Six months ago this week I flew out to Indonesia with UNICEF to see for myself the amazing immunisation campaign they carry out there with Pampers.
I’ve blogged about it extensively here.
We were in no man’s land. Deep in the jungles of Papua where no one travels and I was seeing things and meeting people very very few others have ever had the privilege of doing.
It quite literally felt like the edge of the world. Here was real poverty. Real hardship. Dirt and death.
Me. Out there. Me.
I’ll never forget the reactions of the locals as we arrived at their villages by boat.
A sea of huge, muscular arms reaching down to help us off the boat. Helping with our bags, smiling, curious, intrigued, staring.
They welcomed us strangers in. Strange faces, strange clothes, strange camera things around our necks.
I didn’t come away from Papua feeling sorry for the people out there.
I came home feeling sorry for us.
As I landed in the UK, the riots were in full swing and I was seeing words like ‘poverty’ and ‘hardship’ being bandied around as one of the reasons for the behaviour.
These people know nothing of poverty or hardship. Or community or worth or having to work bloody hard just to survive.
I think back to those 10 days in Indonesia with huge warmth and gratitude that I was trusted with telling their story and that I got to see these amazing things.
And I have passed what I learned and felt and saw on to my children.
It felt like that was part of my mission too; to teach their generation that they can help bring some genuine compassion and feeling back into our lives.
Because children see, children do, right?
Have you ever had an experience like that? Something that made you want to change, to do good, to be a better person; a better parent?
By the way, the photo here isn’t one of mine.
Even though I took like a gazillion wonderful pictures, I thought this one perfectly captured what we saw when we arrived at the villages. It’s by professional photographer Josh Estey who travelled with us on the trip.