Some time ago, I came across a call from the Stichting goed doen voor een ander (Foundation to do good for someone else) which helps lonely elderly. They do so by organising local ‘coffee-projects’. But while meeting all of the participants (all elderly people), the founder, Edward Molkenboer, came up with the idea to do more with the stories he heard. That is why he initiated the making of a book titled ‘What can I learn from you?’. With the book he wants to raise more awareness for the projects and to show how valuable elderly people are.
The call I found on Facebook was to find writers and photographers and have them interview elderly people and write down their stories.
Together with Fraukje Vonk with whom I had worked together in Bolivia, during our journey through Bolivia for the aid organisation Mensen met een Missie, I came into contact with Pranom van der Vlies. She is a fierce, originally Thai lady, who had already been living in The Netherlands for about 40 years.
Pranom told us how she, after her father and the father of her two sons, had left her, found a job at a local bar on the Thai coast. There she met mister Van der Vlies. He grew promo a. holiday love to the love of her life and so she followed him to The Netherlands. Her sons came one year later.
Meanwhile, Pranom has settled but her Thai blood still streams through her vans. And so there are still Dutch customs that she can’t get used to. Like giving only 1 biscuit with the coffee and not receiving visitors during dinner.
Together with the story of Pranom 49 other stories and life lessons are collected by other writers and photographers. They have been placed together in the book ‘Wat kan ik van u leren?’ (What can I learn from you?).