If you’re in Paris, one of the easiest ways you can do some good is by cleaning out your medicine cabinet. Did you know that if you have left-over medications like that ten day supply of antibiotics that you never bothered to finish off or the leftover malaria pills from a recent trip overseas, you can pack up all your half empty bottles and drop them off at your pharmacist. They, in turn, do a triage of salvageable medicines that are sent to West Africa.
Remember I mentioned that I like to know when supplies, particularly medical supplies get to the people who truly need them? This is no easy task. Eric, a friend who pooled together a sum of money and medical supplies and medicine found that when he arrived in Cameroun, the big problem was getting past all the bureaucratic red tape i.e bribes. Likewise, we had heard this story from people involved with Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders). Maybe in the future, if the ‘middlemen’ keep getting bad publicity, it will be easier to get the help directly to where it’s needed.
There are plenty of places right in Paris where you can lend a hand. In future entries, I will try to cover some of these possibilities for those of you that are spending some time in town.