by Luke, in Malawi
23rd March, 2009

Bruce Lee (Nathan) touched me. Big problem there, but I’ve had a quiet word – I don’t like to make a fuss about this sort of thing, but the touching is a line that can’t be crossed. I can put my own microphone on – it’s not hard, a monkey could do it. I tried not to be over the top about the incident, but it isn’t right. He shouldn’t try to put his hands down my shirt – Bruce Lee or not. Other than that it was a fantastic day. Adam was hardcore lugging the camera around, that thing (the camera) is really heavy and he had to shoot all day from the shoulder, which would have been a killer. He hopefully got some great shots though and the work was exactly the sort of thing I love.

We were working in one of the poorest communities surrounding Lilongwe and it was the first trip to run a livestock programme. I get so inspired by this as although I love working with dogs and cats, doing the graft with donkeys, cows, chickens and goats is something that really benefits the people. The kids in the village were really good fun and at the end of it the village chief gave me four corn on the cobs. Big gift as taking food from people who are so poor felt wrong, but I couldn’t refuse as it would have been rude.

One incident that won’t make the shoot was a man from the village asked me to look at a horrible wound that was around his genitals. It was infected and very nasty – no idea how he got that, maybe a boil that had burst and got infected, but the poor guy could hardly walk. Popped him on a course of penicillin and told him to keep it clean and buy some tincture of iodine. I hope he does okay. Ethically these sort of situations are a nightmare. As soon as you help one person then they all start coming and I’m not a doctor and I don’t know how to treat them. Very difficult when they have no one else to turn too.

A lot of the kids had ringworm and were very thin. Clement (one the Rescue Centre Staff) is a really warm, nice guy and told me infant mortality is very high there. I can believe it as the public health and hygiene isn’t great. A lot of human waste and toilet blocks were grim shacks with fairly full pits of waste. Reminded me a bit of the refugee camps in Kenya (where I went with a  team in 2008) and almost as bad to be honest. Lots of sweet little babies in dreadful conditions. I really struggle to relate these conditions to my home. I’m so lucky to be where I am, it really makes me miss home. I just want to hug Noah and Cordelia after days like these. It’s a hard world, not just if you are a mangy street dog, that’s for sure.

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