We're finally back on track here at HomeinLeiden - and let's hope that we finally get some sunshine!
A huge thank you to everyone who is and has been involved in helping us to help the refugees in the TNO building on the Wassenaarseweg. They are still waiting to hear whether any progress has been made on their status, and/or whether they are going to be moved to a proper refugee centre. All the children are now in school, which is a great start. Still, the insecurity and waiting is really hard for all of them.
We set up a craft project let by Yara and her team in the centre to keep the children busy over Christmas, and to enable residents to make gifts for the people of Leiden, which they handed out after the Pieterskerk service. We've set up an advanced Dutch group, and there are other groups in the making - thank you Gabriela, among others. We also asked the residents themselves what they wanted, and then delivered a large bag to each room with (as far as possible) what they had requested. Huge thanks to Yara, Enaam and Shadi in the centre, and everyone who helped by donating, collecting, sorting, raising money and/or delivering the bags. Especial thanks to Annechien, Anna, Mita, Karène, Sarah, Olga, Gordana and Lucia. Even if what we have done is just a drop in the ocean. I'm a great believer that life is all about contributing such drops!
And now. we have a lovely new project! As a way of bringing together members of our community and residents of the refugee centre to share skills, as well as a great excuse for a cup of tea and a chat with new people, we're setting up:
Tuesdays 10.00-11.30 Vrouw Kind Centrum, Langegracht 64.
We're hoping that some at least of the group would like to work on small sellable pieces, which we can accumulate, as we hope to have a stall at the Bijenmarkt ( www.deleidsebijenmarkt.nl ) on June 13 to raise money for the refugees. It promises to be great fun so do join us if you can! If you can't join us but would like to contribute your own knitted/crocheted pieces, that would also be very welcome!
If you'd like to show your support by welcoming a refugee family into your home for a meal, do go to www.facebook.com/VluchtelingAanTafel/?fref=ts .
Another great initiative is Hello Leiden www.facebook.com/helloleiden/
If you haven't yet joined this facebook group - do! It's current and active and full of great ideas, initiatives and tips, as well as having a busy buy/sell page.
A great new practice has opened on the Schuttersveld, near the Station, Wiel van Plezier run by a lovely woman called Rosa-Liek Feitsma. She does psychomotoric children's therapy, which is a wonderful and different approach to helping children exhibiting behavioural problems, such as sleep issues, aggression, anxiety or lack of motivation. With a gentle, fun, active approach, she helps children learn to listen to their bodies, to manage their emotions, approach others and plan actions better, among other things. She takes the time to really listen and work with each individual child to help them grow and flourish. It is a method suitable not only for children on the autistic spectrum or with problems such as ADHD but also 'neurotypical' children. She speaks excellent English, although her website www.wielvanplezier.nl is currently only in Dutch. Check out the website or email Rosa-Liek for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
How are you feeling after a long winter? If it's physiotherapy or acupuncture you need, I warmly recommend Doortast (www.doortastfysiotherapieleiden.nl), and in particular Barend van Zelm, who has been my physiotherapist for the last 6 years. It's a vibrant, relaxed, young practice and offers a wide range of treatments. They all speak excellent English and are very friendly - when I've had to, I've taken one or both of the children with me to sit in the corner and play and they've been made very welcome!
If it's a massage you are after, then you're spoilt for choice. If you're short of time or stuck at home, the brilliant Alex of Alexmassage (www.alexmassage.nl), can come to your house with her mobile massage table and relax or rejuvenate you, depending on your needs. Her rates are amazingly affordable too. Perfect for busy parents!
If you prefer an Ayurvedic massage or a more holistic approach to balancing yourself and your body, Elena, Intuitive Healing Coach and Therapist (www.intuitivehealing.nl) is a wonderful choice - like a warm bath for body and soul!
If it's mindfulness you are after, then make a start straight away by joining Marie Vijendran's English-language Mindfulness Support Group on a Tuesday evening in the centre of town (see www.attention2being.com/#!support-groups/c1eye). She also runs wonderful, life-changing courses and retreat days in English on Mindful Self Compassion and Mindfulness - see her website www.attention2being.com for more information. Doing her courses have made me feel so much calmer and more able to cope with what life brings - and helps me enjoy the here and now and stop beating myself up about everything. Seriously, give it a go!
And of course, if things are really getting difficult, then sometimes therapy is the best answer. Paula Portugies is a lovely psychologist who can work with families, adults, children and couples in English, French or Dutch. See her website (in Dutch) www.paulaportegies.nl or contact her on email@example.com.