Amsterdam, 29 October, 2020

How we wished yesterday would have been a perfectly ordinary day.
A normal day, with Sophia coming home from a day at the hospital, filled with animated stories.
A normal day when our children’s most pressing question would be: ‘What’s for dinner?’
A normal day when we, a family of five, would eat dinner as a complete family.
A normal day when we would discuss our day, the news, and other things on our minds.
But it wasn’t a perfectly ordinary day.
We don’t have such days anymore and we can’t take anything for granted anymore. Not since Sophia disappeared in a faraway country, a long, long way from home.

Wednesday 28 October, 2015, marks five years without Sophia, last seen that day around 6.15pm local time in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda.
Five years without Sophia, who is loved and missed so much, by so many.

The nightmare is still with us, in full force, a situation both unreal and incomprehensible, but we staunchly persist in our search for answers.
The disappearance of one of the most important people in one’s life cannot be compared with anything. You know nothing, there is nothing to process and nothing to accept. Perhaps it is only understood by those who have been there, something you wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
We have nothing, no body, no answers, nothing. Just questions, a forest full of questions.
Is there anyone who can explain to us how to live with this?

We are fully aware that it is possible we will never find out what happened to Sophia, that we may never see her again. The longer someone’s whereabouts are unknown, the slimmer the chance they will be found. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. For us to let it rest would be impossible. How can we desert Sophia?

As long as we don’t know we cannot and will not give up hope that Sophia is alive, somewhere.
Miracles are rare but they do happen. Fact can be infinitely stranger than fiction. The media reported very recently that a mother in Sri Lanka found her son after searching for him for 16 years. She had lost track of the boy during the tsunami of 2004.
What would you call this but a miracle?
As Sophia’s mother I stubbornly maintain my belief in miracles.
And we will do all we can to find her. All the help we can get is more than welcome.

We can’t say enough how grateful we are for all the support that we continue to receive from friends and strangers alike. Financial, mental and everything in between. You may not realize how much it means to us but it truly does mean a great deal. It touches us deeply and also strengthens our resolve to continue on this difficult road, filled with deep holes and huge obstacles.
We have no choice.

Marije Slijkerman
Gerard, Max en Jan Koetsier

FIVE YEARS WITHOUT SOPHIA IN UGANDAN MEDIA

On Sunday, 24 October, the Daily Monitor published in their Life Magazine section, with a notice on their  front page:

https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/magazines/life/five-years-without-my-daughter-2721614

pdf: DM front & article

Wednesday 28 October the New Vision published this open letter:

https://www.newvision.co.ug/news/1530544/uganda-forget-sophia

pdf: NV pagina 28 okt

DUTCH MEDIA have also given attention recently to Sophia’s mysterious disappearance. For those of you who can manage Dutch or wish to employ Google translate:

LINDA magazine online interview on 10 November:

https://www.linda.nl/lief-en-leed/marije-slijkerman-sophia-koetsier-oeganda-vermissing/

A short item in TV-program Hart van Nederland on 5 November:

https://www.hartvannederland.nl/nieuws/2020/sophia-koetsier-verdween-vijf-jaar-geleden-tijdens-reis-door-oeganda/

Saturday 24 October daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad:

https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2020/10/23/sophia-ging-naar-het-toilethuisje-en-kwam-nooit-meer-terug-a4017182#/handelsblad/2020/10/24/#122

pdf: NRC

The September issue of the ‘Arts en Auto’ magazine, geared towards those in the medical field:

https://www.artsenauto.nl/sophia-koetsier-contact-verloren/

pdf: Arts en Auto

Monthly glossy magazine LINDA in July:

pdf: LINDA artikel tekst