events, kids, news, pet farm

Grand reopening of the Discovery Farm


So often we hear the children mention that the petfarm is ‘the happy place’, that it was turned into a sign right at the entrance. The Discovery Farm is our Happy Place…

And when that Happy Place came under threat, I can not begin to explain what we went through since.

  • The realization how serious it was going to be that hurricane Irma was approaching the island, on her way to destroy us with all her fury force!
  • The realization while hiding during Irma, how serious the situation was while all our large four footed friends had to fight her head on!
  • The realization of pure joy and being overwhelmed when all our four legged furry friends where there, tired, but content with their WIN on Irma.

It is their courage that made my despair disappear… Their courage to take on this monster hurricane and show her that she could not get to them!
It was their pride and enthusiasm when they greeted us happily, despite the overwhelming heap of rubble and debris all around them, that hit me straight in my heart.

I had been torn apart by guilt, for having to leave them, leave them on their own, feeling so powerless with the measurements we tried to take to protect them, while we knew that a hurricane with a force beyond imagination was coming straight at us.

I felt pure despair fearing that many of their lives might have ended or not being able to ever see them again.

I felt ABSOLUTE joy and relief like I NEVER felt in my life before, finding ALL alive and Kicking, actually having kicked monster hurricane Irma’s butt!

The little ones where safe in the shelters we made for them, the big ones must have helped eachother and huddled together to face the storm, the stronger ones must have helped the weaker ones, the big ones must have taken care of the small ones, the older ones must have lead the young ones… It must have been the herd mentality that made them choose to work together like that.

So what other choice did we have to start all over again! Rebuild their paddocks, theirs stalls, create again the Happy Place for many a child and their family on St. Maarten.

That that has not been an easy tasks is an understatement. But our struggle became more light with the unbelievable help from many! And hereby I would like to take a moment and reflect on these last two years. We have been rebuilding and still are! For the last two years, the TO DO lists in my head seemed endless, the tasks impossible and the tunnel without light at certain moments. Inspired by our little friends and warmed by the love and help we got it DONE!

Vera Verbruggen and Lisette van den Berg with their wonderTEAM from the Netherlands. Marjolein van Luijken and Harriette van Luijken, my supersisters joining in on that team. Mike Halley and Suzanna Halley for taking in our girls, Carina Ludvigson for opening up your house for us, not for one night but for half a year! Tradewinds Cruise Club, for flying out our girls and Hans van Luijken to take them to safety. The people of Curacao, cousin Ricky Steward and many fantastic people on Curacao with him. Leon van den Beemt and his studentgroup, the donations from schools and yoga club and many more.
The initiatives from professional organizations in their support was unprecedented: Michele Russel Capriles from the Prince Bernhard Culture Funds, Fleur Hermanides from the Cooperative Funds, Mr. Chris Marvi Johnson from the Dutch Representatives, Eve van den Bol from CIEF, Cayman Island Equestrian Federation and Pan American Equestrian Federation (PAEF) and last but not least Matthieu Mathieu Kempf and his peleton of Dutch Marines, that literally moved mountains… (no despair the marines are there….) keep doing the work your doing because you do make a DIFFERENCE!

I unfortunately do need to round of this list with a short cut, referring to ALL amazing people that came to literally help to rebuild or donated on the fundraiser or helped and supported in any which way they could. Your name might not be literally spelled out here in this list, but it is spelled out right in our hearts! You and me know who you are!!! Your print is in Seaside always!

It is impossible to mention ALL those fantastic people that helped in some way, and how amazing and wonderful is it that that list is SOOO long? To find out how many people where right behind us with their support is overwhelming and healing and counterbalance the rollercoaster of all the guilt, fear and despair we endured.
We are super GRATEFUL that in this difficult time in our life, we found that support and felt that love right there from our family and friends. Like I wrote then and now again: Nature thought us a lesson, live with less and live better, live with considering nature ALL the time! One love!

We hope you come to celebrate with us SUNDAY august 4, WE ARRRRREEEEE BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!