That moment when your group arrives and there is the potential for 3-4 languages and you feel safe to order food once again. That was the moment today. I am so excited to be addressing the issues that people living with disabilities are experiencing in Canada with this team. Although very jet-lagged, we hit the day running. Thank you to Bonnie, Audrey-Anne, Frank, Steve, and Liz! What a great day meeting with IDA (International Disability Alliance)--many people at the IDA were simply amazing and I don't want to post one or two names when I don't have all the others in front of me. Suffice to say, their work is indispensable in support disability rights organizations in doing the work we do.
The IDA folks--great support in creating our timeline for the coming days and supporting us in the protocol and possibilities. Photos include photos of some unusual art at the IDA office and of Victoria Lee from IDA. and then our lovely delegation.
If you are interested in the background of the work I am doing, click the CRPD link to read the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
So technically, we are at the 16th Session of the CRPD. there is much going on around us as the CRPD is celebrating the 10th year anniversary of the implementation of the CRPD. Canada ratified in March 11. 2010. Canada is currently conducting a review of implementation. We have many hopes that Canada will rescind some of their reservations.
I am excited to review the General recommendation that have just been adopted: No. 3 Article 6: Women and Girls with Disabilities and recommendation No. 4 for Article 24: The Right to Inclusive Education.
We, as a delegation, need to narrow our focus to the key issues over the next day or two before we address the UN-CRPD Committee. We also must prepare to discus in more depth some of the issues in side events.
I rarely write about accommodation in my blogs. I often allude. I was having a really difficult time here before my colleagues arrived. It is clear to me that the Swiss understand French and English but they regarded my English as an affront. I was actually very concerned about travel and food. the front desk was irritated with me for asking about food outside the hotel (all their food here comes from without and is mostly frozen and reheated). NOT safe for me and my allergies. but also, I am struggling with my pain management and travel, so traveling with vague directions is frightening. Amsterdam is truly a multi lingual society that is so inviting and helpful--I have at least 10 stories of folks that went out of their way to make sure I found the place I was going to.
SO, my colleagues arrived and we have French (albeit Quebec French) speakers--the mood changed in this place. and now there is more English from the staff than before.
I had an incident at the IDA meeting where out of nowhere I could not catch my breath. probably some waft of orange or peanut or perfume but I don't know. It was incredible to know that I was okay, whatever happened.
I am not going to stop doing what I love (which requires travel) but I am so grateful for a team when I have it around me.
The thing about allergies and travel is that the world needs to think more about this as we move forward. Thank you to my friends that helped me translate my allergies into the languages where I was traveling. You made it so much safer. xx