Wish for Africa Foundation

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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Last day of campaign....Thursday 21st







Today was the final day of our breast awareness campaign in the last of the three destinations, Alagbado. So we were to meet at Mafoluku clinic at 09.00. Femi was eating breakfast when I arrived, rice, sauce, meat, yam and egg, all with that lovely Naija kick, I was offered some and accepted. Nigerians seem to have a good hearty breakfast.

We set off with a car full again, this time in the direction of Ikeja to the area of Alagbado. This is an area where a purpose built centre is being constructed, with living accommodation and offices upstairs and wards, treatment rooms, theatre, delivery room downstairs. It will be great when it’s completed and owning a building means that the landlords can not just suddenly increase rents or decide your tenancy has expired, which can be an issue with rented premises. I did ask which room was mine, but not sure I got an answer. As I was shown around by Femi there were people in many of the rooms, I asked if they were the work men’s families but was informed they were squatters and just moved in (hopefully they will move out as swiftly)

On arrival we meet up with the others that had made their way there. We were a much bigger group then on previous days. I think I counted around 17 of us in all. Mr Dee, who has been ill and not well enough to be at work, had made the effort to come, but was obviously still not well, but kindly gave us moral support. It was nice to see him, I hope he is better and around next week.

We had the mandatory photo shot and Femi (Mr Motivator) gave us the team talk. I was distracted by my surroundings (although I had heard it before, so could be forgiven I’m sure), there was a huge palm tree behind us and there were loads of birds going mad on the fruit flapping and tweeting like there was no tomorrow! They were tiny and didn’t show on the photo, but what they lacked in size they made up for in noise. Also to my amusement (again I guess I was alone in this as no one else batted an eyelid) were the amount of lizards scooting around, all different sizes and colours. I must have seen 20-30 as we were walking around (and no it wasn’t the same one following me!). I really wanted to show my excitement and joy of seeing them, but restrained from doing so….hence I’m letting it out now.

The area again is very different from the other two we have visited, but still very deprived, probably more so. On the road where we gave out leaflet the ‘shops’ were all shed type constructions. As appears to be the case everywhere there was again lots of shops all selling small amounts of things, and cooking food. We walked around and spoke to the women handing out leaflets and informing them that the medical centre would be opening in a few weeks.

It never ceases to amaze me how much or how many people can get on an Okada. I didn’t manage to get my camera out in time but one went past (these are not big bikes). On the bike were two children on the front behind the handlebars (about 3-5 years old) three adults and the woman on the back had a baby strapped to her back (as they do here, no pushchairs to be seen). There is a law to wear helmets here, but not everyone does and these weren’t. Something that you just wouldn’t even consider doing in the UK, you have the children taken into care! But quiet the norm here, kids jump on these Okadas to go to school, old and young alike ride on them to get around. I must say I tempted to have a go but I don’t think Femi would be too pleased, and I probably would be terrified. Tony would also moan as I haven’t had my leathers on for years and never get on the back of his bike!

Today was again very hot, by the time we had walked about Alagbado , I had sunburned neck and blisters on my feet ( all together…aarrhhh!). As we were heading back to the ‘construction site’ we took a different route and spoke to some more women. Many of these had little babies or children and we ‘blessed’ several of them, by giving them a few Naira (probably just £1 or £2) but it may have been as much as they’d have made in a day.

We then passed a woman cooking akara balls, these are similar to Indian pakora , Femi decided to put an order in so we could all enjoy a snack, I went with some of the girls to pick them up, and then went to another ‘shop’ to get a crate of drinks for everyone. At this point three more women came over and wanted me to take photo’s of me with them and there children, all quite excited by seeing an Oylibo. (its like being famous lol!).

After eating together and saying our goodbyes, we got back in the car and headed home as we got to the main road the banks with there flashy facades again became evident amongst there run down shabby neighbours. We drove past big yellow buses, that Femi explained had hard metal seats and are like public transport here, he said what they were called but the name escapes me now (I’m sure someone can enlighten us).

On return to Mafaluku I was escorted to a bank by one of Femi’s staff (still not allowed out on my own), I needed to pick up some money (kindly donated by ChiChi Dike from America towards my trip). This was the forth time of trying to get it, either they hadn’t enough dollars, or system was down etc etc. Finally a man who recognised me from church served me (I said how did he notice me….he laughed (I was the only white person there!)) and I was able to get the cash.

Soon after I was picked up by my driver (Sonny, I think) and Mr Solomon and taken back to the hotel. I sat in the outside bar, with plenty of insect spray, after getting bitten yesterday, with my netbook and a cold Smirnoff ice, almost like being on holiday!

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good day then :) im so proud of you mum :) i do hope your gonna bring some of this food back lol :) id be up for trying some :) hope your ok, im of to chelmsford for the weekend :) x x

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  2. Thanks Adam, enjoy your weekend. I love to bring some food home but not sure what customs would say! Have to open a Nigerian takeaway to rival all our Indian and Chinese ones lol. xxx

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  3. If adam tries some nigerian food i wanna be there lol! I reckon he might do smirnoff ice tho :) I really wish i'd seen the lizards tho - glad your enjoying all those little extras that make travelling to a different country such a great experience, seeing things new, you're right to get excited about that!! xxx

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  4. Hi there Jo
    Am keenly following your blog - which affords me great amusement and also fills me with awe at what both you and Femi are doing.It is one thing to be a Christian but another to live out one's faith!
    I am a Nigerian who used to live in Lagos and know the areas you are visiting well. Glad you can see the positive side of life in Nigeria, which is often not easy for the ordinary person. The things we take for granted here all come with a price there - often a very high one.
    May God continue to bless you and your work and I look forward to reading today's installment - NEPA permitting!
    Gerrie

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