Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Blurb from Bohemia

Leaving home at 6am yesterday on a Bank Holiday Monday, I flew to Prague for the 30th International Confederation of Midwives Congress http://www.midwives2014.org/ - a momentous occasion when over 3000 midwives from across the world will gather together.  I am here early as our twinned midwives from Cambodia and Uganda will attending the pre-congress ICM council so I will be supporting and spending time with them as well as preparing for my presentations, workshops and our exhibition stand.  Our Nepalese twins will arrive in a few days' time.

I nearly missed my connecting flight in Vienna - we had almost touched down when we took off again at alarming speed. The captain later told us there had been a car on the runway!  The time it took to ascend, circle and land again gave me just 20 minutes between flights and I had to run from one end of the airport to the other.  Amazingly my suitcase and me both made it!

As I arrived in daylight and had no immediate deadlines I braved the public transport system with my suitcase - one bus and two metro trains later I arrived at our hotel, right by the conference centre.

Hotel Corinthia, Prague
I had intercepted an e mail from the Cambodians who were holed up, too scared to venture out, so I went straight over to meet them at their hotel and we took advantage of our free afternoon for some sightseeing. Together we negotiated the metro once more and found the centre of town, wandering around beautiful buildings and stopping for drinks in streetside cafes.
Lida and Thida hit the streets of Prague!
Tea at the Tramway Cafe
Beautiful roses in Prague - national museum at the top of the picture
They were very jetlagged after flying Phnom Penh - Bangkok - London - Prague and flagged after a couple of hours but we squeezed in a visit to the most amazing Cheese shop to introduce them to this European delight, not a feature of the Cambodian Diet.  They were amazed by the whole parma hams hanging in the store - I love seeing the world through others' eyes.

Wonderful Cheese Shop in Prague's main street

Finally we met up for dinner with Professor Lesley Page, the RCM's President, and managed to negotiate some rice for Lida even though it was not on the menu - Cambodians need to eat rice every day!  Lesley was moved to hear about their experiences of losing family in Khmer Rouge times and the long-lasting impact this has had on Cambodian society and midwifery.

Slowly the world of midwifery is gathering here in Bohemia.  I was overjoyed to see Pashtoon Azfar, founder of the Afghan Midwives Assocation and now working with the International Confederation of Midwives.  We have worked together twice in Nepal and she's an amazing midwife with a powerful message.

Unfortunately our Ugandan twins are not yet here - UK visa delays mean they could not catch their flight as planned. All of our project team and contacts are working hard in UK, Uganda and Prague to make a miracle happen.  Meanwhile, prayers and positive vibes appreciated!

At the end of a long day this was the best sight in the world.  More blurb from Bohemia soon!
My cosy bed in Bohemia


  1. Looking forward to meeting Lida and Thida in Prague! We also have some exciting plans for them after the Congress in Salford, Manchester and Bolton and the midwives here are looking forward to meeting them! Best wishes, Elaine

  2. Great to have your ongoing involvement in the programme and the RCM's international work Elaine! X


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