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FIRST MONTH IN LIEGE: IRID AND JOCELYN

We arrived in Liege the 31th of August and the 1st of September Jocelyn respectively. At my arrival on the 31st of August, Anca, who is my mentor and the general coordinator of the project, welcomed me at my new flat and gave me a tour of the house itself; while the day after, I welcomed my colleague Jocelyn so we immediately had the opportunity to meet each other.

Due to the new Covid-19 crisis our programme of the first days has been radically modified. First of all, we could not join the preparatory visit as expected, so we directly started with the two full immersion preparatory weeks. Anyway, even this has been modified, as my roommate Jocelyn has arrived from France, which was considered a Covid19 red zone. For this reason, instead of pursuing the autonomy preparation, we spent two weeks in quarantine at home.

On one hand, this quarantine period was annoying because we could not meet other people, practice our daily living skills, have mobility courses and I could not take my French language courses, but, on the other hand, we took the opportunity to know better each other. Anyway, during this period, we stayed in touch with all Views staff members, especially with Samantha and Anca, who explained us the general flat rules and other useful information about the city of Liege as well, such as cultural events etc.

Moreover, we had also a skype meeting with Anca and Sylvie, another member of Views team, for the first induction session. We had a very interesting conversation, which inspired a deep thinking about our expectations and objectives of our project. At the same time, Philippe, my French teacher, sent me some YouTube videos and other links in order to make me improve my French skills.

After those two weeks, we met Samantha, who is the new Views responsible for administrative matters and Tamara, our daily living skills activities teacher, who helped us even during the quarantine period for urgent matters such as buying some food and teaching us on how to use the kitchen and preparing something to eat. In fact, even though I have already met them before Jocelyn’s arrival within preliminary meetings, we could not do many activities. Moreover, we started even the mobility courses with Carine, our mobility instructor and I could finally start even my French language course with Philippe.

At the fourth week after our arrival, Samantha accompanied me and Jocelyn at the Ans municipality in order to register us in Belgium. Jocelyn started his voluntary service at La Baraka one week before and I have started mine some days later, as I needed more time to learn how to go autonomously to my Views office, thanks to Carine’s patience and strong competences. During this period, I went with Philippe and Anca to La Baraka to meet Dugumbi, who is the responsible of the Center of youth, which organizes different activities for teenagers. I have been introduced to the activities of the center, as I will organize some activities by myself in order to sensitize young people about visual impairment, as expected by my ESC project.
Finally, I could go to Views office by myself on the 24th of September, when I was introduced to office and its rules for officially starting my work, even though I have started to prepare some articles for the current newsletter at home.

At the end of this article, we can say that our first month in Liege was particular, as mentioned above. In fact, we could not appreciate the city of Liege and its culture yet because of the quarantine period and for the same reason, we could not meet new people; anyway we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time staying with each other. Now that we started all our activities, we hope it will be a good period where we will try to do our best at work, could meet new people and why not? Have some fun too!