You might have heard of “greeters”, but perhaps you don’t really know what they do. Well it’s quite simple really... Greeters are volunteer guides who love their hometown and are keen to share their love with visitors.
In Belgium, the network covers 5 towns: Brussels, Namur, Charleroi, Verviers and last but by no means least, Mons. There are around thirty greeters working in the Cité du Doudou. Every year, for their anniversary, the Belgian greeters meet up in one of the towns in the network. At the end of June 2014, it was Namur’s turn. So it was on this day in Namur that I met Nicole, one of the town’s greeter.
So with Françoise, a greeter in Brussels, I spent some time with Nicole, a tiny little slip of a woman, who showed us round “her” Namur, spicing up the experience with lots of stories about her youth and some songs in Walloon. She sang us the Biâ Bouquet and told us the stories of Djoseph et Francwès.es retrouvailles à Mons
A reunion in Mons
In September, keen to try something new and enjoy a change of scenery at the same time, Nicole came to spend a few days in Mons. She had held on to my business card, and called me up to ask me to show her round town.
Happy to see each other again, we had a great time together. The girl from Mons showed the girl from Namur her hometown, with poems and songs. The Air du Doudou and the legend of St George and Waudru, the poems of Victor Hugo and Verlaine interspersed the experience.
A few days later, I received an email from Nicole. She wanted to thank me for her “vibrant tour of the city”, and told me that she had “fallen in love with Mons”. We agreed to see each other again in 2015. There will be plenty of cultural opportunities to choose from.
Plus, in 2015, Mons will be hosting the annual reunion for the greeters. We can’t wait to see them again!