In 2005 I travelled to Abéné for the first time. Together with my daughter Elya I discovered the wonderful nature of this place. Sun, sea, beaches, kind and joyful people, delicious food and most of all… different customs.
Journey to myself
At the time I was suffering from a major burn-out after having been a therapist for a long time and a teacher at a democratic school for some years after that. I noticed that Africa healed me. It seemed like a soothing hot bath that fed me and woke me up to myself. In the relaxed atmosphere and pace of living from Africa I came back to who I was, something that had been elusive in Holland. It wasn’t until much later that this proved to be the first step towards founding Maye Meye Africa.
Contact with the locals in Africa
Three years later, after a difficult divorce, I returned to Africa. Again to Abéné.
Again I experienced it as a journey back to my self, my own strength and my desires. The impressions of Africa weren’t as new and overpowering as they were the first time, so I was able to look around more and talk to the people in Abéné. After every conversation my admiration for their determination, their optimism and their joy grew. I was given a close look into life in Afrika, which to our standards is very impoverished. I felt a need to support them in a way that would have a lasting effect.
Back in Holland
Once I was back in Holland this kept popping up in my mind until I got the following idea:
I’ll start a guesthouse where people can go who really need to get away from it all and re-evaluate their life, a place for contemplation. For many people Africa is just the place to do that, just as I had experienced myself. If they need assistance I can help with that. After all, I am a licenced therapist. In addition the guesthouse will be open to people who want to experience the real Africa from the inside during their holidays: getting to know Africa by exclusive holiday offers.
Helping Africa by holidaying – Guests
The profit from the holiday guesthouse I can spend on microcredit or microfinancing and local projects. Also, I can offer people jobs. Something that is hard to find in Africa, especially in Senegal. That way both the visitors and the locals get what the other has to offer. The guests have an exclusive holiday in Africa, Africa gets the financial support.
This is what Maye Meye means. In the Wolof language both words mean to give or offer: Both cultures offer that which they have in riches to the other.