Save a life, save your soul…
If you didn’t know, SurfAid is a heroic organisation that that goes into remote Indonesian communities and builds wells, water tanks and community health centres, hands out mozzie nets and trains and educates locals in disease prevention etc.
Twenty years ago, an Australian doctor, Davey Jenkins, was on a trip to the Ments, did a little trip up-river to shoot phots of the happy natives and saw a bunch of children’s graves.
“I was the first doctor ever to visit the village. I saw women and children dying from malaria, malnutrition and inadequate living standards – things that I knew were treatable and, better still, preventable by helping them change behaviours such as basic hygiene and better breastfeeding practices.”
Doc says the scene haunted him for the ret of the trip.
“I began questioning my life. Did it have meaning? Were my skills wasted chasing some corporate carrot? What if I could make a real difference to these people? The thought of more children dying drove me mad with frustration and helplessness yet, at the same time and in some strange way, the potential solutions inspired me. I couldn’t just walk away from those kids; I vowed to return to the Mentawai with people and supplies.”
It’s a little rough on the conscience to think that while you’re slugging gin-and-tonics and watching satellite TV on a five-hundred-dollar-a-night boat, kids (and adults) are dying in imaginably ghastly, and preventable, ways.
It ain’t just army blankets, buttermilk, a bag of cracklins and cornbread being handed out.
And it costs.