There are two recurring images which I just can't get out of my mind today, and I wish to share them with you.
The first is of an adorable baby I met yesterday. Just a month old, Alice lay in her mother's arms in the Audiology department of the hospital where the farmer went for his tests. She had a mop of black hair, deep blue eyes and just the faint beginnings of a smile. Her mum cuddled and talked to her and already there was a sense of communication between the two. Alice was wearing the prettiest little white dress embroidered all over with pink daisies and a new white cardigan which her grannie had knitted for her. Her Dad sat beside them (it was Dad who had come for similar tests to the farmer) and under his chair was the baby carrier with new white blankets - all beautifully cared for. It was a delight to sit next to them and for a few minutes to share their happiness at this new addition to their family (they told me they had two older children and that this one was a lovely surprise).
The second image is from the BBC News bulletin at six o'clock last evening and is from a remote village in Sierra Leone. Here, most of the adults are dead or dying from ebola. Many of their bodies lay where they have fallen, in grotesque positions. Some have babies by their sides, babies too small to join the other children. The other children, some not much more than toddlers, stand quietly at the other side of the road through the village 'because they think the fever might not cross the road, so they are safer there'. When asked by one of the few healthy adults around to put up one hand for each parent who had died, almost without exception all the children put up both hands. Who is there to help them? Nobody at that moment other than a television crew.
Half of me thinks this television intrustion to be obscene - the other half thinks that the world needs to see this. Apparently immediately after the showing help arrived in the shape of medical staff. Then I began to think of other remote villages. Then I began to think of the plight of so many of the poor children in Africa and in the areas of the Middle East where nobody has a secure place to be.
Alice had lovely little pink feet sticking out of her dress, feet which were kicking happily and when I touched one of her feet she looked at me. I put my finger on her hand and her fingers closed round it - she is beginning to make contact with the outside world - a world which is friendly, secure and loving. If only all the children in the world could say the same.