Monday 9 March 2009: Nappy Rash
In November 2002 the wife and I were trekking through the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia. We were about four days from the road and approaching Ras Dashen, Ethiopia's highest peak.
About an hour from our next camp we were approached by a woman clearly in distress. She then presented us with her baby, a few months old maybe and clearly in a lot of pain. She then showed us his bottom. I wasn't a Dad at the time but it was obvious the wee guy had the most appalling nappy rash. Basically his whole bottom was bright red and possibly the skin had been peeled away. We stood there, there was absolutely nothing I could do at that time. For all my wealth, cameras, Tag watch, half bottle of Glenmorangie, Gore Tex; I had nothing to offer her, not so much as some zinc and castor oil. We had to continue and leave her and the child with some Birr that I had in my pocket in the hope she could get him to a doctor somewhere. I often think of that wee guy, did he make it? I'm not sure he'd get past the infection that this layman thought was kicking in.
You may get asked to donate some money soon (especially the Brits). Give it some thought. The wee guy would have probably not gotten that far if he had had some nappy rash cream.
Right stop thinking Ethiopia is a hell hole, stop it right now!!
Although this experience lives with me so does the experience of travelling in one of the most beautiful countries on Earth,. The people are just incredible, the culture and archaeology will make your jaw drop and it has a cuisine to die for. If you have a mind to take a trip to Africa I cannot recommend Ethiopia highly enough.