In 3 weeks time I will be boarding a plane in Sydney to fly to Uganda where I will spend the next 3 months. My home will be Malaika Babies Home in Kampala where my friend Lucy Buck has started a transitional babies home as part of the Child's i Foundation. Strangely enough Lucy and I have never met despite having worked on the same TV shows together. A crew of 500 people and different shift times is the culprit. So in a weird way it will be both a first meeting and a reunion.
Uganda has one of the highest populations of orphans with the estimate that by this year there will be 3.5 million orphans in Uganda alone. Child's i Foundation started after Lucy had an emotional ordeal with a little baby called Abraham and she decided to leave her TV life behind and help the children of Uganda - www.childsifoundation.org.
The common occurrence in Uganda is for abandoned babies to be institutionalised until they are 18 and Lucy’s mission is to combat this. Working with different organizations in Kampala, they will help with the Prevention by supporting pregnant women at high risk of abandoning their babies, Care which will provide high quality and short term care to safeguard the lives of the babies and Rehabilitation to place babies back into their natural family or to foster / adoptive families.
After volunteering in Kenya last year and doing a safari through East and Southern Africa I was instantly smitten with this amazing continent. People who smile through tragic hardships, mothers who are constantly worried about where their babies next meal is coming from and children who are happy without the need for ipods and McDonalds. I realised I could learn a lot from the simplicity of their lives and the daily struggles they have to endure.
Some girls from my class posing for the camera
My class of 44 kids in Nakuru, Kenya (2009)
Working in TV over the last ten years has taken its toll and without getting too philosophical it's time to rediscover what life is really about. Being able to wake up in the morning with my main objective being to cuddle, nurture and make a little baby boy smile. Seeing mothers in desperate need find their way and make a life for them and their baby.
Lucy is a true inspiration and I can't wait to get over there to begin this next chapter. In the words of Gandhi, be the change you want to see in the world.