Some time ago I mentioned a trip to Cameroon, so perhaps this post should be called: What I really did this summer.
Perhaps it should end with a reference to the fact that you never really know what lies around the corner and what opportunities will suddenly present themselves.
For me, I did not think I would ever find myself sitting in a hospital in one the most remote parts of West Africa, being photographed with a group of women and their babies.
Because opportunities like this simply don’t happen.
This August, while IJ holidayed with her grandparents in the Lake District, I travelled 3000 miles to Cameroon — a trip which proved to be emotional, inspiring, moving and thought-provoking.
I went to Cameroon, as a blogger, with the Pampers and UNICEF teams to witness the progress of their “1 pack = 1 life-saving vaccine” campaign which is helping to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus (MNT).
My role was to see the work of the campaign firsthand, to meet the women and children it was helping, experience the conditions the villagers live in and report it all back. So over the next ten days I will be posting my experiences of a trip which was emotional at times, yet on the whole positive and without doubt the best thing I have ever done.
The campaign background
Pampers and UNICEF joined forces in 2006 to help raise funding for vaccines to protect women and their babies against MNT. Now in its fifth year, the partnership has expanded across the globe reaching 21 countries in two continents and is helping to protect 100 million women and their babies.
Tetanus is a disease which can be eliminated in our lifetime and a goal that is within reach, with our help.
It was a privilege to travel to Cameroon, to see the campaign in action and to be so warmly welcomed by the communities we visited. I gained a rare insight into the lives of the villagers and the exceptional work of UNICEF.
Preparing for the trip I did not think it was possible to visit a developing country, spend time with some of the poorest people in the world, and not be altered by the experience.
And I was right.
Tomorrow my journey begins, at London Heathrow, with a 3am start, excitement, apprehension and slightly too much luggage.