"They made me feel extremely welcome in their country," he writes on his blog

By Gerri Miller
Updated January 24, 2008 09:45 PM
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Credit: David Turnley/UNICEF

David Beckham‘s trip to West Africa made a profound impression on the soccer star.

“I’ve just returned from visiting Sierra Leone in Africa as part of my role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador,” Beckham posted in his blog Thursday. “Though I saw many problems and issues to tackle, I was heartened by the incredible and selfless work UNICEF and other agencies are ground on the ground to help.”

He added: “I was also humbled by the people of Sierra Leone, who, despite the problems they face, keep smiling and are hopeful for the future. They made me feel extremely welcome in their country and I will never forget the experience.”

Beckham, 32, the father of three sons, described the plight of children in the impoverished country.

“One in four children die in Sierra Leone before they reach the age of five and many of the diseases that children suffer can be prevented,” he wrote. “I genuinely hope that by visiting the affected areas and spending time with some of the people there, it will draw the world’s attention towards the problems children face not only in Sierra Leone but similar situations across the world.”

Beckham also directed readers to UNICEF’s Web site..