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by Mirjam Egger, maart 4th, 2016

Hello everyone! ;)

Tomorrow Linus, Bence, Jhoswa, Melanie and me (Mirjam :)) are going to our mid-term-training in Den Haag. I’m really looking forward to it because the others, who already were on training, told us that it had been really nice and a lot of fun.

This time I want to tell you some stories from one of our working places: “Not for Sale”.

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Not for Sale is a worldwide anti-human-trafficing organization. Here in Amsterdam they have a little store and a really cozy and delicious restaurant called “Dignita”. The crazy thing is, that the store is literally in the middle of the red light district, between the sex palace and a love boutique!

In the last few years Not for Sale in Amsterdam developed the concept of selling soups and salads to the women behind the windows in the red light district (kind of to their neighbours).
For Not for Sale it’s important to deliver healty and nutritios food to the women and maybe to have a nice chat with them. In addition to that they also offer cooking trainings to women who have been trafficed and are now living in a savehouse in Amsterdam.
rldSo actually the soup which is sold to potential victims of human trafficing helps other victims of human trafficing to get a cooking diploma. Nice concept, right?
The organization is mainly based on voluntary work, what means that all the members of the mission house have a really important, needed and diverse function in the work of Not for Sale.

We either work in the store, cut salads in the kitchen, answer the phone orders, deliver the soup from the restaurant to the store, look after children while the mothers attend the cooking training or are on the street to get the soup orders.

But working for this organization includes sooo much more than you would ever expect! Just some examples are:
Riding a huge and heavy bakfiets through the dangerous traffic of Amsterdam, burning bread in a strange microwave oven, sewing by hand courtains shorter, trying to fix a fridge that makes really loud and mysterious noises, drawing the black board in front of the restaurant or drinking hot chocolate in the sex palace, offered by the security guard!

rijksmuseum       tafel      volles bakfiets
There a lot of crazy stories to tell from our working experiences in Not for Sale! But I think we all really like to work there because we feel that our help and our different qualities are really used and valued in this project.

I hope I could give you a short view inside one of our working places. But I need to stop now because we have open meal today (with hopefully a lot of guests ;)) and the others are already preparing everything. Mmmmh it smells delicious… Eet smakelijk!
Enjoy the rest of the week!

Groetjes
Mirjam

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Mission House routine: doing a lot by Roxane Courthial, februari 15th, 2016

ts of amazing places in the Netherlands which really worth to be seen, but Amsterdam still has something special that nothing can replace.Hi everyone !

Hi everyone !

Here we are for a new post on this blog!

So much things happened these last two weeks..!

First, Pedro and me (Roxane) went on training in Den Haag, it was lots of fun but we cannot say more about it because some of the others did not have been yet and I would not like to spoil them… We came back after 3 days, glad of these days but also glad to be home again. I always have this good feeling when I go out of the metro station and see our house, “our” canal, and feel the Amsterdam atmosphere again. I know there are lots of amazing places in the Netherlands which really worth to be seen, but Amsterdam still has something special that nothing can replace.

 

I have been with my mentor to the “food soul festival” in the North of the city and… we ate and enjoyed it really much haha ! Bence also met again his mentor : they watched the Super bowl 2016 together and he came back really early in the morning. He was so brave to go to work after only 2 or 3 hours of sleep !

Joost, his girlfriend Gera, Georgia, Mirjam, Melanie, Jhoswa and me decided to go the beach a week ago and despite of the extremely agressive wind, we had an amazing day and stayed there to have dinner. The restaurant was quite strange and first, not everybody was happy with it but when we are together, we usually do not care about the conditions and at the end we all liked it!

This week end, we were invited to Hanske’s parents house with the volunteers from the World House, Inma and Flora and those from Oudezijds, Corinna and Inese. These days enabled us to reflect on our year here, professionaly and personally. So each of us did his own body map and presented it to the others. It was a deep and interesting moment. We also watched a movie from Hanske’s husband and it was a new tool to lead us to reflect.

Nevertheless, we did not only had deep activities. We also all went to bowling and I could discover how bad I was in it; but for Inese for exemple, it was a big success. It was her first time and she did really well ! Hanske and Jhoswa faught for the champion title.

This is not all, we’ve been to lasergame. None of us was used to do it and we were like children ! We felt really tired after running and hiding everywhere but a really good dinner was waiting for us and to be honnest, we ate a lot the whole week end ! Hanske and Kees-Jan took well care of us.

And I was about to forget one the biggest event these last days……….. Joost birthday ! I think he really appreciated it. We all had roles and had to simulate something. For example, Jhoswa called him, saying he was at the police station, Mirjam had to say she was in love with him, Melanie had to say she was pregnant, etc… And Joost had to deal with all this. From the beginning he guessed it was part of the surprise but it was still really crazy ! After this we had a nice party together and with some friends. We could admire and taste the birthday cake: a Snikers cake home-made by Mirjam, lekker!

 

This is pretty all that happened in the Mission House, I hope you can see through all this how happy we are to be here and to live this experience,

I wish you a good day,

Roxane

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birthdays, bingo and the opera by Georgia Whelan, januari 31st, 2016

Blog
Why hello! This is my first time writing the blog however I do believe that you may have been informed about who I am from previous blogs. (especially our first which was written by Mirjam and Pedro) For those of you who don’t My name is Georgia and I’m from England. I would like to firstly give a warm welcome to anybody reading this and hope that your week has also been a nice one.

Life in the mission house is normally filled with love and laughter and this week was no exception!! I believe that one of my favourite parts of this week was family time which was prepared by Jhoswa who decided that we would have a games night!! :} I do love games however this time was even more exciting!….. well at least for me it was as I got to bring out my own game. This wasn’t just any game. This is a hand crafted original game of panda bingo, created by my sister Kathryn (thank you Kathryn) and personalised with my very own name. And so with the addition of some junk food, a bit of music and good company we played the night away.

This week has also been a cause for celebrations. Firstly our lovely house leader turns 22 this weekend and even though we will not be with him on the day itself on behalf of all of the mission house we would like to give him a hugeeeeeee happy birthday!!! As well as this I’d also like to reassure him that he doesn’t escape all of our mean plans because he went back home for the weekend it just gives us more time to plan. After all you are our house leader it would be unfair to leave you out on all of the fun. (Muuuhahah)

Furthermore I’d also like to congratulate Joost’s lovely girlfriend Gera on becoming a nurse we are all very proud of her and I am sure that she is going to make a lovely nurse! So happy graduation Gera.

As you have probably heard many times already from us we are very much so like a family. We share and care for each other, we learn each others likes and dislikes. For example, I know not to give Roxane honey, I know that Jhoshwa really cannot cope with anything that resembles spice and I know that the smell of fish let alone the taste is more than enough to put Linus off.
However this week has felt more like a family than normal for some more than others! This may have been something to do with the addition of not just one sister but two as we were honoured by the appearance of Roxane and Jhoshwa’s sisters Chloè and Daniella.
It had been lovely to spend time with both of these beautiful young ladies. One of which is celebrating a birthday in the mission house. Happy birthday Daniella! As she is a guest it seemed unfair to make games to humiliate her so strangely enough we just let her enjoy her party which I hope she did. ☺

on Saturday Roxane, Linus, Mirjam and Pedro also went to enjoy some classical music at the opera. so as they dressed up smartly in their finest attire they went to the show and from what i can tell they enjoyed themselves!

 

 

 

gera graduationjoostlittle pedro big linusroxane and chloe

 

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i hope you all enjoyed this weeks edition of he blog
Farewell for now
Georgia

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Celebrating a birthday in the Mission House by Joost van Dijk, januari 24th, 2016

Hello all! It is Joost, the so-called “house leader” of the Mission House (this year). This is my first blog, so first I share some of my experiences in the Mission House :).

I think it’s really great to be house leader of the Mission House. I’m so lucky with the group this year: I really think it couldn’t be better. Everybody is so lovely on his or her own way. This sounds cliché, but we are really like a family. We do so many fun things together and I also think it is great that no matter who you put together: it will be fun. As last Friday, I went with Linus, Pedro and Mirjam to a bar, yesterday during the day wbar met MHith Roxane, Jhoswa, Mirjam and Bence to Ikea and last night we partied at the place of family of Jhoswa with that group plus Linus and Pedro and others. On this moment, another large group is at the cinema and that’s how it goes throughout the year. No matter what person you put with another person: they will do great! No one is left out, even though we are so different. We can enjoy each other’s differences and we complement each other. Sometimes it feels like I have eight children (even though I don’t know the feeling of having children yet :-P), sometimes as if I have eight brothers and sisters and sometimes as if I have eight daddies and mommies.
We’re almost halfway through the year … it’s going so fast! Fortunately, we have lots of super nice stuff planned ahead of us!

Anyway,IMG-20160109-WA0022 I wanted to especially talk about birthdays in the Mission House, because my birthday is in a week. The weekend after it we will celebrate it here and I fear the worst!
Each anniversary the other people secretly think of terribly humiliating games. And the worst thing is: the Mission House heroes are very creative. For example a B-Day girl was made-up and fed by two blindfolded boys, others had to imitate all kinds of wild animals, others had to pose for very embarrassing photo’s, people were sprayed with a water gun and some had to taste the weirdest flavors.
Do you understand now why I’m a little afraid? Yet I also look forward to it, because besides the humiliating games are always delicious cakes and great gifts! And yet I’m not particularly looking forward to the cakes and gifts, buIMG_1028t just to the joy of partying together. We party a lot in the Mission House and next to all the hilarious moments, friendly guests, delicious food, and great music celebrations are the best, because of the love and unity that we experience on a party. Whether we talk quietly, dance wildly, play games or watch movies: the important thing is that we share beautiful moments together.

IMG-20160103-WA0042A party can have delicious snacks and drinks, the coolest games, the coolest people, the best music and the nicest surrounding, but a party is nothing without love. The moments that everyone is being their selves, everyone is accepted and that there is unity are simply the best. Whatever we celebrate with a party, in the end,   we celebrate each other. We celebrate how beautiful, fun and different we are, and actually if you aren’t doing that at a party, it is not a party after all. And, party or no party, I think celebrating each other is what we do and should do this year in the Mission House and even in every area of our lives.

Sorry, I’m the house leader, so I have to write some deep stuff XD

Thanx for reading and see you next time!

Joost

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MH fun of the last weeks by Mirjam Egger, januari 17th, 2016

Hi there!

Time for a new blog entry…

As you already know from Melanie we all really enjoyed our New Year’s Eve party.

It was also quite cool to have the weekend after for a relaxed start in 2016.

The highlight was our ice skating eveningIMG_2343:

We went to a place in front of Rijksmuseum and it was just fabulous to skate with the view

on that beautiful building and all the lights!IMG_2341

For Pedro it was the first time on the ice – that made it also really funny and we all had to laugh

so hardly when we saw a video of him afterwards heading towards a co-worker who was telling us to

leave in 10 minutes… Suddenly Pedro slipped so he was clinging to that man who saved him

from falling in that way.

This was an amazing conclusion of our common New Year’s period!

Finally everybody started working again – it was quite different to get back to all the

everday occurrences, but it was nice to see all the people from our working places again.

The top event in the last two weeks was Georgia’s birthday.

On the day itself we celebrated with her parents who came to visit her – it was such a funny evening

and we had a lot of fun! Mirjam prepared PANDA cake pops which were absolutely fantastic!IMG_2344

Unfortunately Jhoswa’s wisdom teeth got drawn out a few days after that

and we were all worried that he could not participate in the upcoming party for Georgia

with some friends and people we know from work. But we gave him a lot of fruits, smoothies and

cooling packs – so finally he was okay and we could celebrate all together.

Today we all did different things to enjoy wonderful winter whether: The sun was shining and our garden was a little white!

( We still don’t give up our dream of seeing a really white Amsterdam )

Mirjam, Melanie and me went on a ” Canal-Bike-trip ” – we went through all the canals on a pedal boat which was HUGE fun!

We had snacks and a blanket because it was freezing – that was perfect.

You really had a different view on all the buildings and in combination with the sunshine it was an awesome experience which

we will never forget…

We really wanted to surprise all the others in the MH from the boat – therefore we got really frustrated when we recognized

that crossing the Amstel with our small plastic boat was – mhmmmm – ” not wanted “.

After a small debate IMG_7444 we decided to go ( quite under stress – so we went as fast as we

could ) and finally nobody of our family

was there – but at least we felt really COOL! We laughed a lot and gained nice memories…

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All the best

Linus

 

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Happy New Year by Melanie Dzambazov, januari 4th, 2016

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Hey everyone!

First I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and a lots of joy and love! I can’t believe that it’s already 2016…I mean 4 months of the Mission House life have already passed and 6 more to go. I think every Mission House generation goes through several phases during the year: the adaption to the new surrounding, getting to know eachother and finding your place in the house and in work. So with other words the first challenge is to make Amsterdam and the Mission House your home. Being very happy I can say we reached this point before we left to our countries for Christmas.

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For me it was something completely new to live together with 8 people from different countries in one house and I have to admit I had doubts about how good we are going to get along with eachother or which conflicts would arise…but I got taught differently: Somehow we are all so different and various characters, but exactly this kind of makes us so special and so loveable. We really get along very well with eachother and I personally feel so welcomed and comfortable and.. I don’t know, it’s just great! I mean I don’t want to lie to you, sometimes we have arguments but that’s what family life looks like, isn’t it?
Anyway, so before the actual Christmas holidays we decided to have a Christmas dinner together. Roxane and Jhoswa cooked AMAZINGLY – we all didn’t want to stop eating, especially the meat Roxane prepared and the Nacho-bean mix of Jhoswa were my personal favourites! After this delicious meal we also ate a South African cake I made “Melktert” and ja, the atmosphere was really cosy, awesome and peaceful – exactly how Christmas should be! :)

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However, this Christmas feeling didn’t last so long because suddenly everyone got sick. First Linus and Jhoswa, then Bence and Georgia and then Roxane and me. It was horrible. Just imagine family time with 4 people coughing, 3 people going to sleep because they felt that miserable and two people being ok. Well, I cannot really remember other things of that week, just that everyone still tried to care for everyone – Linus, for example, went to buy me medicine and tea when he felt better. Really nice!
We went home for Christmas (some half sick), enjoyed our family of course and I think we all relaxed and valued the time there. I personally was really happy to get home also, but it felt more like I was going on vacation for 10 days and afterwards I would return to my actual home in Amsterdam! Also on my way back I visited Mirjam (the other Austrian girl ;) ) and we came back together. Fascinating how you bond with people you know for 4 months and how much you think of them when you don’t see them for 2 weeks!

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Back home, we had a New Year’s Eve party where several friends came to visit us – it was GREAT! We sat together, played games, DANCED A LOT (!) .. IMG-20160103-WA0006 - kopie

and went to the Centraal Station to watch the fireworks. It was really great to see the big crowds outside and standing somewhere together, counting the last seconds of 2015! What a great year passed and an even greater one started! I feel really priviledged to have 6 more months with these great people, who I already share so nice memories with. Let’s see what 2016 is going to look like.. I am curious :)

Lots of love,IMG-20160102-WA0000 IMG-20160104-WA0008
Melanie

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Some news! by Roxane Courthial, december 14th, 2015

Hey everybody !

It has been a long time we did not give you news of the Mission House. We were so enjoying the “Amsterdam life” that we left the blog on the side. But we will try to be more regular now!

The month of November was quite busy: Five of the Mission Housers went on training and it was an almost empty house that they left behind them ( being only four in the house was first really sad but then, we had lots of fun!)

When everybody came back home, Jhoswa had the amazing idea to do Thanksgiving all together, so we decided to make this idea become real. We cooked the traditionnal big turkey and invited lots of people. It was really “gezellig”!  We had a great time, a good dinner, and now good memories…

Actually it was the last time the majority of us was eating meat. Some of us decided to litteraly stop, others are just reducing  and others… like it too much to stop ! The most surprising is that Jhoswa, who was used to eat meat everyday stopped sudenly and it is a success ! (He has been  traumatized by a video he saw during his training and since this, he resists really well to the call of the meat).

The following weekend was a little bit more tensed, but to give  everybody the smile back, Georgia and Bence prepared for each of us hot chocolate with cream and “Tony choco lonely” at home. It was so nice from them! The Amsterdam Light Festival was also starting on this weekend  but it was raining a lot and we lost our motivation…

 

Now we are in December and we discovered the Sinter Klaas tradition, respecting the rules really well. We all picked up one name and organized an evening when we gave to one and another their gifts with Christmas songs in the background, cookies and “pepernoten” on the table. The presents were meaningfull for everybody and we put a lot of love and effort in them.

We also all received (several) chocolate letters and we are enjoying it as we should do. The diaconie also offered us something and we were really happy to discover that it was a frier ! We already tried it and the dinner was obviously (fat and) delicious…

Some of us had a trip to Den Helder and Texel last week end, and the beach was beautiful, we had lunch there and a lot of fun but we were also happy to go back to the Mission House and see our garden full of lights (Yes, the Amsterdam light festival is in our garden, we are so lucky !)

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All our projects are also going really well and we are a little bit improving our Dutch. This experience is amazing and we are really enjoying each day, but we are also looking forward to go back in our proper countries to celebrate Christmas with our family and friends. Nervertheless, we are starting to plan a big party for the new year event in Amsterdam ! No one wants to miss it.

 

Roxane

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black birthday cake and golden appeltaart by Linus Neumann, november 10th, 2015

Hi people!

 

Welcome to blog entry number TWO…

It is pretty cool that you now know a little bit more about every single MissionHouseHero

so that you have a little idea about the people I am going to mention from now on.

We all had a very cool week because it was Roxane’s BIG birthday – the 18th!

We celebrated it twice, once on the day itself and we had a cool party on the weekend as well…

Mirjam and me were busily involved in the preparations for the culinary delights. We cooked

special Korean food, did French mousse au chocolat and of course a birthday cake – quite a lot

as you can guess.

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That is why in almost every corner of the kitchen something was frying or cooking

and we tried very hard to keep everything under control. I was only focused on the meat and

vegetables so that I did not even noticed that Mirjam already put her really really fabolous cake in

our quite notorious oven ( you have to know that the little markings are missing and that it is

quite difficult to find the adequate settings out of that reason ).

After a short time Mirjam just said “ What about the cake? “ and opened the oven door.

I just looked inside and saw nothing so I thought “ Yeah, you can put it in now … “, but suddenly

a very disgusting smell appeared and Mirjam screamed “ Noooooooo! “.

That was the moment when I noticed that the cake was already sooo black that I could not even see

it in the dark oven…

Joost entered the kitchen and was just worried that the fire alarm would turn on ( we have already

been in this situation once ) and started to open every door very quickly.

We were so angry because it had been so much work so that we continued shouting bad words.

Unfortunately our neighbour came down and asked kindly whether we could close the doors (

because of the smell?!… because of the crazy shouting people?! )… That was quite embarassing.

But finally we rescued the cake with Melanie’s creative help and Roxane liked it so far.

That was maybe the little more stressful part of the last week – but on this Sunday Mirjam, Bence

and me went for a really cool bike trip to a very very lovely nature reserve. We already did two other

really exciting tours, but this one was the first on which you could really feel the autumn!

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We had a wondeful break at a “ paviljoen “ which was directly located at a big lake and we had

absolutely fantastic “ appeltaart “ – it was really awesome!

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Our Mission House garden also becomes more and more autumnal as you can see in these pictures:

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That is it so far from me,

Tot de volgende keer,

 

Linus

 

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Hello everyone! :) by Pedro Fragata, november 7th, 2015

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Hello everyone! :)

We (Mirjam and Pedro) have the privilege to be the first ones to write on the MH blog this year! :)

So we were wondering how to do it but eventually we figured it out… we will tell you some of the funniest stories that happened in the mission house until now!

But first… we arrived on 1st September which means that we are here for more than two months now… time goes by really fast!

We are an excellent team of eight volunteers coming from six countries (Austria, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal and Spain) plus our amazing Dutch house leader.

On the first month we had the chance to get to know each other better and to visit all the projects that we could choose to participate in the remaining nine months. Now each one of us has already his own schedule and we are helping out in more than twenty projects!

And now some stories about us!

Melanie is Austrian and… she can sometimes speak a little bit loudly! To be honest we had noticed it before! :D But there was a day she got home and told us that she was in the church, already sitting, waiting for the service to start and suddenly a woman sits in the seat in front of her. She commented to Georgia: “Now I can’t see anything!” and obviously, the woman easily understood her! She was really gentle and asked Melanie to change seats with her so that she could see better.

And once in the first week Melanie was cooking with so much enthusiasm and swing that she (by accident) put almost the whole package of salt in the cheese sauce (but now she really proved that we can trust her cooking skills, she really knows how to cook!).

Jhoswa, born in Columbia and now living in Mallorca, has sometimes a quite funny name pronounciation. He calls Hanske “Hanssskaaa” and says Gloria to Georgia! In the first week when we lost our lovely Georgia in the Sloterdijk train station, he was going around looking for her and screaming “Gloria, Gloria…!”. He also tried to be a vegetarian but after 10 minutes he was already missing his “little little chicken”!

And Jhoswa also got caught on the toilet, kind of…! Once in a while we forget to lock it and… once in a while someone thinks it’s free and trys to get in…!!!

Relaxed Roxane is our french girl and she loves hot chocolate! Just when it rains (happens sometimes in Holland) and her bike seat is wet she isn’t so relaxed anymore. But the funniest… she got her bike stolen… by us!

She locked her bike only to itself and we stole it!

But she did it inside our parking so it was kind of a “safe” place to do it. And now she does it properly so it’s alright! :)

Joost is our big great house leader. He is always singing, whistling and humming around. If you suddenly hear a loud scream followed by some more shouts from another room it’s probably Joost singing along what’s right now on his mind. We also really love Joost’s kind girlfriend Gera and we’re already used to have her around in the mission house. We even include her on our cooking and doing the dishes schedule! It’s always nice to have her around! :)

Strong Hungarian survivor Bence got already quite close with the dangerous Amsterdam tram! They met in a “Wall-tram-wall-tram” approach! It wasn’t a fair handshake for Bence (and for his bike) but luckily Bence didn’t got hurt at all (only his bike got to be in a really bad shape…!). He is really talkative, polite and very well informed about a lot of subjects and when he starts to speak about one of his favourite topics (sports, politics) it’s almost impossible to stop him ( Waaad! ~~~ [arm wave] just kidding ;D) – private joke :)

“This is a message for Georgia Wheelan from England. Your friends are waiting for you at the information desk” – Georgia got her moment of fame and she’s now well known in the whole Sloterdijk train station while the info desk was calling her on the microphone, at least on that particular day she was! :D Our panda girl (she loves pandas!) found some amazing new high technological tools in the Mission House like the electronic juicer or the cheese cutter…! :D Georgia is also often surprised by strange German food preparing habits and she sneezes louder than you can ever imagine! ;)

Linus is from the tram-flying-city-Wuppertal and our private house pianist, especially Jhoswa loves his wonderful various plays (unfortunaltely one very important piano key got destroyed by someone’s ass, but we will fix it soon…)! He is a huge Citroën 2CV and Amy Winehouse fan and the funniest story teller of the world. Once he told us the story how Roxane got stuck in the tram line in front of a restaurant and he started to sing “stay’n alive, stay’n ali-” but then he got stuck in the tram line by himself and all the people who watched it started to laugh! :D (if you had seen Linus telling the story you would have been rolling on the floor and laughing right now… Hehe)

Marillenknoedel-and-chocolate-lover-Mirjam is from Austria and she’s known as our zen girl in the house because she always finds the right balance between calm and pro-active! :) except this one time when she experienced to walk out of the living room only wearing her socks so she slipped on the floor (totally unbalanced), and she found herself just totally slidiiiing like if she was ice skiing and trying not to fall and at the same time she just commented to Joost who was also in the living room “oh Joooooost – you cleaned the floor very well today! ” :D so you all know how muuuch effort we put in cleaning! ;)

About Pedro, he’s from Portugal and he always uses funny sounds when he’s talking to explain himself better. “We have to buy such a pffffffffffff to clean the wooden furniture” (and while he does the pffffffffff sound it really sounds like a spray! Pedro also learnt in the meanwhile the dutch way of fixing a flat tire on his bike: without removing the wheel from the frame (it was the first time he did it like that but it makes sense and it’s really practical and fast way to do it).

Ah… he was also trying to do a wheelie in his bike buuuuuut… he wasn’t able to measure the rear brake to keep the front wheel in the air so he had to jump back… he managed to land on his feet but still everyone around was laughing really hard (including some guys that were passing by on a motorcycle!!!).

And the funniest thing was when he was caught in the toilet by Melanie while she was making a skype video call with her boyfriend and was showing him the (whole) house, including the toilets…! We all laughed for 5 or 10 minutes, seriously…! :D

To finish this first blog entry we wanted to say that we are really grateful for this opportunity of being part of the Mission House team for these 10 months! We are really honored to be here and in each other’s company and we are appreciating every moment of this challenging and amazing opportunity that we were given while we can actually make the difference helping people! :)

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Koningsdag, Dodenherdenking, Bevrijdingsdag and more..! by Hanske Mulder, mei 12th, 2015

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Hello everyone!

It’s me, Lilli, and today I would like to share some “Mission House moments” with you:

Last Monday everybody was celebrating the Kings Day. Seemed to me like every inhabitant of Amsterdam was in the street plus many visitors because there were so many people! It was amazing: in almost every street a party, a “vrijmarkt” or some other great activities. Also the parks were really “gezellig” because a lot of people did for little money some playings with the visitors where they were able to win something. And if you are exhausted by so much party and so many people just sit in the gras and enjoy the sun! In the whole town you had always background music – either from a boat on which groups and families were celebrating the 48th birthday of the King Willem-Alexander with great music or from a stage near your current location or from a private balcony etc.

Of course we also wanted to have a slice of the pie and so we tried to sell cake and lemonade in front of the hermitage – we didn’t really succeed but sitting in the sun on one of our couches, enjoying the nice weather (and having a beer) – THIS was worth for one try!

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On Thursday we had a really sociable evening while playing volleyball in our garden and watching Harry Potter at the television. Ik hou van Family Time! (I really like family times ;) )

At the weekend there were a lot of guests in the Mission House and Ola was absent, so we didn’t have so many shared actions.

This Monday and Tuesday there are two special days in the Netherlands: Nationale Dodenherdenking (Remembrance of the Dead at the 4th of May) and Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day at the 5th of May). So the King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander was in Amsterdam to take part at the ceremony for remembering all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II. And some members of the Mission House even saw him! At 8 pm there were two minutes silent in the whole Netherlands, all cars stopped even tram paused and all people thought about the victims – in silence of course. It was a really special moment.

At the Bevrijdingsdag the Dutch people celebrate the liberation of their nation after the German occupation. There will be a lot of festivals, concerts and “vrijheidsmaaltijden” where neighbours, organisations, hotels etc. cook for a little money a tasty dinner for everybody who would like to join. So gezellig!

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OH I talked so much about national holidays in the Netherlands – maybe you are a lot more interested in what we actually really work?

So I decided trying to describe for you my work as exactly as possible :)

On Monday mornings I work at the „re-play“ project. Here parents come with their very little children (0-4 years) for playing with them. The special thing is that many families in Amsterdam Oost have a migration background and so the Dutch is not their first language. At “re-play“ they can exchange views about their children, other news and at the same time improve their Dutch language. I am helping with arranging a little meal (buying and cutting fruits), preparing a craft action and of course, we can play with the children and talk to their parents!

In the afternoon I am helping at a „buurtmaaltijd“ (neighbourhood meal). People who normally don’t find the way to restaurants can enjoy a meal for only 5€. That’s big fun to serve the food for them and nothing has to be perfect like in a ‘normal’ restaurant! ;-)

Tuesdays I help feeding multiple disabled children and young adults. We pick them up from the bus which brings them from school to ‘Amsta’, the location where they live in little groups and at 5 pm they have dinner. After the meal we often go out to the Vondelpark if the weather is nice.

On Wednesday I work at the “De Tweede Mijl”. It is a shelter where drug/alcohol addicted or homeless people but also very poor ones or refugees can have coffee, tea, lemonade, sandwiches, a hot soup or a footbath – for free. It’s really warmhearted there and after few months you know many visitors and you see them every week…

Every Thursday I go to the “Hospice Kuria” for a few hours. It’s so familiar there! We volunteers do everything what has to be done in the background like doing the groceries, go to the pharmacy or to the bakery but also wash the laundry, iron, controll the cupboards etc. while the nurses take care of the patients. However when Dutch is improving with the time the volunteers can also go to their rooms for offering some tea, having a talk..

Last but not least: On Fridays I have another great project. I work at the “Huygens’dok” tog10931521_996225690406368_2243078628107882504_nether with deaf people but also normal hearing ones. The customers can decide to order either in sign language or in Dutch. Young deaf people can do a apprenticeship (waiter/cook) there for free and people who have also problems at the “first employment market” are also here for helping. We are baking cake together, cut the vegetables, prepare the sandwiches, take the orders, make coffee, serve the food and drinks and so on. It is sooo much fun and feels absolutely not like work!

Now I hope you got a little view into our work and also an impression about what it means to live and work here in the Mission House. However if it sounds like a lot of work, many tasks, etc. don’t be afraid! We have also enough free time to discover the town, to do sports or other things we like. And at work we are never alone, we always have somebody who is helping (or introduced us in the first weeks). In my first 8 months I always knew who I can ask if I had a problem, so it’s really enjoyable – and I’m sure we all enjoy our time here!

You got it – I’m finished! Have a nice spring time! Now I will go for a ride with my bike through beautiful Amsterdam.

Vriendelijke groetjes uit Amsterdam en tot ziens!