We are in the paper!
This article was published in the local newspaper BNDeStem (translated below):
Also on BNDeStem.nl/regio/etten-leur/
Milady Landy is ready for the dream trip
Etten-Leur inhabitants Sonja van den Berge and Gert Jan ter Haar get into their Land Rover for the adventure of their lives.
They are mocked by many a friend, family and colleague. Etten-Leur inhabitants Gert Jan ter Haar (60) and Sonja van den Berge (57) kissed their lady Milady Landy goodbye last Monday in Antwerp, and the Land Rover is shipped to Walvis Bay in Namibia. There, there the couple will close her in their arms again. A trail of six months through southern and eastern Africa will follow.
This plan has a long history, which began with the journey of Ter Haar to northern Tanzania in 1995. Since the consultant underground infrastructure needed to build a drinking water system in a camp full of Rwandans fleeing the genocide. His time there made a great impression. “I get goose bumps again now I remember. 300,000 people were in that camp. They had nothing but were still so welcoming.”
Upon returning home he shared the story with Sonja, and the two decided to put together a trip to Tanzania. They did so in 2006, with their children Michael, Suzanne, Gerben and Rindert. And again, Ter Haar was overwhelmed by the impressions. Like Van den Berge. “It is such a beautiful country and the people are so warm. They share everything, while they have so little.”
After returning Van den Berge and Ter Haar decided themselves to set a goal. They wanted to tour Africa once again, without a guide behind the wheel. “Nice to be free.”
But then they had to have a car. And so Ter Haar went looking. It had to be a Land Rover, he read that cars are suitable for roads in Africa. However, one problem: the couple did not have much money. “We were still in the middle of remodeling our house. Another project of Gert Jan,” Sonja says laughing. Her husband: “So we agreed that I should look for a Land Rover for up to 500 euros. I went to check on EBay, in England, I made the best chance to find a car for that money as the Land Rover comes from there.” It was not easy to find an SUV for 500 euros, but eventually Ter Haar got her. “A 1980 Land Rover for 350 euros.”
The Land Rover looked not so bad. “That is, she was driving. But the window was fixed with duct tape for example. And when I looked better, it turned out to be an uphill struggle to get this car pass inspection,” says Ter Haar. Only in 2009 he was able to work on refurbishing the vehicle. “Because I had to finish the house.” With the help of books and the Internet, he snapped at Land Rover. He noticed a lot under the hood. “The most amazing was a hole filled with a can and chewing gum.”
After five years and at least a thousand hours of restoration work in the garage, Milady Landy (a name that honors the love of the car from Ter Haar) could get on the road. But first she had to be approved. “The inspector was very skeptical about my story, but became happier when he saw the good work I did to the car. At the end he was totally “heppie the peppie”.”
A few days later, waiting for the first real test: a holiday in southern France. This was endured well by Milady Landy, after that a trip to Morocco also went well. So now they go to Africa. The car is packed full of cabinets, cookware, a water tank and filter and even a toilet seat and toilet paper. The tent located on the roof, will sleep two. It is one big adventure. “It will change our lives,” Van den Berge thinks. Meanwhile Suzanne, who takes care of HIV with her Gutz foundation in Tanzania, and Rindert take care of the house in Etten-Leur.
All the adventures of Sonja and Gert Jan can be followed on www.miladylandy.nl.