By Jayme Poisson
I leave for Nepal tonight and I’m nervous.
Frankly, I don’t want to mess this up. It just feels too important.
The plan sounds simple enough. I’ll be making a documentary film about delivering maternal health-care to remote and conflict-affected areas in the fragile South Asian country.
A woman in Nepal dies every four hours from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Poor, malnourished and expected to carry out the bulk of manual labour in a harsh Himalayan landscape, many of those who survive are suffering in silence.
While maternal mortality ranks amongst the highest in the region, there are some incredible things happening on the ground.
Based on the premise that childbirth ought not to be a punishment, the doc will follow teams of maternal health experts as they trek into the mountains.
I have the privilege of documenting their arduous journey and important work.
One trip requires us to hike through the hills for three days to reach a small village. Here, I’ll get to spend my time crouched in stone huts - watching, smelling and hearing the lives of the locals.
The doc is intended to be a story about the relentless mission to address maternal health, and, of course, the resiliency of the Nepalese people. But at its core, it’s my hope that it will be a story about humanity - about perfect strangers risking their comforts and well-being to help make a difference. Perhaps in the process, my work can make a difference too.
I’ve always dreamt about reporting from exotic places. After all, it surely encompasses all the reasons why I find journalism intoxicating: A chance to experience the world, meet new people, discover their ways and tell their stories.
I don’t expect it to be glamorous or comfortable by any stretch of the imagination. But I do expect it to be transformative and eye-opening, and, well, that’s worth forgoing the comforts of home.
I’ll be blogging regularly from the field. I hope you’ll tune in every now and then. There are so many stories to tell.
I’m heading to Nepal tonight and I’m nervous.
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Photo: Jayme Poisson waits Friday night at New York's JFK airport for her connecting flight through Doha, Qatar then onto Kathmandu.
Jayme Poisson is a Master of Journalism student at Carleton University. She will be reporting from Nepal until the beginning of June. In mid-June she will join the Star's summer intern program.