THIS week Leader reporter Lois Hough is in Tanzania to see the work of Save The Children

HOW can a country so beautiful be so poor?

That is the question I asked myself when I began my research into Tanzania.

These opportunities are few and far between so I didn’t even have to think about it when Save the Children invited me to Africa.

I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m feeling very apprehensive, not only in anticipation of the culture shock but at the startling things I may see when I get there.

Being in a Muslim country means I must keep myself covered up from top-to-toe in the searing heat.

I find it too much at Blackpool on a sunny day so I hope I can keep cool.

We even have to wear headscarfs in the villages, which will be an experience, but I can’t wait to muck in and be at one with the community.

I’ve been preparing for this trip for four weeks with a host of painful injections and tablets to keep tropical diseases at bay.

I hear the locals are quite wary of foreign people so I hope I make a good impression.

I like to think I’m quite strong-willed but that may be a different story when faced with these poorly children.

The number of people living in poverty in Tanzania is increasing.

One in five children under five are underweight and many children still die from preventable diseases like malaria and cholera.

More than a million children have been orphaned by AIDS.

Save the Children is working to improve the quality of healthcare in the country.

During my trip, I will visit Muhimbili National Hospital to see what help the charity can offer and the vital equipment still required.

We will fly to rural Lindi and Mtwara to see the shelter, food and schooling it provides for little ones.

The charity runs a cooking club where they teach women how to prepare a protein-rich, pre-mix porridge for their children.

Finally, we meet Save the Children directors and discuss how we can raise awareness.

The purpose of my trip is to see the charity’s work and encourage everyone at home to dig deep in their pockets and help out.

I know I will be supporting them all the way.