In Memoriam: Monique Paanakker 15 May 1966 – 25 January 2023


In Memoriam: Monique Paanakker 15 May 1966 – 25 January 2023

For every Dutch person who lived in Ghana between 1995 and 2018, Monique Paanakker was the contact person at the Netherlands embassy. Moreover, for many of us Monique WAS the embassy. In case you had a question or problem; you called Monique. The phrase “You should call Monique” is for many of us Dutchies a well-known phrase. Even though she could not always help you, she always tried.

Monique came to Ghana as the secretary of the Netherlands ambassador in Accra, after being posted in Nigeria and Yemen for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also for the post in Ghana, the idea was to stay for 3 of 4 years and move to another country. However, she met Jimmy Khubchandani and it became very quickly clear that the two of them were made for each other. Over the years they became one of the good examples that mixed marriages can work. Monique decided to stay in Ghana and moved to the visa section of the embassy, in which capacity most of us have known her. Monique was also well known for her work for the Netherlands school. She served a few years in the Board and was one of the drivers to find a new location for the school.

Monique was serious and dedicated to every task she was doing. At the same time, she enjoyed life to its fullest. She and Jimmy enjoyed having friends over for dinner parties at their place, Monique was a very accomplished cook, or for a barbecue at the beach or at the house of Jimmy’s parents in Airport Residential. At every event, either organized by the Netherlands school or embassy, Monique was part of the organizing committee and among the first to hit the dancefloor.

Among friends Monique was well known for her remarkable positive attitude. She never complained. In case there was something she didn’t like, she made a joke and laughed about it. That positive attitude made her enjoy life, every moment of it. She remained to have that positive attitude when she became sick two years ago. With all of her positive energy, she was ready for the battle. And even when she knew at one moment that she was not going to make it, she comforted her friends by saying that it is okay to cry, as long as we say goodbye with a smile.

With the passing away of Monique, the Dutch community has lost one of its pillars. We will remember Monique as the positive, energetic person she was. Although we will miss her dearly, we will smile when thinking about the wonderful memories we have of her.

Monique passed away on January 25th, 2023, and leaves behind husband Jimmy and daughter Emily.

Written by Manon Dohmen

GNBCC | News