A blog on bloggers
Three happy faces – Sian, Josie and Eva, it’s so hard to think of them as mums – so young, carefree and energetic. That was my first impression of the mummy bloggers when I met them at the hotel. My colleague from London, Liz Scarff (aka digital whiz) introduced us.
We set off to our Press for Change event amidst a flurry of greetings. I introduced them to the detestable Dhaka traffic jam while they exchanged smiles with the kids selling flowers and candy on the packed immobile streets.
We took a quick stop to the Bashundhara City Mall where Save the Children’s EVERY ONE campaign had a booth set up. We saw a juggler tossing balls into the air and a long line of youngsters lined up to press for change on the board. Everyone was curious to see three foreigners accompanied by a cameraman.
The excitement was shortlived as we moved to Ad din Hospital, a charity hospital Save the Children had helped set up back in the day. A doctor showed us around the wards where we met children suffering from diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnourishment.
A girl named Jasmine remains grounded in my memory. She was eleven and would not speak to us, except in volumes of sadness through her great big eyes. She held my hand and sang some lines from a song. She made me think of a caged bird who wanted to fly. She made me think of the lone boy who is not able to enter the magic mountain when the piper leads the children away from Hamelin.
Jasmine is getting better, I hope she finds her way to the mountain someday soon. I remember Josie wiping away silent tears and Sian’s usual bright smile fading into a taut seriousness. Eva was the calm one surveying the scene with tenacious eyes while Liz constantly taped videos and directed the photographer.
The next day we set off to visit programmes in Barisal and Bhola. We flew on a MAF C208 Caravan Amphibian used by development organizations for delivering aid during emergencies. The water landing was amazing.
Between laughs, jokes, shared smokes and sombre silences in the evenings our hearts were stilled by all we discovered. I thought the mummy bloggers made such excellent ambassadors with their ready laughter, and willingness to help and understand.
Imagine a pediatric ward in Barisal without even basic amenities and scores of children and babies with parents who have harrowed, worn out faces who looked at the doctors as though they had all the answers, like they were higher divinities. They’re not – they’re just human like you or I.
The babies were mostly newborns wrapped in dirty shards of rags. Most of them had terrible looking tubes jutting out of their fragile little bodies. The evening following that visit was the one that made us feel the worst.
We talked with a grandmother and a mum who looked like she was barely 14. Her 11-day-old baby girl had pneumonia and the grandmother told us “my heart hurts”. I know for a fact all our hearts hurt with her and for all the others we had met whose lives needed healing.
The mums brought bubble games and crayons, etc for the children to play with while they talked to their parents, community health volunteers and other locals.
What I think mattered most is that they brought great big loving hearts. They visited the field all day long and when we were beat in the evenings they sat down to relfect on the day and diligently to blog, tweet and edit photos and videos.
I am so happy to have been able to introduce Sian, Josie and Eva to Bangladesh and its children and other mums.
Find out more about EVERYONE – our campaign to save children’s lives.