Unterwegs...

The nomadic life of Mara & Raf

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 tested Covid positive on the morning of the wedding and could therefore not attend. Other than that, the party was fantastic, the food delicious, the…
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…
Przemyśl, Poland
On the 24th of April war started in Ukraine. Many people fled across the border to neighbouring countries and the largest number fled to Poland. I went on a support and assessment visit there to see how the small Salvation Army there (we have a presence in only four…
Hemel Hempstead
Over time, this blog has also become a place for us to compile pictures of small events and random moments which don’t warrant a post of their own. Here’s another little collection of pictures from life during recent weeks: We had some friends, family and neighbours around, went to…
Hemel Hempstead
Our bags were pretty much packed and we were ready to go on a jet plane to Germany for our first trip abroad for almost two years. And then everything changed again. The omicron variant took off in England, travel regulations changed, and it became clear that we’d need…
Cape Town
Every time another niece or nephew is added to our wider family, we become aware of the wonderful miracle of new life. Raf’s sister Tabitha gave birth to Asher at home a few days ago, and we are again so amazed and excited….
Cape Town
Raf became close friends with Cindy while they were both at Cornerstone College in Cape Town. And because Cindy and her partner Bettina later also lived in London for a good number of years we  were able to spend many special moments all together. But in addition to Cape…
Hemel Hempstead
Moving is hard work. Eight trips by minivan, three trips with brother-in-law Matthew’s car and ten trips with our small car later and we have managed to move most of our belongings from Finchley to Apsley. There was some painting to do as well as ripping off wallpapers, some…
London, UK
It’s the time of farewells. Mara is saying goodbye to her boss Alison, who she has known since her first deployment in Pakistan in 2006. In addition to Alison, Birgitte, the head of the department under which Mara’s section of the International Emergency Section falls is also retiring. We are…
London, UK
While Covid continues to wreak havoc around the world, some restrictions have been lifted here in the UK in recent weeks. That has meant that we’ve been able to meet friends and family in small numbers and could even enjoy having some sleepover guests. But we are also still mostly working…