It’s been over a week since I returned from Madrid, and I’m still processing exactly what it was that I experienced out in Spain. The entire trip was such an energetic collection of encounters which started off in a small Church in Toledo and culminated in a gigantic open-air Mass on an airfield in Madrid. I was given the opportunity to try traditional foods, learn the Spanish lingo and meet people from particularly obscure countries many of us had never heard of before.
We met people from 46 countries
After setting myself the challenge of spotting CAFOD partner nations, out of the 40 possible, I only managed to meet people from nine of the partner countries – Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria and the Philippines – although I did meet people from a further 36 countries in total. My favourite had to be El Salvador, the nation whose national hero is a CAFOD icon and a strong inspiration of mine for speaking out about civil violence within the country which lead to his assassination in 1980.
>>Read more about CAFOD’s work in over 40 countries. Continue reading
In the Spring 2011 edition of Side by Side, Halima Mohammad from Kwai, Nigeria asked a question. Read the responses and have your say here.
Our new SbS Question is now live. Let us know what you think here >>
Halima Mohammad, Kwai, Nigeria
“Water shortages in our village create suffering, but the government is blind to our problems. We elected people to serve us, but they don’t even provide basic services. How can we make officials take responsibility for our needs?”
Our panel said…
“It’s the government’s responsibility to provide water to the people. In reality, election promises are often broken. Leaders should ask people what they need. Instead, they sit in big houses making plans without consultation. Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Nigeria
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria
How do you sum-up such a vast country as Nigeria? The most populous in Africa with 150 million people and 400 ethnic groups, her borders holding together Muslims and Christians; the cities with their highways and clubs, versus the villages without water and electricity; the desperate poverty, despite the huge wealth generated by oil – it is a country of paradoxes.
At 52, I’m a proud child of my country’s independence. Some of my earliest memories of this were singing the anthem in school, and being given little green-white flags to wave at parades. I also remember being sent home to get mugs to be given free milk from the new independent government, because they wanted healthy and well-educated school children.
Filed under CAFOD, Nigeria
The story of four schoolgirls from Bradford who had an idea to combat maternal mortality overseas. This film shows their dream becoming a reality as they travel to Nigeria to meet women who risk their lives through pregnancy and childbirth, and make them a diaper cake. See how their ‘Pack for Mums and Babies’ will save lives
These four school friends wanted to help young mums in Africa – and had an idea which is now set to be a real life-saver as one of our World Gifts.
Find out more about their amazing story
As soon as we got out of the car in the village Ankpa, we were welcomed in the most delightful way, with people swarming out of the healthcare clinic to greet and show their appreciation for us. Everyone seemed so happy to see four young English girls in their village.
As we spent the day in the health clinic in Ankpa, we found out more about the young mothers and how they manage to look after themselves during pregnancy, as they don’t get a lot of help from their family to go through the emotional and physical help pregnant women need.
We asked the mothers what they feel they need most during pregnancy, and the most common answer was a napkin and baby clothes. The mothers told us they were very happy to be having the baby and how the clinic benefits and supports them.
This contrasted hugely with the most emotional experience of the trip. The next day we visited an outreach clinic in Ankpapa. As soon as we arrived, we saw the amount of poverty affecting the area.