What a busy day I had Wednesday. First a drive down to Ipswich for an interview on Radio Suffolk's mid morning show.with James Hazell. That went well, in fact better than I had anticipated. Came home to find emails from friends who had listened to the show and they were all pleased with what I had said. Rob had recorded the interview so I was able to listen myself, very odd, it didn't sound like me at all. Click on the link below to listen for your self. Start at 2 hours 11 mins.
Half past five found us at the station where we collected two of the speakers off the Cambridge train.
The Public Affairs committee all turned up on time as usual to find that the hall was more or less ready to go, as Rob, Alex and the speakers we had collected from the station had set to putting out the tables and chairs.
If there had been any doubt as to whether we would have an audience or not was soon dispelled when people started arriving well in advance of the start time. Soon there was a buzz around the room. People gathering and tasting the local food and wine.
We made a prompt start at 7.30 and Maria Pawlowska gave the first presentation. Unfortunately she hadn't got very far when one of our members was taken ill. Luckily we had two doctors 'in the house' and another guest quickly phoned for an ambulance. After a short time the lady was seen by the paramedics and taken into the ambulance for tests. Luckily she had recovered and didn't require hospitalisation but was taken home by one of my friends.
The evening continued. Maria was followed by Jenny Newell a local doctor, who gave a report on work being carried out in Bangladesh by one of her friends who has been working there for many years. The work being done in the Lamb hospital has reduced maternal mortality dramatically and is now significantly lower than in others regions of Bangladesh.
Adam Musgrave from Oxfam GB followed giving information on how governments are involved in implementing the MDGs and gave some very practical examples of why health care is not always accessed even when it is available. For instance in many countries health care has to be paid for in advance, and he gave one example of where the cost of a hospital birth equates to half the average annual salary. He put it to us that if he was earning £24,000 here he would not be prepared to pay £12,000 for his wife to give birth to their child she is expecting, even though he loves her dearly. I think everyone in the room agreed with him. He gave examples of how Oxfam uses publicity to raise awareness of issues.
On a different note Vicki Morris spoke about her work with young parents in Suffolk. Since the beginning of her project they have reduced the number of teenage pregnancies quite considerably. They have also succeeded in getting a large number of the young mothers back into education or into work. They have also succeeded in preventing them from going on to have subsequent pregnancies. A very worthwhile project - however due to funding cuts her job has been axed. Luckily for Vicki she has been accepted onto the degree course to study as a midwife, so will take this opportunity to make a career change.
The evening was brought to a close by Ruth Bond the NFWI national Chairman. She has been involved with the Women Reaching Women project since its conception and had visited Malawi with Adam Musgrave last year.
A total of 78 people attended the eventing and this morning I received several emails thanking us for a very good evening.
Popped into the WI office this morning to return some equipment and they too had had calls thanking them too.