Unterwegs...

The nomadic life of Mara & Raf

Hemel Hempstead
The autumn season in England can be rather wet and gloomy, and the prospect of a long cold winter ahead is not the most exciting for us. So, the nice moments with family and family brighten up our lives even more. It’s been great to have many people staying over as well, including Mara’s brother from central Germany and Raf’s brother from Berlin, who both came with their respective families….
Jo'burg, South Africa
Every year the development offices and development and emergency practitioners of The Salvation Army come together for a Programme Resources Consultancy Group (PRCG) conference to exchange ideas and best practices and to learn from each other. Sometimes these conferences are virtual but occasionally it’s an in-person gathering. It was…
Hemel Hempstead
Someone once commented on this blog, saying our pictures mostly seem to be of us having meals in various constellations. And yes, to some extent that is true, of course. Maybe it’s because we do eat regularly. In fact, we do so every day. And eating together with friends…
Harare, Zimbabwe
This has not been the first disaster preparedness training I’ve been involved with; far from it. But thanks to Covid-19 it’s been a while since I have had the chance to facilitate one of these training events abroad. The last one was in 2019 in Indonesia, and it was…
Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Together with my brother David and housemate Ieva, I went to a Coldplay concert at Wembley Stadium. What a spectacular show! Lights, balloons, confetti and fireworks. We all contributed to the show with the wristbands we had received at the entrance. These were coordinated and lit up in different…
Lavaux, Belgium
Preparations for the celebration of Mara’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary were in full swing in early 2020, but as with so many things, Covid put a hold to those plans. But now, more than two years later, we’ve finally been able to mark the (more than) fifty years of…
Luxembourg
This was a little outing to Luxembourg with some of the family while we were staying near the border in Belgium. Supposedly, the visit had nothing at all to do with the fact that this place was still missing on Mara’s list of ‘country points’ ;-) But let’s just…
Sheffield, UK
Raf follows football at various levels, but Mara only pays attention when there’s a colourful international tournament going on. With the women’s Euro taking place in England this year, it was a good opportunity to watch some games in the stadium and spend some time with friends and family…
Gosforth, Lake District, UK
The second part of our trip to the Lake District involved staying in a yurt on a farm, surrounded by lots and lots of bleating sheep. We love hot summer weather, but having just experienced the hottest day in England’s recorded history, the cooler weather and the sea breeze…
Keswick, Lake District, UK
The Lake District in the north west of England with its lakes and fells (hills) is the perfect location for walking. Spending some time there had been on our to-do list for a while, and the visit of our wonderful friend Anett from Germany created the perfect opportunity for…
Nakuru, Kenya
Elections in Kenya haven’t always been peaceful (see some previous blog entries from 2013 and 2017). The Salvation Army is keen to break this cycle of violence and promote peace in the weeks leading up to the elections. Similar to previous election years, this started with a workshop but…
Hannover, Germany
Lizzy, our close friend, who we have known for more than 20 years, got married to Stefan and they invited us to their party in Hannover. Raf had a few days off before the party and travelled to Berlin to visit his brother Sammy and family. Unfortunately, he then…
Stuttgart Germany
I decided that it might make sense to stay on the continent between the training in the Netherlands and a conference in Denmark, which also meant I was able to spend some days at my parents’ place and work from there. My sister Priska and her family also live…
Ede-Wageningen, Netherlands
Training has always been part of my responsibilities, and after two years of travel restrictions it was great to be in a classroom full of enthusiastic students again. With delegates from the Netherlands, Czechia, Belgium, Poland, Finland, Germany and the UK, as well as my co-trainer Chris, I spent…
Benifallet, Spain
Easter had a Spanish-Polish-Ukrainian-French-British-German-South African flavour for us this year. We were in Spain and spent the Easter weekend with a group of twelve people, seven cats, one dog and two birds. Our good friends Anna and Remi, whom we have visited a few times before, also had some…
Palanca border, Moldova
Moldova is another neighbouring country of Ukraine, which I have now been able to visit. Despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe, people welcome their fleeing neighbours with open hearts. The Salvation Army provides emergency accommodation for up to 100 people each night. Most of them only…
Siret border, Romania
After having visited Poland, I went on another support visit, this time to Romania, also a neighbouring country of Ukraine. Again, the Salvation Army is not huge but we have now established two major relief operation locations (plus some smaller scale work in the four other places where we…