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One Week

I am sat looking at a pile of stuff and to be honest? I’m a little bit scared. I have every kind of mosquito repelling product under the sun, a hat that Indiana Jones would be proud of and some boots to cope with the muck and rubbish of the Bangladeshi slums and mud. My arms are still a bit sore from all the disease-preventing injections and I have a big visa stamp in my passport.

One week today I shall be sat on a plane, along with Sian and Eva, half way across the other side of the world, flying to Bangladesh for a week viewing Save the Children’s work with mothers and children in one of the most poverty-stricken places on the planet.

This is really, really happening.

People keep asking me if I’m ready, if I’m prepared for my trip. And yes, I’ve been busy preparing, borrowing backpacks and clothes to let me comfortably sweat out the Bangladeshi heat, thinking about modesty in a strictly Muslim country, reading through my schedule and trying not to squeak as I read the words “sea plane”, “speedboat”, or let my breath catch in my throat as I read about the health care workers we will be shadowing as we visit children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. I’ve never travelled before so all the things I need to think about are new to me. I’m desperately trying to pick up lots of tips and get my head round all the things I need to think about (and if you’ve travelled in far-flung parts and have any words of advice to share I would really, really appreciate any top tips you can share.)

But am I prepared? For what I’ll see? For what this experience is going to FEEL like?

No, how can I be.

My world has always been so small up until now. I have lived in the same small town for over 20 years. For over a quarter of that time I could barely move a few feet, my world as small as one or two rooms, a sofa, a bed, as I struggled with illness and pain and restricted mobility. I didn’t get to stretch my wings and go across the country to University, or travel on a gap year with my friends, or go on exotic holidays.

I didn’t get to do anything really, except sit, and dream, and wait.

And yet, even though my world was small, it was a privileged world. Enough food, clean water, good health care. Stuck in, tired and hurting, it was hard to see sometimes, but I was so lucky. And when I got better and pregnant I got access to excellent maternity care. My baby was given the vaccinations he needed to stay well and, fed well, he grew big and strong. God, it actually hurts a bit to think of it already, just how lucky I have been, how lucky Kai has been.

And here I sit. COMPLETELY unprepared for what the next two weeks is going to do to my thinking, my emotions, my internal map of how I see the world and what I understand about it. All I know is that it is going to be big. My world is about to get so BIG.

Soon I am going to get to see the other side of the coin, see the reality for the vast majority of women trying to raise children in other countries. It is going to shake me and awe me and horrify me and delight me in equal measure.

I am not ready. But GOD am I going to do them proud. I am going to use my voice and my words and my heart to tell their story and lots and lots of people are ready and waiting to listen, more people than we ever could have imagined. Not just Twitter, not just bloggers, but the media too, in a big, big way.

My head may not be ready but my heart is. I have never wanted to do anything as much as I want to do this.

But I need you all with me ok? This isn’t about squabbles or competition or censorship or anything else that seems to concern so many bloggers right now, this is about real life. It’s about trying to make a difference, about ALL of us trying to make a difference. And we’re not going to know if we can till we try, right?

Something you can do RIGHT NOW is go sign our Facebook petition. It will take two minutes. Nearly 9,000 of you have already but we want lots, lots more. Tell Nick Clegg that nine million children a year dying unnecessary deaths is not right, and that we have the power to change it. There are other ways to help here, too, please have a read if you haven’t already.

And then stay tuned. Because I have an amazing story to tell you.

It starts here.

_________________________________________

Keep up to date with all the Blogladesh developments by following my blog’s RSS feed and by following me on Twitter. Don’t forget to read my team-mates blogs too – Sian at Mummy Tips (@mummytips), Eva at NixdMinx (@nixdminx) and Liz from Save the Children (@lizscarff and @SaveChildrenPR)

If you represent Press or PR and would like more information about or trip or to find out ways you can get involved, please contact me here.


29 Comments

  1. We are all rooting for you !!! we are all right here, praying and proud to be reading your blog, and know the person that is you. Take heart because you represent not just yourself, but every mother reading your blog believing with all their heart that you are doing a selfless and incredible thing.

  2. nixdminx

    Hey chick, we'll be fine you know – see you next week in London xx

  3. I am so proud of you I can't go to the toilet.

  4. I'm sure your trip will be one of the most life changing experiences of your life and will touch your very soul. You might draw support and solidarity from that fact that many of us on FB and Twitter will be thinking of you and your friends. Well done for initiating a chain reaction of events that will hopefully lead to lasting change for children

  5. What you are doing is incredible, wish I could be right there with you but the next best thing will be seeing it through your eyes, through your words.

  6. Josie you've got such an open mind, ready to discover, to listen and to be shared with. I wonder if that's better preparation than having a level of knowledge or expertise that makes you feel like you know what to expect. Wow what a journey you have ahead of you, and what a privilege it will be to see it through your words.

  7. Good luck with the trip, I'll also be away while you're away so may miss out on some of your experiences. I'll make sure I catch up when I'm back, I'm really looking forward to hearing about it. Be brave x

  8. Hurray, you mended it!
    Josie,
    Big gulp….. we will be fine. This is going to be an adventure for sure but just you wait till you see the rain ponchos I have had made with Blogladesh on the back…. will take away the anxiety for sure.
    I'm off to make lists and btw I have sterilising tabs for you – so no need to buy. xx

  9. I have years in my eyes reading this. You are doing an amazing thing and with such a strong voice you will tell the story of these children so well. Wishing you all the very best for safe travels. You are so strong and so brave. Your voice will be heard, we are listening x

  10. May you have the strength to change the things you can, the the courage to leave the things you can’t and the wisdom to know the difference…. And a good support network when you get back! Proud to have you as a twitter friend and proud that you are going to make a difference. Go well and good luck.

  11. You are doing a truly amazing thing Josie. You’re going to make such an impact.

  12. Good luck Josie, be strong.

    I expect it will be pretty harrowing at times. I've signed and shared the petition.

  13. I'm already proud of you Josie, and the other mummy bloggers undertaking this huge task. I will do whatever I can to support you and follow you on this amazing journey. This blog has really touched me – as usual, your writing has immersed me in the thoughts and emotions that you are experiencing, and I could not think of anyone better to go to Bangladesh. Good luck, and I'm here, and on board. I'm off to sign the petition xxxx

  14. Good luck, I really hope the trip goes well and I wish you the strongest of hearts as I'm sure it will be a tough one. Have signed the petition and have forwarded the link on to all my friends too. Let's be positive and say, we CAN make a difference xx

  15. Amazing, just amazing. xx

  16. TheMadHouse

    I have been to the townships in South Africa and seen the people with Aids and it forever changed me. You can never be prepared for what you will see, but see it you will and with new eyes you will return to tell the tale.

  17. Hurray. Your blog is fixed! Have an amazing time, Josie. It is going to be the experience of a lifetime. It is perfectly normal to feel a little nervous, very nervous even, but go with an open mind and soak everything up. It is going to be incredible. And no matter what you see or the stories you hear, remember that you are capable of making such a positive difference to the lives of these people. That will carry you through, and adrenaline and mosquito repellant! So incredibly proud of you, my friend. You're on the cusp of something huge and this is an opportunity you've worked hard for. Now go and enjoy every minute of it. xxxxxx

  18. Everyone is so proud of what you are doing – and we are all here waiting to hear your story.

  19. We'll be with you every step of the way. You're doing an amazing thing and I hope that we can change things

  20. andthenallithoughtaboutwasyou

    You are doing an amazing thing and we are so proud of all of you. I don't think there is anything that can prepare you for it, but the one thing that you all have is your big hearts. This trip is going to be hard at times I am sure but just remember the good that you are doing!
    I am off to sign the petition and share it xx

  21. Karen @ If I Could Escape . . .

    You are going to be amazing. x

  22. I don't know how you can prepare for something like this other than in the practical ways you are doing. Passport, injections, hat, etc. will all be helpful, but it's your big heart and ability to paint a picture with your words that are vital to this trip. So many people are wishing you well and are going to see the experience through your eyes. Good luck, travel safely. x

  23. Josie, I know what a huge thing this will be for you. A huge eye opener about how the rest of the world lives. Just remember when you are two days or so into your trip and you feel completely exhausted with 'culture shock', that exhaustion, deep sadness and compassion burnout are normal responses. Please remember to be kind to yourself. It is extremely difficult to cope with how little the people around you have and how much in comparison you have at home, but you are not personally responsible for the plight these folk are in. You are being really helpful to them by highlighting their plight and discovering practical ways people 'at home' can actively help. Travel safely. Remember your ear plugs, eye shades and squeezy pillow for the plane and to set your watch for Bangladeshi time when you get on the plane at Heathrow (it helps with jet lag). Prayers and hugs. You're doing a good thing! Vxx

  24. Goodluck, Just this piece about your preparation gives me goosebumps.
    Reading some of the tips the only trivial thing that I can add is sometimes I love to read local fiction from an area as it can give an insight into different ways of exploring a culture – particularly if you need a little personal time to escape while you are there.
    I can't wait to read your updates.
    x

  25. You are doing an amazing thing, the experience I'm sure will change you – and you are brave to be going. Good luck lovely xxx

  26. James Stanley

    Good Luck Josie i hope you have a wonderful time in bangladesh and also congratulations on creating a parents blog and getting it to number 1. Saw about this in the newsletter after Kalvin told me about it and so i had to come and visit your blog and wish you luck i will carry on watching your blog. I remember the last time is saw you and Kai walking down the street in town with Kai hope he and ant are well, enjoy your time in Bangladesh

    James

  27. I didn't realise you were doing this (why would I?!) but it sounds absolutely amazing. It'll be exciting and you'll no doubt be overcome with a gamut of emotion at times, but I am sure it will be life changing (for the better). I hope you have an incredible time.
    Jayne

  28. English Grandma

    Go girl…wow 'em, take it all in and come back and tell us all about it x

  29. Wishing you a safe journey. You are amazing.

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