I am Tessa de Goede de Ordoñez. After my studies at the School for Hotelmanagement it was time for me to go out into the wide world. I was 20 years old and so done with going to school. So I left with my backpack to South America, where I traveled alone for seven months and volunteered in various places. After this, I lived in China for a year, in Nepal for a while and traveled around a lot.
In 2008 I ended up in Guatemala, mainly with the aim of improving my Spanish. The plan was to stay for one month ... However, I fell in love with Guatemala, the country, the people, my work and my salsa teacher, who has been my husband for nine years already. During my stay, I started working voluntarily in a hospital with children born with cleft lip and palate. With a mother as a maternity nurse, I was already familiar with cleft lip and palate. Since the mothers are not allowed to stay with the children when they are in the hospital, it was my job to feed, bathe and dress them. I immediately fell in love with these children, with their beautiful wide smiles and sparkling eyes.
During this time, I was searching for what I wanted in life. I decided to investigate after which I found out that there was simply no help available for these children in Guatemala. There was not a single organization that helped these children and that broke my heart. When I returned to the Netherlands after seven months, I could not let it go. I was sure that I wanted to do something for these children in the future.
Once back in the Netherlands, I decided to set up a foundation. I gathered a board, created my own website and told everyone about my wild plans. The idea was to return to Guatemala for one year to set up the project there, which afterwards I could manage from the Netherlands. .However, things turned out a little differently… Now, 12 years later, I live and work full-time in Guatemala, with the children with cleft lip and palate that I fell in love with so many years ago. I never want to leave here. This is my calling!