On the 14 of December 2019, we lost a dear friend and former hera partner Thomas van der Heijden. Leo first met Thomas in 2002 in Dar-es-Salaam where he was leading a life of health consulting and pursuing his love for flying. One of my fondest memories with him is the flight from Zanzibar back to Dar-es-Salaam that he took Leo and me on.
Thomas joined hera in 2005 and did numerous consultancies with us in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia, India, Myanmar, Yemen and East Timor. His last contract with hera was in 2009 working on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Strategic Plan in Tanzania. Thomas left hera in 2011 but remained a dear friend and we had the chance to connect during a few bike trips together.
hera partner Wilbert Bannenberg was also a close friend with Thomas. On the 3rd of December, Wilbert had a meeting with him and they had a chance to discuss their lives, working in public health and his passion for planes. During that meeting, he showed Wilbert his latest technical innovation in which he had managed to safely put a maxi-cosy for his new grandchild on a Dutch tandem bicycle.
The last time I heard from Thomas he shared that he was fondly listening to the Flemish song - Kom hier, dat ik draag, by van Kommil Foo. The song he said brought him back to Flanders and his time with us. We send love and condolences to his friends and family and will miss him dearly.