Posts Tagged ‘Peace Palace’

This is my final post from The Hague, and will be a mash-up of places we went, things we did, and even though there’s an overload of photos, there’s a video (or two) too!

In case you didn’t catch them, parts one and two are here and here.

This video was made by Royce Lyssah Malabonga just before her presentation on her home country, The Philippines!

The day before we left, we went to the Grote Markt (a market that has a large sit out area that the pubs in the area use) and there was a band playing songs from all over the world. It was so much fun! We danced to music we didn’t understand, lol.

It was so much fun! Singing and dancing to songs we didn’t know, and all the yelling! Guess what? I was chatting to Paulien about the number of bicycles in The Hague and if she ever forgets where she’s parked hers. She said it wasn’t really about forgetting but about them getting stolen, and that bicycle theft is the biggest crime in the country. Bicycle theft? We’d take that here over Boko Haram, the ‘unknown gunmen’, and the kidnappers in a heart beat!

Anyway, a few pictures from our day out at Peace Palace!

Outside peace palace! Thanks to Director Chris for the fabulous photo!

Outside peace palace! Thanks to Director Chris for the fabulous photo!

Lunch at peace palace... Lots of greens, a lovely brown bread sandwich, and apple juice! Yummy but I was hungry soon after!

Lunch at peace palace… Lots of greens, a lovely brown bread sandwich, and apple juice! Yummy but I was hungry soon after!

Ice cream galore! (There are one too many ice cream pictures - I had only one!)

Ice cream galore! (There are one too many ice cream pictures – I had only one!)

Nigeria, Botswana, and Uganda represented!

Nigeria, Botswana, and Uganda represented!

And a few more!

Miss Colombia!!

Miss Colombia!!

Dinner at an Italian place (don't remember the name now... Just know that my pasta and salmon was fab!

Dinner at an Italian place (don’t remember the name now… Just know that my pasta and salmon was fab!

My dear Kaushalya from Sri Lanka!! Thank you for taking all the amazing photos!

My dear Kaushalya from Sri Lanka!! Thank you for taking all the amazing photos!

I know I've used this before but I had to use it again! Nigeria's the best country, warts and all!

I know I’ve used this before but I had to use it again! Nigeria’s the best country, warts and all!

Now, some of the boys had been to Amsterdam the evening before (and I didn’t know, sob), and even though I had moved my ticket forward by 12 hours, it didn’t look like I was going to make it to Amsterdam to see the sights (including the Red Light District)!

I had given up, when Yama came over and asked if I still wanted to go. Yama is from Afghanistan, but has lived in The Netherlands for the past 15 years. He’s a data and securities professional, and loves fashion too! Of course I still wanted to go but time check? 10pm!

Silindile and Charity were up for it, and so we left! Had to get back to hotel studio to get his car (and Lord knows how we passed our tram stop), but by 11pm, we were driving to Amsterdam! With Kaushalaya, who had woken up, heard we were going, and jumped in the car!

We played music all the way, ranging from Ice Prince’s Oleku to DJ Cleo’s Bafana Bafana, whoop!

Like Yama warned, I was disappointed with the Red Light District. Not like the women weren’t in the windows or anything, but (and I’d hate to sound judgmental), I wondered how the women (and men, and transvestites) felt each night after ‘work’. Happy? Sad? Invaded? Was a very sad thought.

We had chips from the best spot in Amsterdam (thanks to Yama), and then after looking around a bit, it was a drive back to The Hague! Got in about 3.20am, and everyone just dropped into bed!

Massive thank you to Yama for driving us there, buying us drinks (and those extra juicy strawberries Charity picked out), and for being the perfect host, and gentleman. Thank you!

Four musketeers... Silindile, Kaushalya, me, and Charity! Photo credit: Yama!

Four musketeers… Silindile, Kaushalya, me, and Charity! Photo credit: Yama!

Really fancy hotel... most beautiful in the whole of the country according to Yama!

Really fancy hotel… most beautiful in the whole of the country according to Yama!

Midnight fries baby! Best spot for chips in Amsterdam, again according to Yama! I think I agree!

Midnight fries baby! Best spot for chips in Amsterdam, again according to Yama! I think I agree!

 

Selfie before we got into the car for the drive back to The Hague. Time check? 2am!

Selfie before we got into the car for the drive back to The Hague. Time check? 2am!

We all woke up late (of course), and it was off to The Concordia for our closing session. Nooo!!! We didn’t want to go! After a couple speeches and thank you’s (including the Director’s weird but very sweet dream about the participants, Ban Ki-Moon and a marriage involving me and two of the guys, lol), we received our certificates of participation, signed our big eight (signifying our happiness rating out of 10), and Hope XXL Triple A Summit was officially over!

This isn't the end Paulien, we will do you proud!

This isn’t the end Paulien!

Big thank you to Paulien Boone, Chris Vaan De Ven, Koos, and all the other organisers for their overwhelming hospitality! To the staff and chef at The Concordia, thank you for the amazing meals, yum, yum, yum!

To all the new friends I made ( I won’t list names so I don’t offend), it was an honor meeting you, and I look forward to hearing marvelous things about you!

I had an amazing time!

Next stop? Russia? Siberia? The Himalayas? I honestly don’t know yet!

Enhanced by Zemanta

By the second day, everyone had made friends, cliques had been formed, ad people generally knew who they were more comfortable hanging with.

We went to China town (isn’t it incredible how there’s a china town literally everywhere you go)? Dinner was fab though, and it was nice sitting and chatting with Sirenya (South Africa), Silindile (Botswana), and Kaushalaya (Sri Lanka) – lovely, lovely people!

Somehow, I had a lot of work to deal with from home, and by the end of the day, my presentation was moved to the next day.  Didn’t mind much though, because our sessions would hold at the world-famous Peace Palace!

The Peace Palace (also called the international sear of law) is a historic building, housing things like the International Court of Justice. By 2013, it had been in standing for 100 years, and is one of the United Nations heritage sites. Beautiful, breathtaking, I could go on and on!

Of course we took pictures!

IMG_2236 IMG_2402 IMG_2405





IMG_2423

I presented a 20 minutes talk on ‘Young people and politics – transcending borders and maximizing impact via social media’.

It was such an honor to talk about Nigeria, to plot the graph of our social media usage and how, regardless of the horrible things we’re seeing now, we’re coming into our own because we recognize we have a voice and boy are we going to use it! I’m so proud of my peers, of every young person who is daring to be different in their little corners – it is because of you that there is hope for this country!

Of course there were questions about Boko Haram being a Muslim vs Christian war, the abduction of the 200+ girls from Chibok, Borno, and the usefulness (or not) of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. Here’s a summary of my answers:

  1. Boko Haram is not a religious war – it is the ambition of a few made manifest in the most devilish way.
  2. The fact that 45 days after we still cannot agree on the exact number of girls missing is absolute cause for concern.
  3. The day we did the march to the National Assembly and got drenched in the rain, the Chibok community in Abuja thanked us for standing with them when no one believed their children were missing. When we saw international support (in the form of the celebrities and movements springing up to echo the hashtag), we (I know I did) felt encouraged to keep going out, day after day, after day. Are there people who have hijacked the hashtag for their selfish ambitions? Of course! Doesn’t take away from the fact that we need our girls back, now and alive!

IMG_2359

*While I am not particularly impressed with the ‘West’ coming in to help, I believe that the light the international community has shone on Nigeria and our practices will hopefully, embarrass us into effecting changes we desperately need.

There was another presentation by from , and I really loved learning about her country. Loved it! Plus she’s got such a love for travel and adventure, and a signature shot she does in each country!

IMG_7755

Enough of the talk, here are a few more pictures!

IMG_2439

 

IMG_2445

Later that evening we had a speech performance by …. She’s amazing! Like, each time she was doing a speech, the hall would be so quiet it was incredible! She’s so good! Wish I would steal her and plant her in a room with our leaders so she can coach them. She’s so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta