“Internationally minded people and plenty of work opportunities: it’s easy to build a life here,” says Don Duma.
Meet Don Duma, a South African IT and business specialist who moved to the Jakobstad region in 2009. Don opens up about his experiences as an expatriate, how he found the answer to the “big question”, and coaching his son’s football team.
Why did you move to the region? My wife, Johanna, is from Jakobstad. We met in South Africa, reconnected in England, and lived in Sweden for a year. Once engaged, “the big question” came up: “where are we going to live?”. We chose Jakobstad as I’d visited before, and Johanna has her family here.
Was it easy to settle in? I came during the 2009 crisis — the worst time to find work. But I got help finding an internship which turned into a position as an IT Project Specialist. And the weather and climate was a step up from the UK. I think I was wet 80% of the time while living there — it rained a lot!
What’s the best thing about your job? I’ll soon start my new role as Business Systems Coordinator for Beamex. I’m looking forward to learning from people who are experts in their fields and using my IT and business skills to make changes for the better.
What’s the best thing about the region? The opportunities! If you know what you want and are a goal-oriented person, you can fulfil your potential here. There are equal opportunities for everyone.
Where do you live? In Jakobstad. We live by a lake, close to town but in a quiet area. It’s peaceful, and safe for the kids.
What do you do after work? I go for long nature walks. I love the serenity and being able to listen to my own thoughts. Then, my three kids, Linett (11), Isak (9), and Samuel (5) play football. I coach Isak’s team and follow the kids’ matches and training sessions. I also work out in the gym.
What’s on your regional bucket list? I used to play squash and there’s the big paddle centre here. I’d like to give paddle a go. And I’d like to try snow shoeing.