All Images © Guy Bell, www.gbphotos.com all rights reserved
The pressure of doing a good job and in an ‘unknown’ environment was certainly playing on me in the run up to the trip. My back was twinging, I was not sleeping properly…. so the hugely egotistical security guard, who insisted that every item in my camera bag was taken out and swabbed, and the rip-off at Travelex (compared to their web prices) was just grist to the mill. My plan to get a first glimpse of Africa from my window seat reflected my distracted state – the fact that we arrived at 11.30 pm should have been a clue…. doh!
But the blackness outside was appropriate to the feelings I had about the continent. I have naturally seen plenty of documentaries but the reality was still a mystery to me. The darkness and the fact that I was in the hands of others meant I had no real idea of where I was going. This mingled with the conflicting preconceptions I had about sub Saharan Africa – war torn/ violent/poverty stricken but also full of people with spirit, humour and generosity.
I was still stressed but in a moment of reflection realised that the least I could do was do my best. Whatever illness/disaster befalls me it is only likely to be bad in comparison to my privileged world at home. It was a comforting thought, but I wanted to do well by the people the charity was here to help.