Search

Catherine’s eye-opening trip to bring aid to Africa

14:11 24 July 2012

Maternity staff

Maternity staff

Archant

A remote corner of a violent African country rated dangerous by the Foreign Office doesn’t sound like an ideal place to work.

Support your community by viewing your local businesses

Please wait

You will be able to read the article in 5 seconds

Thank you for supporting your local community

You may now read the article

However, for Catherine Ainsworth of the International Medical Corps (IMC) in Goswell Road, Finsbury, her mission to the Central African Republic (CAR) was the trip of a lifetime.

The IMC is an organisation that specialises in aid for crisis-hit countries such as Chad, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Catherine, 26, a programme assistant at IMC, jetted out to CAR to see how aid workers were helping to bring basic health care to poverty-stricken locals in the north of the country.

She said: “It’s one of the ten poorest countries in Africa and the Foreign Office advise against travelling there, so I was quite nervous before I went – not as nervous as my mum though.

“I really didn’t know what to expect, but CAR is a country that really needs help from the international community and there are so many health problems in that area.

“Our staff are working alongside the local people in an area called Tiringolou, and I went over to see how they were getting on.”

First stop on the trip was Bangui, the chaotic capital of CAR.

“Even that was a bit of a shock, for example, women aren’t meant to walk around on their own after dark,” said Catherine.

“But once you leave Bangui things really change. There are a lot of active rebel groups around and the government say they can’t guarantee your safety in the countryside.

“Getting to Tiringolou by road is very hard in the wet season so we had to go by plane. It was the smallest plane I had ever seen, with propellers, so it was quite a scary ride. But looking down at the forest from that height was amazing.

“We landed on a dusty red road they use as a runway and then headed to the medical centre.”

IMC staff and the Tiringolou medics are working together to provide primary health care in a project part-funded by the European Commission. Catherine went over to make sure the cash was being spent well.

“The people made a such big impression on me,” said Catherine.

“They were so welcoming and passionate and positive about the work they do under very difficult conditions.”

“They are doing such a good job – it really struck me. And they were seemed really happy to see us.

“While I was there a little baby had been born and they named her Catherine after me as they saw our visit as a blessing.

‘‘I was so touched. It was an incredible experience.”

n The IMC is a registered charity and is keen for sponsorship from Islington businesses. To get involved, call 020 7017 3161.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00
Silhan Ozcelik, who police believe has left London for Syria to help in the fight against Isis.

A teenage girl from Islington may be the first British female to join the fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria.

Yesterday, 14:02
Jgerji Lleshi

A man from Holloway has been jailed for his part in a drug smuggling ring that imported more than £40million of cocaine and heroin into the UK.

Yesterday, 12:48
Daisy McFadyen is being hunted by police

A young woman is being hunted by police after she didn’t turn up to a court hearing almost two weeks ago.

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Rose Hill at her Top Drawer pop up

An Islington designer who makes people’s pets famous has put her unique stamp on Christmas cards to help sick children.

Most read news

Fears over growing extremist threat that is expected to continue for several years.

Once inside, one man held a seven-inch kitchen knife to a victim’s throat while another threatened a second victim with a knife.

His lawyers want the case against him in South Africa dropped.

It’s that time of year again, who do you think should win the Sports Personality of the Year award?

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition