John is an old friend who has supported my adventures from afar for longer than I care to admit (13 years) and shares my love of tourist tat from around the globe. Now he has a new baby I get to indulge my passion for buying random, weird things guilt free — and John has to sound happy about receiving pink elephants, ugly dresses and big banana replica harmonicas for his wee boy…
Who are you?
I’m John – I live in London and I work as a content strategist. That means I think about how words and language can make websites and digital products easier to use.
(John didn’t write the title, in case you think the words and language failed him. Nope, that is all me)
How do you know Vix?
Way back in 2004, I took a trip up to Helmsdale in the north of Scotland to visit my friend Jessica, who was working there. She introduced me to Vix. We’ve stayed in touch ever since.
I guess I think of it as a modern kind of a friendship: we’ve kept in contact online, and managed to meet up when our paths have crossed in places like London, Australia and Slovenia.
Why are you supporting Vix?
I love following Vix’s adventures from afar. In fact, as someone who’s chosen a relatively conventional career path, I’m in awe of the way she’s helped people in so many different parts of the world, often while pushing herself with new challenges.
When I heard about this trip, the combination of adventurous travel, trekking and fundraising sounded right up Vix’s street. As I can be guilty of ‘armchair activism’ at times, it totally made sense to cheer her on from afar!
Why do you support MSF?
The rhetoric around immigration and refugees in the UK right now is terrible. Every discussion and debate seems to run along similar lines, with many voices calling for us to focus on ‘helping our own’.
I don’t even know what on earth that means, and it really doesn’t fit with my view of the world. To me, there’s no ‘us’ and there’s no ‘them’. We’re all just people, and we’re all just trying to make the best of our lives. Helping each other is the best way to make the world a better place.
MSF embodies that better than any other organisation I can think of. And it puts it into action via the amazing work that it does.
When did you first hear about MSF?
I’ve been aware of MSF’s existence for about as long as I can remember. But I’ve only really become a bit familiar with the work MSF does since meeting Vix and learning about how she’s worked with the organisation.
The more I’ve learned about MSF, the more convinced I am that this incredible organisation deserves as much support as possible.
What is your favourite MSF project or program?
Picking favourites is hard! But I had a baby in December, so I’ve been thinking a lot about maternity care lately.
Here in London, my son was delivered by caesarean section in a public hospital. He was then checked over and cared for by a whole bunch of talented, friendly people – all for free.
In many parts of the world, the common complications that can lead to a c-section are much riskier – putting the lives of women and their babies at risk.
It’s a sobering thought that my son might not have had such an easy start to life if we didn’t live in a rich, western country. That makes MSF’s work to provide maternity services to people in the greatest need pretty incredible. (See: Iraq, Lesotho, South Sudan and more!)
Where would you most like to visit in Jordan?
It’s a cliche, but even though it’s going through a slow-motion crisis, I reckon it would have to be the Dead Sea. I’ve wanted to take a dip in it ever since it made an appearance in Asterix and the Black Gold!