From Veronica’s writings…deel 4

I need no music, because this forest is music.

Finally, I found the reason why I almost never listen to music at DHR.

This morning I was awaken by the whisper of the wind and the sound produced by the leeves dancing just outside the window of my bedroom.
And how many times I woke up with the songs of the birds that were saying “hoi Veronica, vandaag is het zonnig”.
And what about the lullaby of the rain in the evening. Why counting the sheeps to get asleep when you can count the drops falling from the Belgian sky.

Then, when I hear someone opening the door of the onthaal, I know that the day starts.

It’s time to go outside, listen to the children playing and running and having fun around the domein, or sometimes be scared on klimbos.
It’s time to go to the end of the big zipline above the lake and listen to the concert made by the frogs.
It’s time to make the fire for the Survival workshop, and the crackle and spark are just amazing.
It’s time to go to study Nederlands at the café bib at the library and listening to people who babbelen.
It’s time to ride my bike that lets me discover castles, villages, canals but that at every ride makes a strange noise that keeps me smiling and guessing if I will be able to come back home.
It’s time to open the ears, because here people speak a different language of mine and every word, every sentence can remain a mystery or have a meaning.
It’s time to kill the mosquitos, that in summer invade our gebouw so…sbaam sbaam sbaam…in the house echoes the sound of the fight against them.
It’s time to have a walk or going running and be surprised of every noise coming from under the trees and be happy to see een konijn of een ree of duizend duiven or from above the trees een specht of een eekhoorn.

But from these special trees comes the most beautiful sound of the world (voor mij).
It was winter, almost spring when I discovered it.
I was spending most of the days climbing and hugging trees from the platforms of the parcours of klimbos during the rescue training. Everything was still and due to my privileged position, I could hear something that I had never heard before.
The pine cones were opening. More than a sound, a poem.

And have you ever thought of which is your favorite sound? Let youself be amazed by the beautiful sounds of the world.







(Belgium smells like waffle) (België ruikt naar wafel)

(Fuente de la imagen:

First time I arrive to Brussels I thought “woow, it smells like waffels” and after 5 months I still think the same. Belgium in general smells like this. In every corner of Belgium you can find a place that can be a shop, a museum or even a street truck selling waffles and that is one characteristic thing about la Belgique.

Every time I travel around Belgium the same smell comes to be over and over again telling me “Buy a waffle, they are delicious!”. So, why not?

I have set myself a personal challenge during my stay in Belgium, the first one is to try as many beers as possible, and the second one is to a waffle in every city of Belgium that I visit.

But, where does the waffle come from?

Some people say that waffles come from the Neolithic era, where the most similar thing was a cereal cake cooked over warm stone. Then, in the Ancient Greece, we can discover that they used to cook little cakes in two iron plates. And the same in the middle Ages, they cooked this cakes as a religious offering that afterwards the faithful would eat. These iron plates used to be rounded with shields and shapes engraved on the iron plates to give the cakes different forms.


But, it is in the XIII century when we find the most similar waffle to our one nowadays. One blacksmith created some new iron plates with a shape similar to a bee hive. These ones became super famous but they were not sweet but salty with bad quality flour, water and salt.

Later, in XVIII century, the wealthy classes were the ones who could allow themselves to create a new kind of waffle with honey, milk and eggs. So, like this, new recipes started to appear creating the waffle that we know nowadays.

The name Wafel (in dutch) has its origin in the name “Wafer”, which was the metallic plate where they cooked these little cakes in the old times.

In Belgium, we can find two different types of waffles. The first one is the Brussels Waffle, which is more light and less sweet and they usually serve it with sugar glass. And the other one is the Liege Waffle, which has a different shape and also it is more sweet.



Real Belgium people usually eat waffles without anything. But maybe, in the one from Brussels they usually spread some sugar glass but that is all.

But we, as tourist, we like to eat it with everything! Chocolate, sugar, strawberries, ice cream, and so on.

So, one of the best things that you can do in Belgium is enjoy of a good real waffle.



Hallo Belgium and Belgians

I’m Andrea, I’m the new ESC volunteer in DeHogeRielen. I come from Italy, my home is in Anzio, a sea town at sud of Rome. In the ancient town of Antium (current Anzio and Nettuno) were born the roman emperors Caligola and Nerone.


I arrived in Belgium the 8th of June, I had just the time to look around the domain of De Hoge Rielen for two days and I left to do my on arrival training (OAT) with all the others ESC volunteers in Belgium. The trial started on Tuesday the 11th and ended on Sunday the 16th. It was an intense week but not boring at all. During a reflection moment I thought about how much I will learn in this experience as ESC volunteer in Belgium and in De Hoge Rielen, while listening the sound of the rain and the flowing water I thought something and I want to share it with you all.

”Like drops of rain many information come across us during our life. These drops gather on the soil of our mind and they became a river of thougts. Day by day it became bigger until it flow in our sea of knowledge. This sea can grow forever only if we could feed it with new drops”

I will do my best.


Midterm Training :)


Finally summer is coming to Belgium! It seemed impossible but it is here! Although you never know because weather in Belgium is unpredictable.

Anyway, last weekend, Veronica and I have been in the midterm training. If I am being honest, I did not feel like going there at the beginning, I was not feeling so well, but, it is a good thing that I decided to go at the end cause it was great!!!                                                                                                                                       We went from one forest to another, but, it is really nice. I cannot say that it was nicer than De Hoge Rielen, it is more or less the same but you can feel it different. It is really beautiful, as our forest, and it was good to be there.

Here I had so much fun! I was able to see people that I had not seen from 4 months, and also meet again with other people that I have been meeting regularly but not as much as I would like to meet them.

The activities were great! Being able to think about the project, our voluntary service, why we are still here, what is our plan for the future, and all these kind of things was just a deep reflection that I needed to do after 5 months here. Listening to the experience of the rest of the people made me realize that De Hoge Rielen is really good, the people working here are very friendly (always willing to help) and that I feel free to say what I think.

Apart from that, meeting the new volunteers and seeing the oldest ones was amazing! Drinking belgium beers with them, talk about our experiences and our future plans (very unclear all of them) was something that I wanted to do.

We were talking and creating new worlds in the shadow of the bonfire. We laugh, we drank, we danced, we hugged, we laugh again, we sang… it was actually quite amazing.

So, I am really happy about going there, I am also happy living in the forest and I am trying to change my life to better, and, this is the perfect place to do so.



Hello world!

So, hello everybody!

Somebody could say that I am a bit late (and probably it would be kind of true: it’s already one month and a half that I’m here!) but, as people use to say in my country, “better late than ever!”.

I am sitting on our sofa stinking of rain, soil, leaves and trees. Beautiful feeling but not sure it’s a beautiful smell! Luckily I’m alone in the house now…

I came back from Italy (my country) yesterday, still with the sun on my skin and the warm in my bones. I’m happy to be back, I was missing the forest. I think probably Gerlinde (my chief) was expecting it because today the first thing I had to do was cutting trees inside the woods, under the rain and surrounded by children, insects and ranches. I have soil all over my body: I am not joking: all over. Probably I will become a tree soon.

Rooty greetings,


Football day at De Hoge Rielen!!

Goedemorgen allemaal!!!

The new volunteers arrived to De Hoge Rielen!! Valentina and Carlos!!

Valentina is from Italy and Carlos is from Portugal (my neighbour country) and they are great!! She is this kind of clever and cheerful girl and he is this mystic and energetic guy, I think it is a good combination!!

Anyway, they are taking some Nederlands lessons in Herentals and the other day, some of their classmates came to the forest and we played football in the amazing space that we have here to play it.

Two portugueses, one girl from Mozambique, one boy from Ghana, a polish guy and me played for two hours (maybe less but it was like more than two hours for me xD) and I have to say that I had really fun. I am not so keen on sports but playing with different people from different countries in the middle of the forest, surrounded by nature was actually quite good!

And the best of playing hard is to eat Veronicas cake and drink a belgian beer.

For sure we will meet another day to play and eat and drink, and everyone is welcome to do it with us!!


From Veronica’s writings…deel 3

Een creatieve deel

At De Hoge Rielen every European Volunteer, during the stay, has the opportunity to work on a personal project that can add value to the organization itself.
I was walking in the middle of the forest (as usual) when I came up with an idea.

I felt I really wanted to do something to improve the recycling and the reuse of the plastic, as soon as I really care about this issue.
But what could I do? I needed to find something easy to do, that required more or less only plastic and that could be useful and cute at the same time.

Suddenly, I remembered when last year in Bologna, at a creative fair I saw a girl creating book covers starting from food packaging.
Coincidentally I was thinking in the same period of creating an envelope for my medicines.

I put two and two together and…why not creating envelops and small bags from the plastic food packaging?

I immediately liked the idea, but I didn’t know how I could do it. So, I started googling and I found some videos showing how to use the iron to fuse plastic bags and it didn’t seem so difficult. But I needed an iron.
I asked all my colleagues and with a not small effort I found an old but still working one.

I tried and…these are the first outcomes. What do you think about them? (1)

Keyword of this project: be differently useful.

What I like most of my project? I can create from garbage, with my own hands, something unique that I can use as I want for my own needs, simply giving voice to creativity.
Dit is heel fenomenaal en ik ben super content.

 And, who knows, maybe a new workshop is coming at De Hoge Rielen.

This is the story of how my project was born.
Stay tuned and Reuse Plastic!