Blog

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Blog on romanmajcher.eu is a place where I write about events or experiences that are important to me for one or another reason. It is a space where family and friends can get themselves updated on my latest undertakings, and where occasional readers can learn about issues which are important to me. Enjoy the read!


London is calling!

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In a rather unexpected manner, I am travelling to London for meetings today. I will be in the UK for 4 days. I have not been in the country for 8 years, and I am excited to visit one of my favourite cities, however short the visit is! 

Impressions from Lombok and Sulawesi of Indonesia

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It is Friday evening, and I am trying to chill in my Bangkok flat after an exhausting, and quite emotional trip to Indonesia. You may remember from my previous posts that I went there to visit the humanitarian programmes that my organisations supports in earthquake/tsunami struck areas of Sulawesi and Lombok. Both of the islands have been severely affected and many of the communities undergo extremely tough set-backs that will take years to deal with. 

The humanitarian response, despite heroic efforts of some organisations, is not adequate and is of bad quality. I have a strong feeling that the people are let down by their own government and organisations that are mandated to help victims of such calamities. My journey has brought me a very sad picture: both when it comes to destruction and human cost caused by the disaster, and when considering how poor the response to the needs of the people is. We should all need to answer some tough questions, what we are learning from these situations, and how we will be doing things better in the future…

I have take some new pictures in Sulawesi and Lombok. If you are interested to have a look, please click here to view the gallery

Finally, I am travelling to London on Monday, and will be in the United Kingdom for 4 days. I will report to you, what I will be doing there soon, so please tune in!


Visiting the disaster zone

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I am writing from Palu in Central Sulawezi in Indonesia. Visiting the town and surroundings to check on how it is recovering from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the island some weeks ago. 

It is very interesting to see the area that is rising itself from ashes. Here all my respect goes to communities themselves. It is the communities and regular citizens, who make things happen. Cleaning up, rebuilding, helping one another… all done by individuals without much help from institutions meant to be there for people. Amazing. 

And today, I am turning 46… It is a great gift to celebrate your birthday with people of Sulawezi - reinventing themselves so beautifully!

On the way to Portugal

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After a tiresome travel and hectic time in Brussels, I am off to Lisbon and then Obidos in Portugal. Mum and our friends are joining from Poland too! Needless to say that I am very happy and excited to see them in the country soon. I am so excited that I am even not too worried about the winds/hurricanes which are predicted for later on tonight and tomorrow. 

When in Brussels, we discussed with my managers my options for my future postings with my organisations. In the middle of 2019, I will need to move, as I will have served in SE Asia for 4 years by then (the maximum that is allowed in one post). While nothing is decided and perhaps things will turn out to be completely different, the posting in one of the South American country was discussed! I would be very keen to work in Americas, as it would be my first professional experience from that part of the world. Let’s see what future holds! I will certainly inform you, when things become clearer.

Warsaw, Brussels and Lisbon: three European capitals in October

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The mission in Indonesia is about to finish, and I am packing again. Tomorrow, I am off to Warsaw, where I am going to stay for some hours and talk to TokFM radio about my experience of the humanitarian response to the earthquake in Palu in Sulawesi of Indonesia. Right after that, I am travelling for meetings in Brussels and then later during the weekend off to Lisbon, where I am meeting my mother and my friends. Together, we will be exploring Portugal together. The mission to Indonesia made me very tired, and I am looking forward to the trip to Europe. 

Off to Indonesia

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The consequences of the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi island of Indonesia are grave. It appears that over 1.000 died and thousands are injured. I am off to Indonesia tomorrow to check how we can contribute to the ongoing relief operations. 

I will be reporting here soon!

Earthquake and tsunami in Palu of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia

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A very powerful earthquake magnitude 7.5 RS (with number of aftershocks) hit the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia last night. Sadly, the quake resulted in a tsunami that produced waves of 3 meters high and hit the town of Palu and its vicinities. 

The calamity, so far claimed over 400 lives (the number will increase, as the search and rescue teams send in their reports) and injured thousands of people. The tsunami waves resulted in severe damages to private and public infrastructure. 

The Indonesian authorities are now rolling out the search and rescue operations, as well as started delivering the relief to the survivors. My own organisation is now considering how we should support the people in need.

I will be reporting on how the situation develops. In the meanwhile, here comes the link to the images of Palu and surroundings after the disaster.

Refugees in Mega Cities of South East Asia

UNHCR has published a movie on struggle of refugees living in South East Asia’s mega-cities of Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. I have been personally involved in the project featured in the movie. As some of you may suspect, I got interested in fate of ‘urban refugees’ after meeting Tahir. 

I hope that you enjoy this beautiful presentation. It can be accessed by clicking this link

Gender based violence in humanitarian crisis

IASC+GBV+GUIDELINES+Reduce+risk+=+GBV+prevention+and+mitigation+in+all+aspects+of+humanitarian+response.
Promote resilience = strengthen systems to prevent and mitigate – and ensure access to support. Aid recovery = support capacities to create lasting solutions.

I have just finished the training dealing with issues around gender based violence in humanitarian crisis. A very interesting and inspiring workshop - exposing complexities of humanitarian work. Delivering aid is not only sustaining and potentially saving lives, but also very much about doing it in a way that minimises exposure to abuse of the most vulnerable by the stronger ones and really powerful ones. 

Not surprisingly, but sadly, women and girls are often those who are the vulnerable ones. They experience threats and abuse from their family members, from religious leaders, community members, from police officers, aid workers, gang/mafia members, administration officers, soldiers… you name it. The threats are essentially everywhere, on the way to get food rations, on the way to and inside the community shower/toilet, while collecting firewood for cooking, on the way to fetch water, on the way to a clinic… you name it. You may be harassed/assaulted brutally by soldiers, police in a very brutal and organised manner, but also in situation that you do not expect… while trying to walk on a less attended area to fetch water, by a sick-minded officer who would only let you pass a check-point, if you ‘return a favour’ at the back room, or by someone who would tell you that you need to pay in nature for getting your life-sustaining goods (food or medicines). Tragically, sometimes you are forced to sacrifice your child daughter into marriage, even if you know that this is the biggest evil that you can do to her, just because if you do not do it, your daughter, yourself and the rest of the family will be severely punished/beaten/refused a right to exist. I could go on and on with countless of other examples. 

Although I know that there are good reasons for why this happens; it is clear that vast majority of these crimes against fellow humans (women) are committed by men. Yes, not all men have sick and criminal minds, yes men are subjected to inhumane suffering too - no doubt about it… There is however the uncomfortable truth here too: we, men, are mostly responsible for additional suffering of millions of girls and women on daily basis. This is true during humanitarian crises, but also in other situations - essentially in every part of the world, in every village, town and city.

When you genuinely realise the extent and severity of the suffering that we cause to women, it becomes overwhelming and unbearable. I actually am finding it very difficult to deal with it, as a man. I do not know where to start and how to make it up… Perhaps, the best way is to admit that I am sorry. I am genuinely sorry and I beg you, ladies, for forgiveness.

‘Kler’: a movie that will shake the Polish Catholic Church

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I am sorry not to be in Poland next week. The country is preparing for the premiere of the latest movie by Wojciech Smarzowski called ‘Kler’ (Clergy) that is meant to be extremely critical of the Catholic Church in Poland - pointing out at ills and wrong-doings of the priests in the country. What I understand from the reviews, the movie talks about various pathologies within the institution in a very harsh way. Clearly the critics of the movie claim that the movie distorts the real pictures and is out of balance. Some people view the movie as an attack on traditional values of Poland and would like the film to be banned from the cinemas. 

I wish I had a chance to view the movie to see for myself how the author presents his views, and I would be really interested to follow the debates that are likely to become very heated. I will certainly follow all of this on the internet. 

For those interested, here is a link to the synopsis of the movie in English language (surely, the movie will be available with English subtitles sooner rather than later).

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