It's an early start today for a trip by Eurostar to Brussels to meet the wonderful Alfred Woeger for a catch up (he was the Project Officer for my EU/ICMPD Sierra Leone trip), to collect some gifts sent by a lovely Hotel Mariam waitress for me and to discuss the MIEUX projects for 2014. It is great to see him! We enjoy a glass of thick Belgian Hot Chocolate (I try not to think what it is doing to my cholesterol levels) before going to the ICMPD office to meet Chantal Lacroix, Deputy Head of Mission, and the rest of the team. Everyone is great, so many different and interesting backgrounds. Chantal has some ideas of where I could possibly add my expertise at the end of the year which we discuss and Alfred talks to me about potentially leading a training in Rwanda this summer. I have already been added to a proposal for a MIEUX action in Georgia* so it is all very interesting.
(*Not the 'Always On My Mind' or 'Midnight Train To' one although maybe like me you'll be singing those songs all day now)
I have lunch with the team and then spend the afternoon looking at the European Parliament buildings and sit in the sunshine thinking of Sierra Leone. Alima, who I enjoyed meeting so much last year in Freetown, has sent me a carved plaque along with a necklace and earrings for me to remember her by (Alfred brought it back from a recent trip). Alima, I remember you clearly. I remember the cassava chips you made at home and brought in for me as I had discovered I loved cassava root. I remember how very kind you were to me all week. I remember I gave you the bracelet I was wearing that my Mum had made me and how pleased you were. I remember how different our lives were economically and how I wished the differences could be ended. I remember too how we were the same too, hard working women with families and friends who want to be kind to others. Thanks Alima, I remember you. I send love.