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“Africa is still a magnet”

“Africa is still a magnet” “Africa is still a magnet”

Celeste van Rinsum (22), a Dutch master’s student of Health Education and Promotion who has seen 5 per cent of the world.

“In between my bachelor's and my master's, I spent two months in Kenya. I had always wanted to go to Africa. The first month, I did voluntary work and the second month I travelled around the country. I was glad that I had worked there first, because this meant that I knew the country a little. You get to see what goes on behind the scenes, what the real situation is in a country.

“I worked for an organisation that provides health education. I visited the slums and worked in an orphanage. I went there with the idea that I could really help, but in the end you do it mostly for yourself.  The second month, I travelled around Kenya. The countryside is magnificent. I saw three of the ‘Big Five’, elephants, buffaloes and hippopotamuses.

“Most people are quite hard up. I first stayed with my boss and later on with a host family. They were reasonably well-off, but even they had no water or electricity at times. Then we would have to shower using water from a bottle and eat by candlelight. In the evenings, we talked a lot about Kenya and the Netherlands. You adapt quickly. Incidentally, you also quickly become adapted again to the luxury here.

 “I don’t necessarily need to go back to Kenya, I didn’t fall in love with the country. But Africa is still a magnet for me; maybe I will go to Uganda or Tanzania. The countryside is so beautiful and the people are so sincere. Especially the children. Sometimes in the bus I would suddenly feel something in my hair. That would be a child who just wanted to see how it felt, really funny.

“I am becoming more and more travel-mad. Until I made that journey, I had mainly seen parts of Europe. I also spent three months doing a traineeship in Sweden, but the cultural difference there was not as great. The Netherlands will always be my base, but I wouldn't mind a job that involves a lot of travelling.”



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