Initially, we had planned to move to Togo, West Africa, with our children, Emma (5) and Semme (2), for a year of adventure. But now, our ticket has no end date. “It feels right here, and we’ll stay as long as that feeling remains.”
The Start of Our Togo Adventure
he idea of moving to Togo so that our children could connect with their Togolese roots had always been in the back of our minds. The birth of our children strengthened this desire even more. At a very young age, Emma struggled with her skin color, which deeply touched us. She longed to be white with long blonde hair, like the children in her class and her mother. We thought it had to be different. She needed to realize that the world is much bigger than just Alphen aan den Rijn, and she had to discover where she comes from.
So, in September 2022, we embarked on our journey to Togo. It was quite an undertaking and a rollercoaster of emotions. What initially felt like a vacation only truly sank in after a few weeks. What are we doing?
Challenges and Building Confidence
The language barrier posed a significant challenge for our family. In the Netherlands, we spoke Dutch, but in Togo, French and Mina, the local language, are the primary languages. This made it difficult for the kids to communicate and make friends. After about six months, we began to adapt to our new environment. Emma and Semme started learning the language and made new friends. We, too, gradually found our rhythm in Togo.
Our move to Togo has enriched our family, and our children have built self-confidence. We are also learning a lot from this adventure. In various ways, you get to know yourself and each other again, and this is very valuable.
Contributing to the Community
We don’t just want to live in Togo; we also want to contribute to our community. Chris has started a company to support local businesses, while Mignon launched her own brand of bags, Wood & Cricket. These bags are versatile and can be used as beach bags, shoppers, diaper bags, shoulder bags, and travel bags. But that’s not all. In addition to bags, we also produce other items, such as kimonos, hair scarves, and cloths that can serve as tablecloths, beach towels, or picnic blankets
The Adventure Continues
Our time in Togo has taught us that the world is full of adventures and opportunities. We enjoy life here and feel privileged to share this adventure with our children. Life here is incomparable to our life in the Netherlands, but that’s precisely what makes it so enjoyable. The fact that we get to know both countries well and can call both of them home is the most beautiful gift we can give our children and, of course, ourselves.
Heading: Stay Connected
If you have the chance to do something entirely different or live somewhere else, we highly recommend it! Follow our daily story on Instagram: @woodandcricket. Mignon also shares stories of other families who have emigrated on her Instagram: @dutchiesemigreren.