Christmas in Flanders has some recent traditions that seem to have rooter strongly already. Studio Brussel organises for over a decade the "Music for life" charity action just before Christmas, following the example "Serious Request" from 3FM in the Netherlands. In the last 4 years anyone can organise charity activities for over 1000 organisations with a peak in the "Warmest week" just before Christmas. 3 radio DJ's camp in the cold and provide 24/7 radio/tv emissions.
Mobile School is one of the organisations for which you can organise fundraising activities, so we, the mobile school volunteers, have organised for the 4th time in a row a big charity walk #duwmee from Leuven or Sint-Niklaas to Boom where the Studio Brussel DJ's are. In total 645 people have walked part of the itinerary where we push 2 mobile schools forward in solidarity with all the youth workers across the world that bring and use one of the 44 mobile schools to the street children in all continents.
I have limited the last 2 years my involvement in the preparations to all social media communication. During 6 weeks I posted inspirational, motivational, practical announcements on our FB page, on twitter and instagram.
On 18/12 I woke up when the first group of walkers had just left Leuven and I found my messenger filled with the first shared pictures that I could use for a day of real-time social media updates. I can assure you that it is a very inspirational way to wake up and see how so many people got up and insane hours to ensure this would be happening today : volunteers bringing breakfast, people that come to walk very early in the morning already, a musician bringing music to the early brave, ...
Even though we were only going to walk a small part of the itinerary at the end of the day, the "kid's walk", I spent most of the day in the car driving up and down from home to the stops on the walk to take pictures and live post the atmosphere. All day I could hear in the car all the other charity activities and fundraisers going on everywhere across Flanders live on the radio. This is truly the "warmest week" and so heart warming to hear that despite all sour and sad news lately, all cynism and selfishness we read constantly online...that we can all as a society inspire each other to "everybody helps everybody". I sometimes had goosebumps in my car.
At 8.30 AM I could welcome the first walkers arriving at their first reststop in the morning where firepits, food, music and mobile toilets were waiting for them. At the same time I received all pictures of the 2nd itinerary in Sint-Niklaas leaving on their walk as well.
After a short visit at home again, I was just in time to see the group's arrival in Mechelen, welcomed by the drum band Fanfakids and the concert of Zeester.
After a quick ride home to pick up Jan and the kids, we drove to the next stop to join the walkers. Dressed up in fluo jackets as mandatory on this dark part of the walk , Kabouter could almost swim in his "child" jacket. With 270 walkers we hit the road again and marched towards to the point where we met the approx. 250 other walkers from the other itinerary, including my sister and her family.
Re-energised by a fun drum band and all dressed up in our best lights, we walked in a long march of 500 people into the park across the bridge in a sight that gives me goosebumps. Beforehand I had feared a bit that it would be too busy in the park for the children since they were often at full capacity in the previous years but it wasn't too bad that first Sunday evening. While I had a better view the previous years in front of the tv, now we were in the middle of the crowd. I don't have much pictures since I was live broadcasting on our FB page with the last bit of phone battery that I had left. We saw the short concert by Daan and then some of our volunteers could get on stage to give live on radio & tv some explanation of Mobile School. Our #duwmee gathered this year the fantastic amount of 36791€!!! Woohooo.
Once home we all slept well after a very busy but very rewarding day.
|Everyone takes care of everyone, the slogan of the warmest week|