Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Day 2 - Barisal

This morning we took a sea plane to Babugani in the Barisal province of Bangladesh. We landed into a rain storm but were met by a dozen or so children jumping around in the river with excitement at our arrival. It set the tone for the day.
We were visiting some of the successful projects implemented by Save the Children and what we saw today was truly inspirational.
It's all about education here. About teaching families how to properly care for their children. How to offer a balanced diet and the importance of regular growth monitoring in order to catch health problems early.

Save the Children has 1616 health volunteers across this district. These women are astounding. The support they offer to the community is second to none.
We met Afia Afroze who has been a health worker for six years. She's responsible for around 200 households in her area.
She has an amazing blog on the Save the Children site where you can follow her work and stay up to date with the mums and babies that she is assisting. You can even see how many steps she walks each day as she visits the children in her care.

Our next stop was to meet Mr Mamun and his family. He's something of a rarity here in Bangladesh as he shares the care of his three children with his wife. He bathes them, plays with them, feeds them and helps his wife out in their home. He's what we would call a new man. There are not many new men in Bangladesh.
He has three beautiful children, his girls pictured below aged six and two months. His baby liked me, she was cooing away and giggling. She stole my heart.

When we arrived back at the field office we were all dishevelled but full of admiration for Save the Children and the community health workers they have trained. What they are doing out here really does make a difference to the children whose lives they touch.

Seeing those close knit families living without electricity and sleeping on hard wooden beds has made me homesick tonight especially as the sporadic web connection has robbed me of a skype call to my supportive family back home. 
I'm perched on top of the fridge in my room, it's the only place my dongle has a connection. I'm hot, unable to sleep and uncomfortable with my own need to fill my life with material objects. I want to be in my husbands arms after a steaming hot bath to wash the mud from my feet and the sweat and dirt from my body. It's so wrong that we have so much in our lives when so many people in the world have little more than a roof over their heads.
Please do sign the Press for Change petition.
Don't forget you can follow our trip from three perspectives; Josie's blog is Sleepisfortheweak and Eva's is NixdMin

Monday, 30 August 2010

Day 1 Ad-Din hospital

We are finally in Bangladesh and whilst we will be bringing you daily updates on the things that we have seen and the people we have met I'd just like to remind everyone why we are here.

We came to Bangladesh to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of September's UN summit that Nick Clegg will be attending. The goals were drawn up from the targets laid out by the Millennium Declaration, which was signed by 147 world leaders at the UN Development Summit back in 2000.
The goals are way off track and we want to put pressure on our government to deliver the promises they made when they signed that declaration.
That's it - it's very simple really. We want to get 100,000 signatures on our Press for Change petition, but that is where we really need your help. You can sign on the Facebook app or at the Save the Children site. Mention it to your friends, your colleagues, your family. Every signature makes a difference.

We have an early start tomorrow as we head out of the city to visit some of the more remote health projects that Save the Children run but I'll leave you with some images from the Ad-Din hospital that we visited today.
A slice of London in the centre of Dhaka.
This is sixteen month old Sanjita. She's one of the more healthy children we met today. She has been at the hospital for the past three days being treated for a tummy bug.
She's the most beautiful little girl - full of life and full of smiles for us all. 
The black dot on her head is to ward of evil spirits.

Rahima is three, she is was a triplet but both of her siblings died at birth. By the time she was a month old she had jaundice, pneumonia and typhoid. She has never been able to sit or do anything for herself. Her mother has been searching for a Dr to treat her and had already visited seven hospitals before being referred to Ad-Din. She is now getting the medical care that she deserves.
Jasmine is eleven. She's recovering from TB and has a skin infection due to an allergic reaction to a medication she was given prior to arriving at Ad-Din. When we arrived she was listless and barely moving. Our visit brightened her day.

It's children like these whose lives are changed by the work that Save the Children do. Help us Press for Change
Please do visit Josie and Eva's blogs to see things through their eyes.
There are lots more images on our Blogladesh Flickr Group

Friday, 27 August 2010

Nearly there...

This time tomorrow I'll be heading to London. We have an early flight on Sunday morning so Josie and I are staying over at the airport hotel and meeting up with Eva at check in.
I'm so behind with all the things that I need to get sorted and I still haven't packed so I'll make this brief!
On behalf of all of us I wanted to say a massive thank you to CyberMummy sponsors Kodak for supplying us with a Zi8 HD cam each. Because of their generosity and support we'll be able to bring you daily video updates of our time in Bangladesh.

We had another piece of coverage yesterday. This time in my local paper the Leicester Mercury.
You can read the full article here
Thanks to everyone who has supported our campaign - but please don't forget what it's all about. We need signatures on our petition.
You can follow our movements around Bangladesh with this super cool Mummy Blogger tracking map over on the Everyone Asia Site.


UPDATE
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Tara Cain who has themed this week's The Gallery in our support. All you have to do to take part is take a photograph on Sunday this week. Simple isn't it? Head over to her blog for full information.
And another thank you - this time to the people at Kustomise who generously made these rain poncho's for us.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Blogladesh the countdown...

In less than a week we will be heading off on our journey - the reality of exactly what we are about to do has now gripped me. 
A couple of hours ago I clicked on a Save the Children video on You Tube and since then have been scouring the channel for every mention of Bangladesh's children.
In one video I saw a tiny three year old boy fighting to take a single breath . He was so small that he would have passed for a baby. I don't mind admitting that I am terrified.
The cell network is good in Bangladesh we are told, so please do stop by our blogs and follow our tweets and if you haven't already done so then please, please, please sign our petition.
Please do watch this Save the Children Video, what they are doing is awesome.

The Gallery ... a pic I am proud of

The theme for this week's Gallery is... A photo I am proud of.
I'm cheating a little bit here cause I have already featured this picture over on my photo a day blog. But I have to say I love it - I think it's simply the best photograph I have ever taken.

But then I really love this pic that I took at the top of The Empire State Building on a day out with the very talented Jay. which one do you prefer?

Friday, 20 August 2010

Blogladesh, 8 days and counting

I don't think that anyone involved with our trip will disagree when I say that this has been a pretty out there week. 
We were confident that our trip would be supported by our community but as each day passed we have continued to be blown away by the level of support we have received.
My week began with an (early) interview on BBC Radio Leicester, followed by this...
and then this.....

Since then we have clocked up thousands of tweets, re tweets and mentions of our #Blogladesh hashtag. We trended. We all got very excited. We've had top notch social media celebs including Stephen Fry and the rather lovely Richard Bacon showing their support and not to mention the totally amazing support that we've had from one very special friend and fellow blogger @cosmicgirlie - cause we wouldn't have come this far without her.
Our aim is not to raise money. We are simply asking for your support in raising awareness of the issues that mothers in Bangladesh have to face every day of their lives. Their decisions are not like ours because we have been lucky enough not to have been born into poverty. We don't have to worry about finding enough money to feed our families, or how we are going treat a simple tummy bug. But for the women that we are going to meet these are life or death decisions - and we can help.

Nick Clegg is attending the UN summit in New York at the end of September and our aim is to present him with a 100,000 strong petition in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) that were set by UN leaders ten years ago. The MDG's are simple really, to reduce hunger, poverty and disease. 
We have till 2015 to meet these goals but in order to get there continued support from UN countries around the world is needed.

And this is how you can help. 
Please, please sign our petition. It's a Facebook app - so if you're not on Facebook please sign up so that you can help. 
If you are a social media geek you can also help by adding our Twibbon to your Twitter and Facebook avitars. 
You can add our Blogladesh support badge to your site. You will find the code here.
You can blog about our trip, but please do add your post to our linky here.
You can follow us on twitter, @porridgebrain @nixdminx @mummytips
Please, please follow our blogs. This is where all of the action will be taking place when we are away. Josie is at Sleep is for the Weak, Eva is at Nixdminx and well you are here, so you know where I am. We also have another very special lady with us in Bangladesh and that is Liz Scarff. She's the mastermind behind our trip and she's a totally awesome photographer who is going to keep us all on our toes. You can follow things from her side on her blog at Liz Scarff and on Twitter @Lizscarff.

I know that lots of you on Twitter have said that we don't need to keep thanking you - but we do because you people, our friends are the ones driving this campaign and we are eternally grateful. I'll leave you with these drawings that my girls have been busy doing all week. I have a huge pile of them. It's their way of giving.
xx

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Gallery.... Memories

I don't know about the rest of you but Tara's holiday last week really threw me. I've come to set my week around her weekly gallery theme and I've been all out of sorts without it.
This weeks theme is Memory.
For those of you who are new to this please stop by Tara's blog for more info.
Memory is such a vast theme that I've had a little trouble choosing my pics... until I read Tara's post on Mothers Guilt last night.

Memory
For a long time there was No1 son and me but I was ill. I was suffering with PND so bad that I nearly didn't live to tell the tale. My actions very nearly left my totally perfect little boy without a mother. That is something that I have lived with for the last sixteen years of my life and a feeling that will never go away.
Things worked out kind of OK. I got better (mentally) and went on to marry the most amazing man and have three more beautiful amazing children.
They know of my past. We don't hide things in our family. They are very aware that they very nearly never came to be and that hurts me too.

This picture isn't great, I've attempted to Photoshop it better but it's more than a little dog eared due to the fact that I clung to it for the whole six months I spent recovering in hospital.
His chubby cheeks, tubby toddler belly and the sheer love in his eyes for me teamed with the love in my eyes for him - is what got me here today.

Monday, 16 August 2010

#Blogladesh on the BBC

I've had lots of messages today asking about my interview on BBC Radio Leicester this morning. So here it is!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Bringing Our trip to life

Bringing #Blogladesh to life. Please follow our blogs and our Twitter streams.
Josie, Sleep is for the Weak on twitter @porridgebrain
Eva, Nixdminx  on twitter @nixdminx
Me, follow this blog and on Twitter @mummytips
Every re tweet, badge download or mention helps.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Blogladesh

If you follow me on Twitter you will probably have seen my stream kick in with mentions of #Blogladesh this afternoon. But what's it all about?
Along with two other bloggers Eva (@nixdminx) and Josie (@porridgebrain) I will be travelling to Bangladesh with Save the Children Fund to highlight the work they are doing in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

In Bangladesh, 36% of the population live on less than US$1 (64p) a day and 83% live on less than US$2 (£1.28) a day. Extremely poor households are often dependent on income from their young children and around 7.4 million children are engaged in child labour.
These children miss out on the basics that we couldn't imagine not being a part of our own lives, such as food, education, access to medicine and security.
Almost 50% of Bangladeshi children under five years old are underweight or too small for their age. Approximately 2.4 million children aged 6-10, are not enrolled in primary school and the number of street children is estimated to be over 7, 00,000.
Every year around 250,000 children die in Bangladesh before reaching their fifth birthday. They die from things that can be easily prevented or treated like diarrhea, pneumonia and infections and from lack of proper maternity care. Things we take for granted.

We are going to be reporting from the field, tears and all and all we ask of you is to get behind us. Follow us all so that you can feel our trip from every angle. We are all very different bloggers and we will all have a different take on things. RT using our #Blogladesh hashtag, follow our pics on our Flickr stream (details to follow) and make as much noise as possible - because you know what? We can make a difference.
I already linked at the start of this post but if you are not already following Josie and Eva, here is where you can find them.
Eva, Nixdminx or on twitter @nixdminx
If you really, really want to show your support please do use our badge on your site. Your can get the code here.
I will be sure to follow everyone who follows, RT's or shows support for this amazing project and if you do mention our trip on your blog please do add it to the Linky below.

Monday, 9 August 2010

New York, New York

I've always wanted to go to NYC. It's the one place that has always pulled me.
I didn't start traveling until I got married though and as three babies arrived in lightening speed a city vacation has never been an option for us.
Now that they are a bit older I think that they would adore New York.
Despite my initial enthusiasm I didn't really get to see much of the city. The conference got in the way of my site seeing but yesterday I did manage to take in Central Park via a whirlwind tour on the back of a rickshaw.
It really is the way to do it. Speed Central Park in the 100 degree heat.
It's odd coming from a country steeped in history (there is evidence of a Roman settlement close to our small village) to a place where the oldest structure was built in 1850. If our tour of Central Park was anything to go by the history of NYC is defined by the movies shot there. Spiderman, Face Off, Home Alone, Ghostbusters, Stuart Little, Kramer vs Kramer and a memorial to one of England's greatest musicians.
I took in the tourist hot spot that is The Empire State Building. Rode the subway to South Ferry port to take the free ferry to Staten Island, leaving the Manhattan skyline behind me as I looked in awe at 
Lady Liberty. 
Time Square, 42nd Street, Broadway. The places I dreamt of as a young dancer.
Steaming streets, yellow cabs, bright lights, tall tall buildings. A melting pot of language and race where anything goes or anyone goes.
New York is officially my favorite city in the world.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Top BlogHer moments part 2

I know that you all think we are over here filling our brains with important blogging stuff.... but really we are dancing!
This fab new Wii Just Dance 2 is out in a couple of months. It's totally awesome.
But who is the better dancer, Jen or Jay?!
video

Top BlogHer moments part 1 : The Bloggess

So we bump into the mighty Bloggess and she is taking part in the sandwich challenge with Padma Lakshmi over at the Hillshire Farm booth. The idea is that the bloggers get two minutes to make the best, tastiest sandwich ever.
The Bloggess used those age old ingredients M and M's chocolate sauce and cream.



She didn't win.
She was robbed.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Gallery Play

Just managed to squeeze this in before I head off to BlogHer in the morning. I know that lots of you want updates live from the conference and I promise to do as much as I can.... Last year there were connectivity issues if you know what I mean?!
Anyway - this weeks theme over at The Gallery is playtime.
I love these pictures of ModelGirl on the trampoline is one of the heaviest rainstorms in a long time - in her PJ's.

That is one soggy kid!

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