'If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together'
~ African proverb~
We are two conservationists, interested in animal biology from The Netherlands and Slovakia with a background in medicine. Lutske Maria (Mia) is a wildlife biologist and a physician; Livia (Lia) has got a PgDip in Wildlife Biology and is a veterinarian.
We met in Edinburgh, Scotland, where both of us were studying the MSc Wildlife Biology and Conservation at the Edinburgh Napier University.
Passionate about conservation, we started our first adventure in Boa Vista where we worked (with Turtle Foundation) to protect the loggerhead sea turtles. This is also the place where the documentary making process started.
Gradually our focus shifted from sea turtles and conservation topics to more culture orientated videos and blogs about Cabo Verde. The topics we cover are diverse: food, travel, music and reviews on local places and businesses.
We decided to change our name from Real Adventures with Mia and Lia to Inside West Africa as it more realistically captures our feelings and embraces our love that we feel for the West African culture.
In the future we would like to visit and slow travel through other West African countries such as The Gambia, Senegal, Ghana or Guinea- Bissau.
With Inside West Africa we aim to inspire active, bold and curious women to get an authentic Western African experience (e.g. meeting tribes, visiting nature conservation projects) whilst we try to promote the local people and culture at the same time. At the moment we are mainly focusing on Cabo Verde and the Gambia!
Hello everyone! My name is Lutske and I’m from the Netherlands. After I graduated as a physician in 2012, I moved to Granada in Andalusia to study Spanish. During this time, I was offered the opportunity to start the MSc Wildlife Biology and Conservation in the magical city of Edinburgh by the VSBfonds foundation. This way, it was possible to combine my interest in preventative Medicine with Biology, a dream of mine!
During my studies, I participated in different voluntary projects and medical internships, including longer periods in hospitals in Nepal and Suriname. A shortage in affordable student accommodation Edinburgh made me decide to give up the luxury of a permanent place and to live like a nomad in a hostel. During those four months I realised that this lifestyle allowed me to meet all kinds of interesting people from different countries! Since then I worked in various jobs, e.g. as a teacher in medicine for Nursing Students in Rotterdam. After that I decided to stay at the nomadic lifestyle. I move from city to city and I change jobs quite often, usually carrying not more than a rucksack.
Color is what I’m passionate about, whether it is colorful food (a variety fruit and vegetables), African clothes or the leather bags that my mother Ria and I design together. To me it equals energy and optimism! Have a look at my TEDxtalk ‘Embrace Color’ on youtube. Ultimately, I want to inspire people to protect nature and culture in its variety and color.
Hi, I’m Livia from Slovakia! Since I remember I have been captivated by reading travel stories -especially the ones about Africa. For some years I have tried to combine my interest in other cultures and places with saving the money for these kind of adventures.
I graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Slovakia over 10 years ago and my interest in animals, conservation and people has been nourished by joining different internships over the years. My first long term voluntary experience was in Guinea Bissau as a part of a Child Aid project and it was probably then that I became even more interested in West African culture and people. I also spent six months on a horse farm school in the Basque country as a part of European Voluntary Service and learnt some Spanish at the same time!
More recently I did an internship in a turtle conservation project in Cape Verde (and since then been to Cape Verde two more times!). I do believe that the best way to get to know a place is to immerse yourself in the country for a period of time. Traveling after all shouldn’t be only about collecting photos and souvenirs…I have lived in the UK for several years and moved from Shetland to Isle of Wight and then Cornwall (all very beautiful and inspirational places). I currently live in Devon where I love to explore lovely coast and countryside on foot and bike when time allows me.
Over the past year we were so fortunate to go back to Cabo Verde twice (in March and in October 2016) so we could visit most of the islands and learn more about environmental organizations that operate in this beautiful archipelago. In April 2017 we managed to visit The Gambia for the first time and fell in love with this small but beautiful country!
At the moment we are working on various blogposts and video material about the Gambia and Cabo Verde!
We are also planning to go back to The Gambia in November this year!
This new IWA material will be released soon, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, if you would like to contact us just fill the form in contact us section or email us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook!