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Catharina en Foday

I am Catharina Nicolaas and I am 50 years old. I have been working as a nurse for 33 years, the last 11 years in mental health care. In April 2019 I went to Gambia for a vacation. I became acquainted with the locals and soon understood why Gambia is called "the smiling coast of Africa". The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world, but despite that the people are happy and happy with few. Healthcare cannot be compared to our well-designed healthcare systems. On the way I saw a sign along the road with the name Tanka Tanka, psychiatric hospital. My interest was immediately aroused. During this vacation I decided that I will make my dreams come true. I always want to work abroad and share my knowledge and skills with others. At home I started searching the internet for more information about the Tanka Tanka hospital. I came in contact with the support tanka tanka foundation in the Netherlands. I presented them with my ambitions and plans and suggested that I myself visit the hospital for an orientation and later let me know what I could possibly do.

In June 2019 I went to Gambia for the second time. Of course I visited the hospital. This was a wonderful experience. I felt very welcome and had nice conversations with the staff present. I also spoke with the manager. We have exchanged experiences and I have been able to ask all my questions. After a long tour, where I got a good impression of psychiatric care and had conversations with different disciplines, I spoke with the manager about the support I wanted. They would like to use my knowledge and skills. I will train the professionals in giving group therapy with the aim of shortening the admissions of the patients and quickly putting them back in their own strength. This allows them to go home faster to take care of their family again. After a few hours I left with a satisfied feeling, but not before we had provided all patients with soft drinks and various delicacies. I tried to give everyone some personal attention by giving them a hand, a smile or a short chat. I would have liked to stay for hours. With many new impressions, beautiful plans and full of energy left for my apartment.


Treats for the patients

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Hand out together

Once at home I started making plans. The way things are now, I am going to Gambia for three weeks at the end of October. In the meantime, I contact the manager and one of the nurses who studied HBO Nursing just like I did. A man with passion and beautiful ideas who would like to work with me.


Catharina Nicolaas