On June 13, 2011, I visited The Polio Victims Association Home in connection with my work for The Peace Project.
Polio respects no boundaries. In Sierra Leone, the bombing of all hospitals and health facilities and the evacuation of aid workers during the nineties meant that polio vaccinations were interrupted and polio spread rapidly during this time.
Polio has been eradicated in the UK since 1982. Yet poverty and war continue to perpetuate this easily preventable yet cruel disease in Sierra Leone. There are thousands of polio stricken disabled people in Sierra Leone. Some of the youngest in the country are housed at the Grafton Home for Polio Orphans.
In Sierra Leone polio is considered to be a curse and the women who bears a polio child is cast out on the streets and the child is taken into the forest to have a ceremony conducted to rid the child of the demon. Often the child is left to die, or abandoned in the streets, or brought to orphanages. A child born with polio is considered to be of less worth than a dog and disabled people in general are frequently beaten and harassed for no reason except for their disability. Polio orphaned children are the most vulnerable people in this poor country.
(Source: International Foundation for Disabled Orphans)
Walking past London’s Harrods store on June 15, 2011 and seeing this window display for Veuve Clicquot.
Veuve Clicquot is opening its first champagne bar and boutique at London’s Harrods store.
The Veuve Clicquot boutique is located on the first floor alongside international luxury fashion labels. There is also a lounge area with gray and yellow tones and glass topped tables for a more quiet place to contemplate money spent. The Boutique also offers the latest Veuve Clicquot gifts, such as the new Ice Jacket and Traveller and other stylish champagne accessories, sold exclusively through Harrods.
(Source: Luxuo, Luxury Blog)
On June 14, 2011, I travelled from Sierra Leone to London. In the space of 48 hours, I received my greatest lesson in How The Other Half Loves… The gap between rich and poor. The spectrum of having and not having… The distance we need to travel.