Monday, April 20, 2009

Soap, salt and suger

Poverty in Africa is of the extreme kind, its not comparable with what we associate with as poverty in Sri Lanka - here poverty means watching people die, it means not having access to clean water or proper sanitation.

Bassamba while not an extream case still falls into that category with poverty all around you - whether it is the bone thin children with bloated bellies, or the lack of clean drinking water let alone enough to grow crops, poverty prevails in all its darkness here.

"Helping out' can be many things, it does not always have to be a big thing - too many times we stop short of helping someone thinking that perhaps it's not enough. The truth is what ever you can do does help - perhaps not changing a life, but if you can bring a smile to someone who has little reason to do so, me thinks you have done enough.

On the return trip back North heading home I went back to Bassamba, this time with a few gifts - bars of washing soap, little packets of suger and salt, biscuits, a plastic bucket to replace the rudely cut plastic can they used to draw water from the depths of their single well - small things indeed, but perhaps enough to make things a little easier at least perhaps for a day or two.

Women around the world, irrespective of where they come from, are more likely than to like a cake of perfumed toilet soap - or so I thought. Judging by the smiles on the faces of the women when I handed each of them a cake I was right.

My perfect moment was to come a little later on though as I drove back along the dirt track towards the sealed road - two girls walking back from the market place in the hot sun. Stopping I handed them the last two pieces of soap I had with me and pulled away. Looking back in my side mirror I see the two of them breaking into dance, stamping their feet in the dust, twirling around, waving in the air a hand, each in which they clasped a bar of laundry soap.

So little to bring a smile


  1. Amazing are your blog entries. Please tell me what you do for a living to have such freedom to travel.

  2. Thank you Mannyhz! The fringe benefit of being the equivalent, (roughly) of a traveling encyclopedia seller...