Thursday, 20 May 2010


by Nicolle Beeby, SANGONet

Okay, another gathering – workshop! This time on another continent! So what? And then aptly named – ComPart too – Communication among Partners. If communication is your game – why was I trekked halfway across the world to have a face-to-face discussion? “Catch you online” is my favourite saying as part from friends or acquaintances I usually chat to on one of my many chat applications – which are all integrated into Pidgin … Don’t want my gtalk, msn, yahoo messenger and skype all popping up as soon as I log on… Yes! I’m just that famous! J

Sooo… let this journey begin properly. A few months ago, SANGONeT was contacted by Pete Cranston attend the Compart Enablers Workshop in Soesterberg, Netherlands from 18 – 21 May. Yours truly was requested to attend this auspicious occasion. Now, you may be reading this and thinking – WOW! but this young lady is ungrateful… However, I’m working toward to something … just go with the flow ;-)

Rewind to four weeks ago and I need to get a VISA. Now, if I knew that, that process would be so horrific, I would’ve had myself cloned just to take the hour long drive to Pretoria to queue at the Dutch Embassy on my behalf… needless to say, the only appointment I could get was for 12 May – with a 48 hour wait … and wait for it! Wait for it!! The Embassy was closed on 13 and 14 May for Dutch public holidays. Well, I’m not entirely blaming them – they did after all accommodate me by guaranteeing my visa to be ready on the 17th of May – the day I had to be in Netherlands already. Good enough I suppose… I did eventually get here! My tale of woes does not end there however, upon arrival at the O R Tambo airport in Johannesburg – it turned out that I was SIX hours too early! Due to volcanic ash over Europe - my flight was delayed by three hours… hmmm… now who to blame for that one?

Anyway… the food and hospitality on the plane was lovely, the flight itself was pleasant and found walking through customs to be a breeze! Imagine that! From frowning faces at the South African Dutch Embassy to delightful smiles upon arrival at Schipol in Amsterdam. Now now, don’t mistake my sudden outburst of sweetness, my woes have not ended! YET!

Soooo… Nicolle makes her grand entrance at the Kontakt der Kontinenten in Soesterberg, just outside Utrecht! And welcomed by an awesome bunch of warm smiles, leaving me feeling like Miss Universe had just entered the building (Where’s my crown people?)… is it in the water? Why is everyone in the Netherlands so happy? I mean, there’s a dark cloud hanging over you, for heaven’s sake – where is the doom and gloom? Or is it just me?

Well… turns out – it was just me! GERMS!! They spoil everything…

BUT! All was not lost… this was just day one… And Thanks to Michelle’s contagious laughter at the dinner table, Oudou and Hempal clicking away at their camera’s (I did say I felt like Miss Universe, right? Well, if there’s no crown – 50 Euros will also do J *hint hint nudge nudge*), to interesting conversations with Danny and of course, Diego being a great sport by allowing me to use our ZOOOOOOOOM video over here… Let’s just put it this way, the ice princess was starting to melt. And rapidly too… while very low on energy and growing weaker and weaker… Pete, my knight in shining armour comes to my rescue with meds – and again the sun that never sets in Netherlands starts to shine even brighter for Nicolle. Special thank you to the amazing group of participants… meeting and working with you all has certainly been a pleasure … Hope to stay in touch… in fact – in classic social media style… Click here and become my friend on facebook!

I guess at some point I have to mention something about the workshop, right? Well click here and get the low down on the past two days on the ComPart Wiki!

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