this website tells about me, my adventures and who I am, but it doesn’t contain my CV; for which I gladly refer you to my Linked-In.
I’m Claire, born October 16th in Amsterdam, but raised in Bussum because I got a sister when I was 18 months old. For what I have heard I was a very talkative and curious toddler, who loved to tell stories. When I got to go to school I found out I was a real slow reader, which eventually was explained when dyslexia was diagnosed. However, this didn’t make me love school any less. I high school I choose the hardest level (VWO, which is comparable with A-levels). I had a feeling for sciences so I took those subjects, but I also took arts. I the last I even did extracurriculars; I was in the exhibition class and I joined the theatrical scenery group (of which I even have been the president).
Besides school, I like to do sports and I have tried quite some over the years. First I did field hockey as my dad did this and obvious children aged seven like what their parents do. I’ve been a goalie most of the years and liked it, but I did not like the kids I played with. Therefore I switched to rowing. I befriended easily with the other kids and had a great time, even have been a member of the club’s youth counsel and became an instructor. In the summer, when there were no practises scheduled I took summer lessons in other sports; i.a. tennis, windsurfing, sailing, golf and gymnastics.
After high school, I took a gap year to volunteer in Kenya. First I have been working and living in a widow group of 110 women. Most of them spoke little to no English and I didn’t speak Swahili nor did I speak Kikamba (their tribal language), but body language and someone to translate bits and pieces and make communication possible. The woman in the group took good care of all the eleven volunteers. My host mother was mama safi (meaning miss clean/neat/good/pretty), was the chair lady of the group and saw the volunteers as her own children and did refer to us as such. My Kikamba name was Muzenya, which I actually still use when I’m in Africa and people can’t pronounce my name.
Approximately 80km north of where I lived there was a small clinic owned ran by an American missionary couple, Gary and Pat. I visited them several times and saw what good you can do with little goods. Before I met them I thought I was going to study architecture, but there I decided I wanted to do something (technical) with medicine.
Although I liked to be with the widows I actually wished to feel needed, the woman from the group supported each other and I only felt redundant, with no life experience and no education. I thought I would feel useful in an orphanage, so I transferred to volunteer there. The children loved the volunteers and I loved them and I hope I helped them more than just tutoring.
At the end of my stay there, I made a round trip with my mom to show her the places and people dear to me and to go on a safari. I had a splendid time in Kenya, but think sending cuddle volunteers is not what will save Africa, education does!
Back home I went to university. As Technical Medicine was only taught in Enschede I moved there and soon had a group of friends there and my life transferred to my new hometown. I joined the rowing club, but could not settle there, as the attitude was rather different from what I was used to. Some of my friends did sports climbing, so I tried that and liked the sport and the club. I have done this for a while and volunteered in the club committees. After a while, an old injury reappeared and I had to lower the impact on my joints, as an idea of a friend I picked up swimming. This soon transferred to rescue swimming, which I had never done, but that did not withhold me from helping him found the rescue swimming department in de swim club. Rolling into the world of lifesaving I also became a lifeguard at the beach, probably partly prompted by my study. Within the swim club there also is a SCUBA diving department which I one day decided to join. I was addicted the moment I made my first open water dive. I found my passion and I learned as much as I could. I was interested in dive safety so I became a first aid provider and later on an instructor. Furthermore, I liked sharing my passion, so I became a dive control specialist as well.
Besides diving, I also love to travel. With my parents I made some city strip, but since I live on my own I have seen quite a few more places. I did a round trip through Scandinavia and one through Poland and the Baltic. As part of a project to get more functioning cars to Africa, I drove a van to The Gambia which is now functioning as an ambulance for a small clinic.
The next big trip will be driving from the north cape to the south cape, although I have to save some money first.