Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Belgium

Over the weekend I took a trip back to Liege to see the people at the kids' home I used to work at, and to see a concert that was being put on there. As I have mentioned before, I have various reservations about the constant presence of trainees and volunteers in the home, especially since the latter need have absolutely no training or interest (theoretically) in the field. I am left optimistically thinking that I can't have been that bad myself, after all, I tried my best and the kids seem to like me when I go back, but then I realise that they are also attached to the people whose actions led to them being taken into care, and so that perhaps isn't the best measure of someone's character.

As a self-respecting (?) adult (??) I decided to travel by Eurostar and train this time, instead of by coach. I normally go by coach mostly because it is very little effort, you can take a lot of baggage and the tickets are cheap. Despite this, I made a promise to myself when coming back from Stuttgart to Lincolnshire by coach that I would never, ever do that again - over the maybe 20 hour journey, I got to the point of sleeplessness, travel sickness and general irritation with my fellow passengers that I decided that it was never, ever going to be worth it to put myself through that again. We'll see whether I end up with enough money to stick to that decision!

In any case, the concert was a great success, and featured a singer who lives in Belgium but who is originally from Ireland ("One of you!" I was told. I strongly suggested that they might not want to say that to him...). What I did find interesting, though, was the dynamic of this concert, whose aim was to raise money for the children's home. Those who had bought a ticket were put directly next to the kids, who didn't necessarily want to be at the concert, and who, I felt, were being put on display in a sort of attempt to allow the audience to feel good about themselves rather than building any sort of connection. I am very sceptical of the idea that encouraging financial donations should come before the comfort of the kids who are meant to be benefiting from this charity, especially in their own home.


I really do enjoy catching up with everyone, though - hopefully I will get to visit again in summer before I head off to Germany. Not quite sure what the plan is there - much too busy worrying about exams and my current travels to think about July!

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