“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Traveling is useful if you can experience new habits: different traditions, different food…traveling means the capacity to adapt to new housing situations and find new strategies that help you overcome the difficulties. The participants activated the capacity to face unexpected situations, like it happened with the flight cancellation.”, said the educators from IRPEA Foundation after the return from Belgium.
Both Italian partners, Fondazione IRPEA and Associazione C’entro participated to the exchange week in Belgium, hosted by the team of ANDAGE in the area of Charleroi, Arville and Daverdisse villages.
The first destination of the mixed groups: Bruxelles, the heart of Europe! Then a visit in the rural area, by Fourneau Saint -Michel, to the “Iron Museum”, together with another group of people with disabilities form the Saja de Aye daily center.
While the professionals met for a common reflection of thematics linked to the autonomous life of the persons with disabilities, the two groups of participants had an unofficial “coffee contest”, comparing the Belgian coffee to Italian one…without declaring the winner, with a spirit of absolute “fair play”!
The moments of leisure accompanied the more intense ones, like the visit to the MUDIA Interactive Museum.
The mobility week ended with a visit to a symbolic place, with a high historical value: the Boiz du Cazier coal mine in Marcinelle, close to Charleroi, unfortunately known as the site of the mining disaster form the 8th of August 1956, where 252 men died inside. Among them, numerous Italian immigrants. Making the visit together with the Belgian friends reminds all of us the recent history of our old Europe, where all of us need to be hosted and to host in turn.
The farewell was not easy, but both Italian and Belgian groups come out of this experience with a wider understanding of local and national values and the desire to engage in new travel experiences.