At the end of February, everyone is itching to leave their homes and venture out. And it seemed that dinner at Viva Afrika Rotterdam was the perfect occasion!

As always, there were some regular attendees, some new members, and some people who were not new to the group, but new to the networking dinners. And everyone had a great time chatting!

About Viva Afrika Rotterdam

It can be challenging to find a restaurant that not only accommodates not only our group size, but also our dietary needs. A fellow IWNG member recommended Viva Afrika because she knew they had good vegan options. As it turns out, they have great options for all diets!

Luckily, our party of 15 women was able to order individually, rather than have a pre-fixe menu. Such a large party can be difficult for many restaurant kitchens, but Viva Afrika seemed to handle our party with ease! The food arrived altogether, and beverages were frequently refreshed.

An Eritrean style beer brewed in the Netherlands and served at Viva Afrika in Rotterdam

Many of us enjoyed the coconut and mango beers, as well as an Eritrean beer. A couple guests also ordered a fresh ginger beverage, which proved to be a bit spicy.

If you go to Viva Afrika in Rotterdam, keep in mind that they don’t set the table with utensils. Almost every dish is served with enjera (also written injera), a thin, spongy flatbread or pancake made with teff flour. Just tear off a piece of enjera, pinch or scoop your food, and eat it!

Fried white fish at Viva Afrika Rotterdam - lekker!

Solidarity

What many of us seek when we attend these dinners – or any event organized by IWNG – is understanding. Part of that understanding is expressed through sharing stories. One person tells a story about their experience looking for work, which prompts another person to share her own story as an expression of solidarity.

Often when we rant about these struggles, we simply want someone to listen. But here, at the networking dinners, it’s a call for validation. We share stories as a way to say “I understand what you’re experiencing because I’ve experienced it, too.”

International women at Viva Afrika Rotterdam enjoy a casual evening of eating and chatting together. Join IWNG Rotterdam for our next event!

Even after the meal, a few of us decided to keep the conversation going at a bar down the street! I found myself talking a lot about my husband and how thankful I am to have him. But I also often joke about how I joined IWNG because I needed to talk to people other than my husband.

International women need people in their lives who can more than just empathize with their situation. Our desire to thrive is unmatched and unprecedented in our own lives. We’ve never experienced such a need for seemingly basic fulfillment before moving to the Netherlands.

No one expresses regret about moving here. We’ve all experienced change as well as challenges. We may complain about the food or the weather, but we all feel compelled to succeed, regardless of whether it was our choice to live here.

Interested in meeting other international women in Rotterdam? Come to our next networking dinner!

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Sterling Schuyler
sterling@iwng.nl
Sterling Schuyler moved to Rotterdam in June 2018 from Bavaria, Germany, but she is originally from the United States. As a result, she has restarted her career three times, and currently works as a freelance marketing consultant. Whether you want to know more about her professional development, have questions about her own struggles, or just want to grab a coffee, she’ll be happy to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Dinner at Viva Afrika: A Much Needed Social Occasion in the Final Stretch of Winter”

  1. Beautifully written Sterling, especially the part “no regrets moving here”, and this is partly true to the solidarity one finds in such a community as ours. Thanks for the reminder 😊❤️👍🏾

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