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Where is Sophia? The Dutch Medical Student Who Disappeared in Uganda 5 Years Ago

Posted on Oct 29, 2020
By Sean Musa Carter
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Sophia Koetsier, a medical student who came to Uganda to work as an intern in Rubaga hospital in Kampala ended up disappearing gat Munchion Falls and now 5 years later her family is still desperately searching for her.

She quickly took to the country and its people, in one of her first weekly reports to us she wrote:‘I am starting to get used to Uganda more and more. The way of life, habits. I am almost considering simply staying in Africa, cause geez, it's so relaxed here!' She enjoyed working with the nurses and doctors at Lubaga.

On her last day of work there she wrote: ‘Before we left I really wanted to say a warm goodbye to everyone in the hospital.

We gave our medical goggles and white coats to the midwives and surgeons who were very happy with them. After saying goodbye to everyone in the maternity ward we also stopped by the other wards. I am really sorry my stay here is over.

The next day she left for her trip through the country, prior to returning home. Six days later she disappeared. She has not come home to this day. 

We have no clue what happened to Sophia and are surrounded by an ocean of question marks. Circumstances surrounding Sophia's disappearance are very vague.

Marije-Slijkerman

A proper investigation never took place at the time and police quickly jumped to the conclusion, without evidence, that it must have been a fatal accident. End of story. 

But this story has no end and we cannot move on; Sophia's disappearance has dominated our lives for five straight years now. No child is as present as a missing child and there is no manual for parents who find themselves in this situation.

Given such unbearable circumstances, it would be easy to fall into a big black hole and then stay in a continuous state of pain and apathy but that would mean deserting Sophia. Absolutely no option. 

sophia_koetsier_oeganda

It does continue to amaze me how many Ugandans have not heard about the young Dutch woman who went missing in Murchison Falls. This includes prominent people, even at Ugandan Wildlife Authority. Is a tourist who disappears too difficult to deal with, and then conveniently forgotten? Or simply not important? We don't know. 

Who is Sophia?

She was born and raised in Amsterdam. The eldest child and only daughter. She has two younger brothers. An enthusiastic, attractive and ambitious young woman with a true zest for life.

In 2012 she receives her European I.B. diploma (with a double science profile) from the Vossius Gymnasium in Amsterdam. Her ambition to become an actress is traded in for that of becoming a doctor. She passes  the entrance exams and starts studying Medicine at the University of Amsterdam. She passes all her exams and this past summer obtains her Bachelor degree. She doesn’t  want to continue on to her Masters immediately and decides to take a gap year. ‘After my Masters I can’t do that anymore, so I’m doing it now’, she says.

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