Our Director Andrew Betts writes ...
Right now I’m really fed up. I don’t ever want to despair again at an ambulance that breaks down for three hours while a girl lies dying inside. I don’t ever want to pay for another post mortem. Or hire a car to take a 12 year old’s body home from the mortuary. I’m fed up of seeing children die for no reason. Fed up of it all. Just fed up.
I’ve been working in Africa for 25 years and during every visit there are similar situations to stir such emotions. This time there were three that really shook me. Jacinta was admitted for a simple operation that went tragically wrong. Joy was abandoned by her parents and lives with HIV and cancer. Seven year-old Cherish escaped capture by a witchdoctor in search of albino body parts.
Can you imagine Jacinta’s mother’s grief? Joy’s anguish? Cherish’s terror as the intruder broke down the mud wall of her slum home late one night?
What gets me as I write this, while waiting for a flight back to the UK sitting opposite the VIP Lounge in Nairobi’s airport, is that none of these things would have happened in my own country. I’m annoyed by that lounge too, and the ‘VIP’ label on its door. Aren’t we all supposed to be equal in God’s sight? Aren’t Jacinta, Joy and Cherish no less ‘Important’ or deserving of a capital ‘P’ than those inside enjoying their comfy chairs, free drinks and canapés?
Please forgive me for my rant but it’s been an intense three weeks in East Africa. I’m fed up but not giving up. None of us at Advantage Africa are. In fact, the poverty, lack of healthcare, ignorance and inequality that beset Jacinta, Joy and Cherish make us even more determined to fight for change. We’ll continue to work hand-in-hand with partners who offer love and care for children like them and strive to improve their lives. Until justice is done.