Unterwegs...

The nomadic life of Mara & Raf

Zürich, Switzerland
Once a year, the main Development (Supporting) Offices of the Salvation Army meet to discuss emerging topics and issues relevant for our development and humanitarian work. This year’s meeting took place in Zürich and apart from some good discussions about decolonisation and social justice, it was lovely catching up with colleagues and friends, especially Martin, a Swiss Salvation Army officer who used to work at IHQ….
Hemel Hempstead
The first few months of 2023 have kept us busy with a number of short trips for Mara (see separate posts) and work at university for Raf as usual, but in between we’ve had lovely times with friends, food, football and other little moments of joy….
Dallas, Texas, USA
My IES team (International Emergency Services) together with the US Development team (SAWSO) of the Salvation Army recently facilitated the Global Forum on Displacement in Dallas. The forum was planned as a global addition to the (much bigger) ‘Better Together Conference’ organised by the US with 1800 people from The…
Stuttgart, Germany
The concept of ‘home’ is a bit fluid for us, but being in Ruit, where Mara grew up, certainly feels like being at home as much as any other place on the planet. We had a good time with the family over the Easter weekend and already look forward…
Bucharest, Romania
Delegates from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Georgia and Bulgaria participated in a special training programme in Bucharest, which was facilitated by our team. Some of the content of the training sessions was similar to that of previous training courses focussing on disaster and conflict preparedness and response, but this time…
Prague, Czech Republic
From Wednesday to Friday I attended a Ukraine Response MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) in Prague with colleagues from Ukraine and several neighbouring countries as well as various international development offices. As a little bonus, Rebsi and Anetti joined me on Friday and we spent a wonderful weekend…
Sindh, Pakistan
Six months after last year’s floods started in Pakistan, I went on a monitoring and support visit to discuss potential recovery activities. This is how the government summarised the difficult situation in a post-disaster needs assessment: “Between June and August 2022, torrential rains and a combination of riverine, urban,…
Cape Town
The last time we were in Cape Town in December was eight years ago, so it feels special to be able to celebrate Christmas with Raf’s family this year. The focus of the trip has been to connect with family and friends, and as it’s summertime in South Africa…
Hemel Hempstead
Snow in England means slippery and muddy footpaths, unpredictable traffic, disrupted public transport and generally cold weather. But, of course, it’s also beautiful when everything is covered in white and it’s a fun time to take pictures outside. Here are some of the photos we took, as well as…
Lagos, Nigeria
Inspired by the peace building efforts in Kenya (see here) the Salvation Army in Nigeria also started peace building activities for the months leading to the elections in February 2023. The programme started with a workshop for 30 delegates from across the country. We explored the root causes of…
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…
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…