Updates and news

Gran Chaco

FF6B4B95-9489-4460-ABA7-C4CD86CE312A_1_105_cSalta Province, Argentina, December 2021


I have just arrived to Buenos Aires and I am preparing for travelling up north to Argentina's Gran Chaco. As you may remember, the northern part of the country (as well as south of Paraguay) are now experiencing fires. It is estimated that up to 10% of the Corrientes Province is burnt to ground, with forests, and infrastructure being destroyed. Things are so bad that Argentina decided to ask the EU to send assistance to help in getting the situation under control. If all goes according to a plan, the French firemen will arrive within some hours, and then some essential equipment from Norway will follow.

While I will be coordinating the receipt of this aid, I will also be travelling to the affected areas of Argentina and Paraguay to assess the humanitarian impact on the affected communities in both of the countries. Gran Chaco is mostly a very poor part of the Americas, where daily life is extremely difficult to its inhabitants even without challenges such as fires. Should we learn that people cannot cope without assistance, we will recommend release some additional funds to reach the communities along with the help to the Argentinian authorities.

As the mission to Gran Chaco progresses, I will be posting the photo reports too.

Meanwhile, I am observing the political situation in Europe with the greatest concern. The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, saddens and angers me. Although I have seen it a lot in my professional career, it is still difficult to accept that politicians are able to destroy lives and livelihoods (as well as sanity) of so many people so easily. Something is seriously wrong with our systems of governance on every possible level.

I guess the situation in Ukraine has an additional effect on me, as it is directly impacting my native Poland. It is estimated that just within 4 days of the invasion, over 300,000 refugees fled from Ukraine to Poland alone (and 150,000 more to Slovakia, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova). So far, it is impressive to see how the governments and societies of these countries seem to be managing the crisis, but surely the needs are great and challenges will be mounting in weeks to come. I am actually taking a close look at how my own organisation is supporting the humanitarian efforts, and have already volunteered to be deployed either to Ukraine itself or any of the countries around, should the need for my services arise.

A new humanitarian mission

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Salta Province, Argentina, February 2021

The fires in Gran Chaco on the areas between Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia have intensified recently. It is however both Paraguay and Argentina that seem to be affected the most.

In an attempt to find out a humanitarian impact of these on lives of the affected communities, I am setting off to the two countries on a humanitarian mission. On Monday, I am leaving Panama for Buenos Aires. After a few days in Argentina's north, I will then proceed to Asuncion and then southern parts of Paraguay. While in the field, I will be shown around by colleagues from our partner organisations. I will be meeting the communities, and also the authorities to see what has been done so far, and how we can be of help, if at all.

In the meanwhile, I keep receiving substantial amount of emails from various humanitarian colleagues that appear to be heading to Poland and Romania to establish their presence there to help in dealing with the influx of Ukrainian refugees. While I am unable to give advice on Romania, I do have quite a lot of information on the civil society organisations in Poland (including organisations working with migrants and refugees in particular). Should you, or your organisation need some guidance, please do not hesitate contacting me, I will be happy to help out the way I can. On a personal note, I feel so strange to see that the international humanitarian agencies are setting up potentially large scale operations in my own country. The world is certainly full of surprises.

Links to all of my picture albums on 'Google Pictures'

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Links to all of my picture albums available in 'Google Pictures'

Panama in 2022
🇵🇦 (2022)

Assessing the impacts of fires in northern Argentina
🇦🇷 (March 2022)

Floods in Bahia Province
🇧🇷 (Jan. 2022)

The end of the year in Argentina
🇦🇷 (Dec. 2021)

Panama in 2021
🇵🇦 (2021)

A quick visit to Brussels
🇧🇪🇳🇱🇪🇺 (Dec. 2021)

Autumn holiday in Ontario
🇨🇦 (Nov. 2021)

The refugee crisis in northern Chile
🇨🇱 (Oct. 2021)

Early autumn with Mum in the Lake District, and visiting friends in south and eastern Poland
🇵🇱🇳🇱🇪🇺 (Sep. 2021)

Summer in Portugal after a long absence
🇵🇹🇪🇺🇺🇸 (Aug. 2021)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: disaster in the paradise
🇻🇨 (Jul. 2021)

Only in Miami…
🇺🇸 (Jul. 2021)

Adventures of Mexico
🇲🇽 (Jun. 2021)

Manuel Antonio and Alajuela: Costa Rica's natural wonders
🇨🇷 (Apr. 2021)

The walking refugees, the city, the desert and the mountains
🇨🇱 (Mar. 2021)

Second time Argentina!
🇦🇷 (Feb. 2021)

Panama in 2020
🇵🇦 (2020)

Honduras: Eta and Iota hurricane emergency response mission
🇭🇳 (Nov. 2020)

2020 autumn break
🇩🇪🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Oct. 2020)

The post-lockdown experience in Krakow
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Sep. 2020

A weekend in Toledo and Madrid after six months lockdown
🇪🇸🇪🇺 (Sep. 2020)

The first walk
🇵🇦 (May 2020)

Argentina, a country of extreme contrasts
🇦🇷 (Feb. 2020)

Venezuela refugees' response in Brazil
🇧🇷 (Feb. 2020)

Resilient communities in Bolivia
🇧🇴 (Jan. 2020)

Quito and the Province of Bolivar
🇪🇨 (Jan. 2020)

Tahir's visit to Panama
🇵🇦 (Dec. 2019)

Panama in 2019
🇵🇦 (2019)

Costa Rica, the America's paradise
🇨🇷 (Nov. 2019)

Mystic Portugal
🇵🇹🇪🇺 (Nov. 2019)

Halloween and my 47th birthday
🇨🇦 (Nov. 2019)

Preparing for the hurricanes in the Caribbean Sea
🇨🇼 (Sep. 2019)

My first humanitarian mission in America
🇧🇴🇨🇴 (Sep. 2019)

My first week in Panama
🇵🇦 (Aug. 2019)

A bit of Los Angeles from a car
🇺🇸 (Aug. 2019)

Last moments in Poland before moving to Panama
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jul. 2019)

The epic trip around Europe
🇦🇹🇩🇪🇮🇹🇸🇮🇭🇺🇪🇺🇱🇮🇨🇭 (Jul. 2019)

Showing Tahir around Poland and Slovakia
🇸🇰🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jul. 2019)

Summer in Warsaw and Krakow
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jul. 2019)

My last day in Asia
🇸🇬 (Jul. 2019)

2019: My final year in Thailand
🇹🇭 (2019)

Good bye Manila
🇵🇭 (Jun. 2019)

A mission to Indonesia
🇮🇩 (Jun. 2019)

Working in Belgium and Austria
🇦🇹🇧🇪🇪🇺 (May 2019)

Spring in central Portugal
🇵🇹🇩🇪🇪🇺 (Apr. 2019)

Humanitarian assessments in DPR of Korea
🇰🇵 (Feb. 2019)

A short trip to the Philippines
🇵🇭 (Feb. 2019)

Northern vibes
🇵🇱🇪🇺🇺🇦🇨🇦 (Jan. 2019)

Response to humanitarian needs after the tsunami in Sunda Strait
🇮🇩 (Dec. 2018, Jan. 2019)

The last trip for 2018
🇵🇭 (Dec. 2018)

Iberia with people with one loves
🇵🇹🇪🇸🇪🇺 (Oct. 2018)

The Sulawesi & Lombok earthquake
🇮🇩 (Oct. 2018)

Visiting Tahir and friends in Toronto
🇩🇪🇪🇺🇨🇦 (Sep. 2018)

A day in Krakow with Mum
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Sep. 2018)

Going to the Pacific
🇫🇯🇹🇴🇭🇰🇨🇳 (Aug. 2018)

Ko Chang for the last time
🇹🇭 (Jun. 2018)

Race against the time
🇧🇩 (May 2018)

Learning my adopted country, Portugal
🇵🇹🇪🇺 (Apr. 2018)

An early spring in Vienna
🇦🇹🇪🇺 (Apr. 2018)

Magical Sukhothai
🇹🇭 (Mar. 2018)

Typhoon Gita: travelling to the Pacific
🇹🇴🇫🇯🇦🇺 (Feb. 2018)

Mum visiting Thailand
🇹🇭 (Jan. 2018)

Thailand A. D. 2018
🇹🇭 (2018)

Typhoon Temblin: humanitarian disaster for the people of Mindanao in southern Philippines
🇵🇭 (Dec. 2017)

Ancient Thailand in a nutshell
🇹🇭 (Dec. 2017)

Spending time with Mum
🇩🇪🇨🇿🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Dec. 2017)

The enchanting Dhaka
🇧🇩 (Nov. 2017)

Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh
🇧🇩 (Nov. 2017)

November in Sri Lanka
🇱🇰 (Nov. 2017)

Glimpses of European autumn
🇵🇹🇧🇪🇫🇮🇸🇰🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Oct. 2017)

Mongolia, 4th time in the country
🇲🇳 (Sep. 2017)

Weekends with Tahir & friends in Thailand
🇹🇭 (2017)

The war displaced in Marawi of the Philippines
🇵🇭 (Jul. 2017)

Celebrating summer's arrival in Bangkok
🇹🇭 (Jun. 2017)

Europe's visit: spring 2017
🇧🇪🇵🇱🇪🇺 (May 2017)

Settling in Portugal
🇵🇹🇪🇺 (Apr. 2017)

Cox's Bazar's camps
🇧🇩 (Mar. 2017)

Bangkok's canals
🇹🇭 (Jan. 2017)

2016 Winter break
🇵🇱🇪🇺🇷🇺🇹🇭 (Dec. 2016)

Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar
🇧🇩 (Dec. 2016)

Mongolia's summer
🇲🇳 (Sep. 2016)

TRIPLEX: Southern Norway & Oslo
🇳🇴 (Sep. 2016)

Sri Lanka
🇱🇰 (Aug. 2016)

Western Thailand
🇹🇭 (Jul. 2016)

Northern European experience
🇫🇮🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jun. 2016)

A weekend in Khau Yai National Park
🇹🇭 (May 2016)

Down-under
🇦🇺 (Apr. 2016)

Oceania
🇹🇱🇦🇺 (Mar. 2016)

UAE, Spain & Portugal: winter fun
🇪🇸🇵🇹🇪🇺🇦🇪 (Feb. 2016)

Mongolian winters are tough…
🇲🇳 (Jan. 2016)

Autumn of 2015
🇵🇱🇪🇸🇪🇺 (Nov. 2015)

The displaced in the Philippines
🇵🇭 (Aug. 2015)

Studying Spanish in Gran Canaria
🇪🇸🇪🇺 (Aug. 2015)

Visiting DPRK
🇰🇵 (May 2015)

May 2015 home visit
🇦🇹🇵🇱🇪🇺 (May 2015)

Spring in Seoul
🇰🇷 (Apr. 2015)

My first trip to the Philippines
🇵🇭 (Apr. 2015)

Family in Thailand
🇵🇱🇪🇺🇹🇭 (Mar. 2015)

A day in Beijing and a week in Ulaanbaatar
🇨🇳🇲🇳 (Feb. 2015)

Floods in northern Malaysia
🇲🇾 (Jan. 2015)

Discovering Thailand
🇹🇭 (Dec. 2014)

Paris: the beauty with Mum
🇫🇷🇪🇺 (Nov. 2014)

Gdansk and Sopot
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Nov. 2014)

Enjoying time with Mum
🇨🇿🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Nov. 2014)

UNDAC training
🇿🇦 (Oct. 2014)

The Warsaw Uprising
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Sep. 2014)

Visiting long missed friends
🇮🇸 (Sep. 2014)

Faroe Islands
🇫🇴 (Sep. 2014)

Spas of Galicia
🇭🇺🇸🇰🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Sep. 2014)

In the land of Cyril and Methodius
🇧🇬🇪🇺 (May 2014)

A wedding in the Eternal City
🇮🇹🇪🇺🇻🇦 (May 2014)

Flying around South Sudan
🇸🇸 (2014)

Southern New Zealand
🇳🇿 (Jan. 2014)

The green islands on fire! The northern part of the country
🇳🇿 (Jan. 2014)

Travelling to the other end of the world
🇵🇱🇪🇺🇦🇪🇦🇺 (Jan.2014)

Unity State at war
🇸🇸 (Dec. 2013)

Sandomierz & Kazimierz Dolny
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Aug. 2013)

South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia
🇪🇹 (Jul. 2013)

A summer with friends
🇨🇦 (Jun. 2013)

'Uma marvilha: Lisboa'
🇵🇹🇪🇺 (Jun. 2013)

In Senegal for work & meeting friends in Dakar
🇸🇳 (Jun. 2013)

Playing a tourist guide around Slovakia & Poland
🇸🇰🇵🇱🇪🇺 (May 2013)

Colourful Willemstad
🇨🇼 (Jan. 2013)

A trip to the Caribbean paradise
🇧🇶🇳🇱🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jan. 2013)

Freezing in Nowy Sacz
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jan. 2013)

A stopover in Cairo
🇪🇬 (Jan. 2013)

Christmas vibes
🇸🇸 (Dec. 2012)

Visiting refugees again
🇸🇸 (Dec. 2012)

USA with Christine
🇺🇸 (Oct. 2012)

An autumn in Brussels and Amsterdam
🇧🇪🇳🇱🇪🇺 (Oct. 2012)

Indian Ocean paradise: Seychelles
🇸🇨 (2012)

Refugees in northern South Sudan
🇸🇸 (2012)

Team building
🇰🇪 (2012)

Socialising in Juba
🇸🇸 (Aug. 2012)

May is the best month of the year
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (May 2012)

Northern parts of Vietnam
🇻🇳 (May 2012)

A week in Vietnam's Hanoi
🇻🇳 (Apr. 2012)

Hong Kong & Macao with Mum
🇭🇰🇲🇴🇨🇳 (Apr. 2012)

A visit to Upper Nile State
🇸🇸 (2012)

Holidays in Mozambique
🇲🇿 (Jan. 2012)

A new home in Juba
🇸🇸 (Nov. 2011)

Visiting Sabrina and Thomas in Paris
🇫🇷🇪🇺 (Aug. 2011)

Nicki and Thomas' wedding
🇫🇷🇪🇺 (Aug. 2011)

Kosice & Presov during summertime
🇸🇰🇪🇺 (Jul. 2011)

A very sunny summer
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jul. 2011)

The Ethnographical Park of Nowy Sacz
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (2011)

The adventure in South Sudan begins
🇸🇸 (2011)

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
🇱🇺🇪🇺 (2011)

Brussels marks the new beginnings
🇧🇪🇪🇺 (2011)

Good bye to 2010 and hello to 2011
🇰🇪 (Dec. 2010, Jan. 2011)

A week in Oxford
🇬🇧 (2010)

The desert city - Khartoum
🇸🇩 (2010)

A disaster preparedness workshop in Maputo
🇲🇿 (2010)

Adventures in East Africa
🇺🇬🇨🇩🇷🇼 (2010, 2011)

The Kenyan kaleidoscope
🇰🇪 (2010)

A new apartment in Nairobi
🇰🇪 (2010)

Walking the streets of old Yangon
🇲🇲 (2010)

Chills of Bangkok
🇹🇭 (2010)

The Shewdagon Pagoda
🇲🇲 (2010)

Visiting Oxfam's regional office
🇹🇭 (2010)

November in Poland
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Nov. 2010)

Impressions of Warsaw
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (2010)

A long weekend in Spain
🇪🇸🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Apr. 2010)

Arriving to Myanmar
🇲🇲 (2009)

Krakow, Europe's stunning beauty
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (2009)

A day in the Tatras
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Aug. 2009)

Time at home in Poland and Slovakia
🇵🇱🇸🇰🇪🇺 (Jul. 2009)

Berlin, my favourite city
🇩🇪🇪🇺 (2009)

Visiting friends in Germany
🇩🇪🇪🇺 (2009)

Socialising with colleagues
🇵🇰 (2009)

Islamabad, Pakistan's capital city
🇵🇰 (2009)

A mission to Chad's Sahara
🇹🇩 (2009)

An early spring day in Warsaw
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (2009)

Jewels of Somali Region of Ethiopia
🇪🇹 (2009)

Warsaw, Poland's capital
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Apr. 2009)

Moving to Addis Ababa
🇪🇹 (Jan. 2009)

Winter break at home, with friends
🇸🇰🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Jan. 2009)

New Year's Eve 2008/2009 celebrations
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (Dec. 2008)

Christmas with family
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (2008)

Visiting my teacher, Jean
🇺🇸 (2008)

Inspirational Kolkata
🇮🇳 (2007)

Bangladesh, my love
🇧🇩 (2007)

Beautiful Queensland
🇦🇺 (Feb. 2007)

Visiting Asia's hotspot, Singapore
🇸🇬 (Jan. 2007)

A day in Kuala Lumpur
🇲🇾 (2006)

Working in, and exploring Indonesia
🇮🇩 (2005 - 2006)

Humanitarian response to the earthquake
🇵🇰 (May 2006)

A visit to David and his family
🇬🇧 (2006)

Przemysl, the beauty of eastern Poland
🇵🇱🇪🇺 (2006)

Travelling to the southmost part of Africa
🇿🇦 (2005)

Ile de France with ACF colleagues
🇫🇷🇪🇺 (2004)

A visit to Rio de Janeiro
🇧🇷 (Sep. 2004)

The Angolan coast
🇦🇴 (Apr. 2004)

The Big Apple
🇺🇸 (Apr. 2004)

Namibia
🇳🇦 (Jan. 2003)

The language exam, one step further towards my new nationality

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Alcobaca, Portugal, August 2021

After a long wait, I finally received a preliminary result for my Portuguese language test that I took last November at the Consulate of Portugal in Toronto. The outcome, if confirmed officially, is extremely encouraging as I scored 87,5% (55% necessary to pass) on test.

Needless to say that I am extremely happy and now anxiously waiting for the confirmation and the official certificate from the language centre. Once with me, I will be able to proceed with an application to become a naturalised citizen of Portugal. It is still quite a lot of waiting, and substantial amount of paper work to be done, but the language test was the last major (at least, as I understand it) obstacle to fulfil all the conditions to get naturalised as Portuguese.

If all goes according to plan, I am aiming at submitting my application around March/April 2022, and then few months later, I should hear the answer to my petition.

Keep your fingers crossed, so all goes well, and I shall definitely update you with the progress!

April break at home

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Szczawnica, Poland, October 2022

It seems like I will be going to Poland in April. I will be taking 2 weeks off during the Easter break, so that I can spend some free time with mum, family and friends. While, it is still far away, and I will try having more specific plans for visiting Europe at later stage, I already know that I will be around 24 hours in Los Angeles on the way back to Panama. If any of you have suggestions on what is interesting to see in the city, the ideas are welcome!

Meanwhile, I am preparing for my mission to Asuncion and other parts of Paraguay affected by droughts at the end of February. The situation appears serious, and the trip is meant to help out in determining what we could do to support the communities in their struggles in fighting the consequences of the disaster. I do not know Paraguay yet, and if I manage to travel it will be my first trip to the country, and as such very excited to go!

Back to work, refreshed after a holiday break

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Pearl Islands Archipelago, Panama, January 2022

I am now back to work, fully recharged after a week off in the Pearl Islands Archipelago (south-east of Panama City, the Pacific Ocean).

The break allowed me to rest (which I needed badly after last travels to Brazil and Argentina), but also discover an amazing part of Panama (
see pictures at this link; a part of 'Panama in 2022' album).

Now as I am back, I am facing new challenges. Fires and drought in Paraguay and Argentina, landslides in Ecuador, and the new wave of Venezuelan arrivals to Chile are the main issues that I am trying to deal with, but not the only ones.

So far, I am programmed to travel to Paraguay at the end of February, but this being written, with the humanitarian situation changing so fast, I may need to alter the plans accordingly at the short notice.