It was a very moving experience. Conditions were very different to those back in the UK – very basic – but there was a lot of love and care in each of the hospitals we visited. The kids were so excited by the cuddly toys, and it was pure joy giving them out.
One little girl really stood out. I’m not sure exactly what was wrong with her, but her whole face from the nose down was covered by thick gauze and the rest of her exposed skin was covered with nasty sores. She was extremely shy and nervous and hid behind a table. Eventually she came forward and I handed her the teddy bear. Her eyes lit up with such delight, I was completely over-whelmed.
I realised then that a true smile comes from the eyes (and not simply an up-turned mouth). Thanks to that beautiful little girl, I can now spot a fake smile a mile off.
LESSON: LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS.