Sanne Overvelde-Slagman, The Netherlands
By now, I feel like I have settled in completely into Georgia. I enjoy my strolls from my traditional Georgian house during these crisp winter mornings to Field Office Zugdidi. The roosters great me enthusiastically, as well as the street dogs. Just before I turn the last corner, I see the local baker pulling piping hot traditional Georgian “shoti” bread from his tandoori-like oven.
Once in the office, I work together with my dear colleagues in the Reporting and Information Office, where I compile patrol information and open source information into different reporting tools. Having worked for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I specialised in Eastern Europe and region, most notably Georgia. I have come to know the background, motivation and mind-set of the countries in the South-Caucasus from both a bilateral as well as an EU perspective.
Knowing the region and country well, for a foreigner at least, helps me to make analytical assessments. Even though the type of work is not new to me, it is my very first long-term mission experience. Being here on the ground, since November 2018 and speaking to locals when I am on patrols, has already provided me with many new insights. It gives colour and substance to the way we work and helps me to deepen my analysis in areas of interest to the EUMM.
The mix of local and international professionals (civilians, police officers, military and navy personnel) is impressive and effective: together we are able to get the job done. Also…they have made me feel at home in Zugdidi and the EUMM instantly.