I’m still not realizing this. Maybe I should say it again… WE WON!


So many emotions. So many thoughts. So many thank you, well wishes, what’s next and other overwhelming responses. Yet I’m surprisingly calm. Yes, I’ve won, but I didn’t reach my goals yet. I made a new step in the direction I planned when I decided that my life wasn’t over yet.

3 Years ago my life was worth less than a nickel, I turned into a dime. I built it up to a dollar and now I’m multiplying that, everyday! (Funny I use money as a metaphor for money has never been a motivator, the opposite)

I’ve won… And I don’t even now what I’ve won, other than me. My own respect. My own love. Nothing has matter as much as just those two things in the last three years. I won a trophy, an amount of money, business support from several important local organizations but after the words fell “and the runner-up is…”

That moment…

The world stood still. I went deaf. My legs started trembling, I felt every nerve, I felt weak but yet so strong. I was ME!

I had done what I had promised myself. I looked for my parents. Their faces, that was my price. That was all I wanted and all I ever needed. All these people looking at me and I thought of my brother and sisters in the Netherlands. (Focus, don’t collapse.) I thought of the people believing in me. Motivating me to keep going. The people doubting me, their words “I don’t know about this” and I said thanks. Thank you all. Thank you all who did good and or bad. Thank you all who made mistakes and taught me what I don’t want to do, who I don’t want to be. Thank you all who showed me I was right. Who took my love on a stroll. Thank you all that forgave me my failures and… I heard myself talking and millions of images popped by from all these memories that brought me here and I cried.

Thank you Mirjam Reule for sticking up for me, believing in me and letting me push my boundaries even though you wondered sometimes if I was completely insane. Thank you SGR Verriet for accepting I was different and giving me the space to re develop myself. All the nurses, physical and manual therapists, you have no clue how important you’ve been and how important you are.

Thank you Heartbeat Wellness center. Jermain, Remi, your laughter, jokes and for making me climb stairs till I wanted to puke. Thank you for not only giving me a chance but seeing my potential and daring to take the risk and push me through my limits. You took my motivations and made it a whole new, bigger, meaner one. The tears of pain where (and are) fuel for gains!

Thank you Alex Rosaria and Pais for giving me a 2nd chance. For listening to me. Believing in me. Taking this risk with me. For willing to invest in people to build a nation from it’s lower ranks all the way up. For giving people with a disability a voice in a silent community. You were fuel on a beginning flame that continued to grow into a bigger fire since.

Thank you Levi Silvanie for giving me a place in your life. Your line up. We don’t need words, although we write. We love, and that says enough, that is our bond! Your words keep waking me up every day. (Ta’bo a sinami, ami ta Korsou)

Thank you Dino de Castro for giving me a chance when I lost myself. Julio and Sylvia for believing in me before I believed in myself (we may lost our way, but never our love). Jamie Cameron for showing me that doubts are weakness and everything can and will be used against you in the court of life. Your lessons were a preparation for what was yet to come.

To the 4 ladies flying to Bonaire when everything was a blur, you showed me I was worth. Without seeing you, you kept me hopeful, just knowing you were close.

Thank you to JCI IOBA for creating this event. For giving an impulse to an island desperate for (young) innovators and innovations. To all the sponsors; Banco di Caribe, CITI, KUBUSChamber of Commerce Curacao, Creative Lab, Workspot Curacao, The Business Connection, Gratida. Keep motivating and creating opportunities. You are what a small island needs to thrive on.

There are not enough thank yous to go around but every one earned will get his or hers eventually. Promised!


Read: JCI IOBA The Competion; The Before

Watch: JCI ACYEA Award 2015 ceremony at Marriott Hotel

Music of choice: The ScriptHall of fame