And life has changed.
I now have my health, which was questionable at times before the trip. Things changed substantially for me when I talked to a doctor in a nutrition clinic about children suffering from malnutrition. I came home, sorted out my own at-times-restricted diet and I haven’t looked back since.
The newfound appreciation of the material wealth we have in the developed world has also remained with me. We buy a lot less these days and we get outdoors a lot more.
I do think of the women I met; I doubt little has changed for them or their families. I hope the success of the campaign to eliminate tetanus made a small difference to the lives of those with so many additional issues to face.
My posts about the trip were read by 250 people each day, which wasn’t a great deal. I had hoped the message would reach further but I hope in some small way it did get through. The posts continue to be found here thanks to Google searches and hit upon a few times a week, which I’m pleased about.
I have remained, since returning from the trip, very keen to raise awareness about the lives of those in developing countries; although the realisation has hit home that one person operating in relative isolation can do very little.
Nevertheless, with communications from UNICEF I have attempted to raise awareness about the situation in Libya and in Haiti one year on. Beyond that I do feel helpless to do anything but I will continue to do the small bit I can. Maybe I’ll work in the charity sector one day. Who knows?
The most significant change is the realisation that we have so many opportunities in the UK and so many more choices in life than the women I met. Not everyone does, but I do and I want to make the most of that.
Nothing has landed on my plate since the press trip but I have made the decision to relocate the two of us next year and take on a job where I’m not working in isolation from home day in day out. I’ll also be following a few dreams and ambitions and that won’t happen unless I take action.
It will be the start of a new chapter. Already I am excited but nothing will be happening immediately so I need to wait.
All this self-reflection has come about as a result of viewing Comic Relief’s recent coverage of families in Africa and Lenny Henry’s particularly moving experience meeting children living in the slums of Nairobi, and also because Photobox gave me £40 credit to buy one of their canvas prints.
It seems a little self-indulgent in the grand scheme of things but the credit was put into my account, so I used it to order this:
I’m thrilled with the print, although my photography skills don’t really do it justice. It is exactly what I needed as a tangible reminder of the trip. I found Photobox’s service very easy to use, the quality of the print is excellent and it was delivered promptly. I’d certainly use the service again.
And it has arrived at exactly the right time for me. It’s been easy to think that life is whizzing by and I’m not really part of it. I needed a kick-start, a reminder to keep going and seize every opportunity. So I will. Starting today and continuing tomorrow, and every single day after that.