think to whom we give our money when we spend it so that it supports the local economy as much as possible.
We think that when you get to know something, you want to protect it. Our goals is to use the outdoors to showcase the beauty of nature and its fragile balance, and to raise the awareness about local populations and their struggles. This way, through sustainable tourism they can become a defender of nature, often their most precious resource for the long term instead of leveraging it for the short term gain.