All those who like traveling know very well the importance of a good guide when you go to visit a new city. I was very lucky to have such a guide for our tour to the city of Brugge in Belgium. This guide was most informative, patient and had a great sense of humor. When he gave us historical information, because he mixed it with anecdotes, one seemed to remember them better. He also told us how he has to not change but rather modify the event depending on the nationality of the visitors so they won't be upset. I am sure many of his tourists, if not all, smile as they think back to their visit and his stories.
I was in Brugge because in the last week of November I was one of a number of women delegates who went to Brussels as part of a female initiative program which aims to build bridges of understanding, cooperation and friendship between our two nations (Iran and Belgium). We first went to Brussels and visited a school, the Léon Lepage Brussels high school. We attended an open forum at the University (ULB) where those present asked questions from us in the panels about our experiences, our work as well as lives and interests in Iran.
We met Women parliamentarians during a working lunch which was very interesting and also met members of a few different committees, including the European Union as well as Belgian officials. One of the highlights of the trip for me was the Breast Cancer unit at St. Pierre Hospital where women will not only be cured but cared for. The head of the department was a most admirable and professional lady surgeon who welcomed us and informed us about what they do there, how they look at this female problem and deal with it effectively and expediently. Then, she took us around to see the ward and different sections. I was truly impressed and I could only wish that such a department may one day be set up at many Iranian Hospitals, run and operated by professional women doctors, surgeons and technicians; as for now we are far from it, especially I can tell from my past year experiences in and out of hospitals.
One night we went to a concert and listened to polyphony of the 13th century, which consisted of singing only without any instruments. One of the most important and significant visits which we had was attending Amazone which is a national resource center for equality between women and men. You may visit the website and learn about it at www.amazone.be. This place was opened in 1995 and it is run as a cooperative of resident NGOs (non governmental organizations). It is indeed a great achievement and a source of great joy for the women there. I deeply hope, pray and keep my fingers crossed, that one day, not too far in the distant, Iranian women have such a place for our women NGOs. Amen!
On the last day of the program the organizers took us all to visit the beautiful 2000 year old city of Brugge, which is in the Flemish (those with Dutch background) part of Belgium. It has a most interesting history and has been through many ups and downs. If you ever go to Belgium I highly recommend that you pay a visit to this lovely city. This is the official web site of Brugge: www.brugge.be.
... Payvand News - 1/4/05 ... --