Saturday, 11 August 2007

Chunli Wu

I don't spend all my time thinking about salsa.
No, really it's true. I mean ok, I spend a lot of time thinking about salsa but there's other stuff too.

Stuff like our little boy Luca, now nearly 18 months old (where the heck did that go!?!).
Luca is an absolute joy - don't get me wrong, he has his tantrums and is by no means sweetness and light the whole time, but he's awakened a part of me that I never knew existed and I find myself almost bursting with it sometimes. Trisha and I make no attempt to disguise the fact that one of the reasons we teach salsa (besides the fact that we love it) is that it's an extra source of revenue which means Trisha can stay at home and be a full time mum, giving Luca all the care and attention he needs. We're not what we'd call well off - we're really stuggling to save up to buy our own place - but we're not on the breadline either and it's pretty certain that Luca is going to get everything he needs, if not necessarily everything he wants. When occasionally he's poorly it tears my heart more than I would have ever thought possible. He's had a couple of bouts of croop over the last few months and Trisha and I have struggled to hold back the tears, nursing him whilst he struggles for breath. This got me thinking...

When Luca has croop, we can use a steroid inhaler, and we can put the kettle on to increase humidity and we can give him water or diluted juice so he doesn't get dehydrated. Parents the world over feel the same love for their children as we do for Luca, so how would it be then, if we didn't have access to medicines and steroid inhalers, if we had no electricity to boil a kettle, no juice and water that had to be brought up from a well and wasn't actually safe to drink? There are families that are living in these conditions and worse, and knowing the anguish I feel when Luca's not well, I can only begin to imagine what it must be like for the parents who haven't even got the means to feed their children, let alone give them medicine when they need it.

I haven't got a lot of spare cash - in fact I'm technically more skint than I've been for years - I'm earning about half what I did four years ago, and now am providing for a family of three, not just for myself. But I'm not starving and neither is my family. I've got safe, clean water to drink and so has my family. Luca will always be well clothed appropriately for the weather, and his mum makes certain there are no shortage of toys for him to play with. In time he'll go to school, where suitably qualified teachers will give him a good education.

So I decided to make a difference. Not a big difference, but a difference just the same.
I remembered from a donating to Action Aid a few years ago that they run child sponsorship schemes and got in touch to find out more about it.
Suffice to say, that in a poverty stricken region of Western China a ten year old girl called Chunli Wu should now maybe get safe water to drink and maybe even medicine if she falls ill. The small donation I'm making each month will help her and the community around her build something of a better future for Chunli Wu and her family and friends. Whilst I get a lump in my throat and start to fill up with tears when I think of the parents who can only watch their children starve as they themselves do likewise, I feel good to know that for one little Chinese girl called Chunli Wu and those around her, I'm making a difference.

This for me is a very personal thing and I certainly didn't feel this way before Luca arrived, but if you're interested in maybe helping another child, or another community that doesn't have the same benefits as you, then you can find Action Aid at - No pressure, like I say, it's a personal thing.