The Malta and brussels European Week for Waste Reduction experience.

So, back in September 2017, i received a call from Wasteserv Malta. They asked if agara would like to participate in the European Week for Waste Reduction. We set a meeting with Estelle from Wasteserv and when she found out that PoléPolé collects second-hand laptops, repair them and use for projects with vulnerable people, she literally obliged us to be part of this. Her exact words were “guys, you have to take part! You fit perfectly in this!”

 

We decided to be part of this. We believe in our projects and the Repair and re-use. Give it a new life theme fit perfectly. Two intensive brainstorming sessions later,  we handed our application. Fast Forward to November 18th, we kicked off the campaign. I must admit that due to the hard-working PoléPolé and Social Team Members, the campaign ran smoothly as all the work was prepared and scheduled beforehand.

 

We knew, we would be part of the award night in Malta hosted by Wasteserv. But, what we didn’t know was that we will be nominated for the awards in Brussels. Well, we did know that there was a possibility, but let’s face it in what world would one actually believe that their cause will be chosen out of more than 13,000 causes? Well, PoléPolé’s did! Over the moon is just an understatement to how we felt as soon as we got to know. I actually can’t really explain the feeling! But, we were happy, so very happy!

 

Tickets and accomodation booked, all suits and ties and my so beloved formal shoes and handbag packed and in no time we were off to Brussels, 6 of us, Stephen, Manuel, Adrian, Dean, Bernard and me. Yes, i was the only woman species in the group, and although i am kind of used to this, i was kind of their mascot. As they kindly described me in the Board section, i am gullible, i admit. But during the 3 days we spent in Brussels, i was the centre of the majority of their jokes and laughter.

 

On 22nd of May, we were all suited up and taking a selfie at the European Committee of the Regions Building; the wrong one at first haha! Mind you, this wasn’t the only time we got lost; the first time round was worse! We decided to visit Bruges and while we were in Brussels we became good friends with UBER; it’s cheap and fast (TM take note!). So, we check how long and how much it will cost to get to Bruges by Uber instead of catching the train. “It’s 45 minutes away guys and cheaper than the train!” – said the guy who needed to go round two times to get his orientation for the GPS (i won’t mention names, but his name starts with a B and ends with an d). We packed ourselves in the Uber mini van and went all the way to Bruges. “Bruges right?” – asked the Uber driver. “Yes please”.  So we get off the Uber and after a few minutes I call Stephen, who did not come along as he needed to study “Listen Stephen, do you have contacts of a helicopter in Brussels by any chance?!” *awkward silence*, stephen replies “what did you do steph?”. My reply: “Nothing i promise, we’re lost in the middle of nowhere. Apparently there are 2 Bruges in Brussels!!” Panicking, Stephen replies “see that you come back by tomorrow for the awards!”

 

**Kindly note that on the day, it was a public holiday in Brussels and the buses were on strike.**

 

We had two options; walk for 2 hours to the next train station or get a taxi. But, not even Uber exists in this Bruges (which we then got to know is spelled Brugge). Nope no taxis available, we have to walk. While walking we met with this woman who made her husband and son drive us to the train station. So Stephen had no helicopter contacts  but his prayers that we arrive to Brussels by the next day just in time for the awards surely were heard! To cut a long story short, we managed to get to true Bruges, be part of the celebrations with their football team and managed to see the city and be back in Brussels by midnight!

 

Anyway back to what i’m here for, at the EWWR awards in the right European Committee for the Regions, we passed security, was given a name tag and got in. Some speeches later, all causes were presented (we did go live on facebook so you should know this part!) and the awards were presented. We did not get the award, although we still got a certificate for participation which we will proudly hang in our achievements section once our garage in Żejtun is finished.

 

To say the least, we are honoured that agara’s work is known by European journalists. What we do, we do from the heart, but being known by other countries gives us contacts and opportunities for future projects which we wholeheartedly appreciate!

 

Before i go! After both awards ceremonies, we devotedly enjoyed some luscious food. We can’t really complain about food in Brussels. Our breakfast included waffles, our lunch included waffles, our 4pm snack included waffles and our dinner included waffles and beer; we’re Maltese.. we love food.. don’t judge!

see more snap shots from these occasions here

 

Written by:

Stephanie Micallef – board member and PoléPolé leader.