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Week 14

If there was a theme for this week it might be ‘borders’, or rather, crossing borders. All of our teams are on or have just crossed a border, and in our World Medicine big picture the crossing of borders has become something central to our new London project. More of that later in the diary, but for now, where are our teams?

headerThe tigers are approaching the Austrian border and have a very beautiful route now to get there – they’re on what’s known as the Danube Cycle Path – doesn’t it sound beautiful?! I can feel a song coming on… It’s especially nice that the tigers are on the cycle path as Chloe and Sally, intrepid team members, cover a lot of their miles on a bicycle or exercise bike, so you get a reward for your hard work. The route of the cycle path from just north of Deggendorf to Passau is very beautiful. Hopefully you’ll have had a chance to call in to the Benedictine Abbey of Metten, just north of Deggendorf. It has one of the most stunningly beautiful libraries you can imagine. Click the image to enlarge it, to get a flavour!

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Metten Abbey Library

As the Tigers head for Austria the wee monkey and the snow leopards have just reached Serbia, crossing the border at Subotica, which we were introduced to a while ago thanks to the peacock-feather windows of the amazing synagogue, and so much other Art-Nouveau architecture found there. The wee monkeys are no doubt taking a look around and may well have headed to Palić Nature Park to meet some other wee monkeys – it’s home to Palić Zoo, among other things!

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Novi Sad

The snow leopards have whizzed past and they’re well on the way to Novi Sad further to the south. It, too, looks to be a fascinating and beautiful city. It appears to be known as ‘the city of young people, music and good fun” – just had a wee check on who is in team snow leopard and realise you all fit the description!! So you can all let your hair down! The web site I’ve linked to for Novi Sad has a section that greatly pleases a Scotsman – it’s “Spend a Day in Novi Sad With Only €5!” Who could resist!

Another team and another border – for the peacocks it’s the border between Bulgaria and Turkey, though there’s another border crossing at the same point, the border into Greece. But those single-minded peacocks were having none of the delights of Greece, strutting forward into Turkey as planned. Their first major stop-off was the town of Edirne with it’s impressive mosque, pictured at the top of the page. If you have any interest in Ottoman architecture, Edirne is the place for you – home to four grand mosque complexes, Turkey’s most finely restored synagogue, and several well-preserved Ottoman-era bridges. A real delight.

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JRS in Wapping, London

So there we are, all our teams are crossing borders at the moment. World Medicine, too, is crossing a border, with plans announced this week for a new project for those who have had to cross perhaps many borders in their recent lives – refugees and asylum seekers. The new project ‘Refugee Friends Clinic’ is due to open its doors on August 18th, hosted by the Jesuit Refugee Service in Wapping, in London. This is a project very close to my heart – I worked for many years with the Jesuit Refugee Service, both in London and abroad, so it’s particularly thrilling for me that World Medicine have made this link.

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Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ

We’ll hear much more about the project in the coming weeks but for those who don’t know about the Jesuit Refugee Service, I’ll give  bit of background. The Jesuits are a Catholic religious order working throughout the world. In 1980, the head of the Jesuits at the time, Fr Pedro Arrupe, saw what was happening in SE Asia with the Vietnamese boat people and realised that the Jesuits were in a position to do something practical to help and ease the suffering of people. Jesuits and friends of the Jesuits volunteered to work in camps throughout Asia and the programme grew to be in all continents in only a few years.

Though it’s a programme of the Catholic Church it’s a programme open to all, and the refugee friends who attend the centre are from all faiths and none. this is important for World Medicine, whose core values determine our  work and our partners. JRS fit these extremely well – they share them in every way, so it’s a wonderful match. I look forward to hearing more as the months go by. And if anyone wants me to write more about JRS I’m happy to do so.

So that’s the diary for another week. This week our teams covered 431 miles between them, another fantastic effort. No donations were received this week, but with news of our new Refugee Friends Clinic perhaps we can be more focussed on fundraising in the weeks to come.

Well done on an other fabulous week and enjoy the week ahead.