Mechelen - Refugee Walk 09/2018 - Margot Wolfs
          
Mechelen - Refugee Walk 09/2018
30 September 2018
All pictures in this album are made with a Huawei mobile phone.
Do not ever participate at the Refugee Walk of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen (an organization to help refugees, Flanders) or get involved with them or support them. I found a publicity postcard about it. 40 km walk in Mechelen area to raise money for refugees. After hesitating – long time ago I did walks of 30 km but I not ever did 40 km – I decided to enroll. To enroll you had to pay 30 euros and they also asked to find yourself sponsors. But you know, I am the most lonely person on earth. Who is going to sponsor me ? I put it twice on Twitter and twice on Facebook, but no one sponsored me. And how many organisations are not begging for money ? I thought they would be happy with my 30 euros. So on 30 September I got up at 5 in the morning to be at 8 at Mechelen Nekkerhal. In itself already an exploit. I arrived, went to register myself and then the woman said me, oh, they said me that you have to see a woman who sits there. Me surprised. The payment was done, so what else ? Not understanding. So I went to see the other woman when the first woman I saw stood up to see if I actually went to see that woman. I got a very angry discourse of that other woman : it was not okay that I didn’t have any sponsors, I had to find sponsors in the run of the week. I had to say her with tears in my eyes that I have no family and no friends and no one to sponsor me. She answered that like this no, that was not the intention, that it couldn’t be like that. The woman next to her said that it was easy to find sponsors, that then I should bake waffles and sell them at my job. At that point I even didn’t feel like saying I hadn’t a job, that I never baked a waffle in my entire life and that I don’t have the equipment for it. And so much hate and sadness … So Flemish, so office style. A colleague baking waffles for her colleagues to raise money for something. So … I wanted to vomit as I hate the entire “office” thing and I wanted to cry and cry and cry. Is that a social organization helping people ? When they treat you like that ? My 30 euros were obviously not good enough for them. On their website stood that there were 2 people working a year long at this 1 day Refugee Walk – so you know where the money goes to and that it is not going to the refugees (in the meantime they changed that on the website). I wanted to take the first train back to Brussels but after the effort I did to get there, the mental and also a bit physical preparation, and the knowledge that if I would return to Brussels no one would even care I left.
I discovered on the walk this extremely beautiful area in Belgium “Mechelen Broek”. I don’t know how it does look the rest of the year but on an early September morning it looked amazing. Not that the other walkers seemed to care very much, they were talking and talking and talking to each other without enjoying and looking around in silence at this beautiful nature. But now it’s just all full of bad memories for me.
I ended up giving up because I noticed that my too heavy and too stiff mountain walking boots were not good for very fast walking on flat ground. I stopped after a bit more than the first 12 km. I was in such a pain that everybody was passing me and it seemed useless to make it worse, also because I can’t depend on anyone to get home. In the meantime I bought other walking boots.
But no, not ever again I want anything to have to do with Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen. I thought that my situation would enable me to start doing volunteering work, and it made that they lost someone who could have volunteered for them.
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