Ian Thomas impressed by our projects

At the request of the Foundation, Flemish singer Ian Thomas visited our various projects in Benin, accompanied by Andreas Janssen of 28VISUALS, who made a fascinating documentary about them.

The local team were proud to accompany him, and their enthusiasm was contagious. His visit’s starting point coincided with where the Foundation’s story also began. Hubert Adriaens (Hubi) began working at the Saint-Martin Hospital in Papané in 1977.

Accompanied by the director, Dr. Kouthon, Ian visited the pediatric and maternity wards. They also stopped at the memorial stone in honour of Hubi and Vinciane. He was both amazed by the rigour of the care and full of admiration for the commitment of the staff and the Hubi & Vinciane Foundation to continue improving the quality of the hospital.

The next stop was the Koro community garden, run by a cooperative of some fifteen women. As usual, this visit was accompanied by singing and dancing, which Ian gladly joined. He also participated in the AVEC group meeting (Associations Villageoises d’Epagne et de Crédit) in Gnuinirou; thanks to the AVEC group, villagers can save and borrow together to create small businesses.

In Parakou, he took part in a free screening for diabetes and hypertension organized by us as part of the project to detect and treat non-communicable diseases in adults.

A visit to the new incubation centre was, of course, on the agenda. Ian was briefed on research into aquaponics and soil analysis and was able to come and feed the little dairy goats, a task Ian took to heart with great enthusiasm.

At the Saint-Jean-de-Dieu hospital, Ian was able to see the results of the orthopaedic mission carried out by Drs Mulier, Van Poppel, Esteves and Vanderdonckt from the Heilig Hart Hospital in Leuven.

At Bonsi Elementary School, Ian was greeted by some 300 pupils, where suddenly one of his famous songs blared from the loudspeakers – spontaneously, he broke into song, and dozens of children danced enthusiastically.

But the journey wasn’t over yet.

After two hours of arduous bush travel, he arrived in the village of Gbéquina. There, he participated in a cooking demonstration and an information session on healthy eating by our nutritionist, Eric Dossou-Gbete and one of his animators. He was also invited to enjoy a protein-rich meal with lots of vegetables and condiments, and he loved it!

Ian loved his experience: “It’s great to be here. The people are so welcoming and enthusiastic, and the kids are so happy! What the Foundation is doing here is fantastic”.

If you’d like to learn more about Ian Thomas’ visit, watch a preview of the documentary made by Andreas Janssen of 28VISUALS