Wish for Africa Foundation


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Out and about, it's Tuesday 19th

Yet another bad night’s sleep this time due to the air-con unit insisting on clonking rather loudly. I can shut off from the usual noise it makes but this loud sound even continued when I turned it off. Well the only good thing about this was that at 02.30 in the morning photos can be loaded onto facebook in a flash even in Naija! Always look on the bright side, lol.

Today was the first day of the Optimal Medical Centre breast cancer awareness campaign. Several staff members and others enrolled to help met at the centre at 09.00, and had a group discussion about what was expected from the team. We also talked about how we were to go about introducing ourselves and how much information we needed to give etc. The leaflets were distributed amongst us, along with posters, bookmarks and credit card sized information.

The locally produce magazine Genevieve is running a’ pink ball’ this weekend in aid of breast awareness and has been also promoting awareness of self examination, and the importance of checking your own breasts, noticing any changes and then acting on this by consulting medical advise. This is something that all women regardless of age, culture, or social standing should be informed about. Our leaflet handout campaign has been organised in conjunction with this, and aimed at the poorer end of society in the areas at which the centres are based.

Teams of threes went out and just walked up to the woman of Mafulku, introducing ourselves from OMC and told them briefly the importance of self examination and gave the leaflets. All the woman were keen to listen and ask questions, those that were in shops were asked to put up posters, which all were happy to do. The staff of OMC seemed to really enjoy the event too, they really got into it and did very well. It gave great opportunity to converse and feel part of the local community. Even men were asking for leaflets to give to there wives and young girls were encouraged to start the habit early and to also inform other family members.

We returned to the medical centre to collect further leaflets, as we gave out more than expected, just as we entered inside the heavens opened. There was a torrential down pour which was soon joined by thunder and lightening. My first taste of the rainy season I had expected since I arrived. This literally put a dampener on the rest of the morning’s session, so it was decided that as we had given out more than we imagined, we would call it a day. Just as well as this rain remained on and off for the rest of the day.

We all had a well-earned bottle of Sprite, Coke or Fanta and as some others had just turned up. We shared how it had gone and went over plans for meeting tomorrow, everyone then dispersed ready to meet up again tomorrow for the next location.

Femi and I then headed for Lagos Island to do a bit of networking, he wanted to give a letter to the magazine editor Betty Irabor. Mrs Irabor is a very elegant lady and very well presented and carries a certain air about her, the hope is future involvement with this magazine could help awareness for ‘Wish for Africa’. We then made our way back towards Mafoluku. On the way stopping to go into the security protected area of Lagos behind the wall and barbed wire was this immaculately manicured little (or not so little) oasis. There were businesses, one of which we popped into to do a bit more networking and there was residential premises. The kerbs were all neatly painted black and white, there were no crumbling roads or buildings. To my surprise there was even a road sign, with a speed limit of 25mph, something I hadn’t noticed anywhere else. This just goes to show that order can be achieved and with effort and resources it is possible even in Naija.

As we drove out of the secured area normality quickly resumed as we headed back towards the bridge, traffic chaos as usual, petrol stations empty with fuel in abundance being sold on the black-market everyone making there profit on the way. This is a situation that seems impossible to resolve, when so many people, on many different levels, make their living out of the corruption that has become the norm here. If order was put into place what would all these people (and there are many, many people) do? If pot holes were filled, and traffic flowed, then the hundreds of men and women selling goods walking in the slow traffic would not make there living.

As a foreigner from a country where of course there are problems, but people generally have a say and things seem to work relatively well for most of us, most of the time. Poverty at the extreme that I have seen here, I have never seen, not even when taking food and clothes to the homeless in London. As I stress we, (the UK) as with any country haven’t got it completely right, with some things far from it many of you would say. Not every one can be equal and not everyone can always be pleased with the system they live in. The difference here is vast between rich and poor and it seems that the amount of people living in poor conditions here is immense.

As I lay awake at night thinking what am I doing here? I can not make one ounce of difference, what is the point to this trip? I will go home in a few weeks time get back to my family, friends and job. Back to consent electricity and water on tap, back to a health service open to all and this will all fade into a memory. I have no family here, I am not Nigerian but for some reason God called me to here and as I question at this point of my trip why? I am sure I will in time find out and the minority of Nigerians that have been negative towards my trip or the purpose of it, I pray for you, that He opens your eyes to see the positive in people and not to be so blinded with inward thinking.

Just as I was about to post this blog I checked out my facebook, which wasn’t easy as internet has not been forthcoming today. I was reminded that some people see what I am doing as such a positive thing, regardless of its outcomes or results, regardless that I will not single handily resolve the problems of the world, let-a- lone Nigeria. There was a ‘note’ from a Nigerian in America ChiChi Dike (who also very kindly sent me a donation, thank you) and I read this message that she had posted about me inspiring her (ME!?). I really don’t feel that I am doing anything worthy of such praise, but if God is using this trip and me to make a handful of people think about something or someone other than themselves, then I guess that’s as good a reason to be here as any!


  1. Glad it went well.. shame about the rain :) no speed limits a.... ill be coming out next time with ya lol in a 4x4 :) hope your ok.. i tryed skyping you earlier, but wernt answer... speak tomorow :) x

  2. I am not Nigerian and cant comment from that point of view on your trip, but your facebook and blog has overwhelmingly positive and encouraging feedback. Those who seem to be negative may not realise you are NOT PROFITING by ONE PENNY from this trip, but it is obvious you are gaining a fantastic experience in Lagos - you go for it!! BRING IT ON!!!

  3. If we look at the 'little' we feel we are doing we will always be overwhelmed by the endless tasks and need that lie ahead or just round the corner. Instead we must continue to look at Christ who through us and with us can accomplish great things. He who turned a little boy's lunch into a feast for thousands can turn our humble offerings into works of power and glory. Mother Theresa was once asked by a reporter "Sureley what you do is just a drop in the ocean?" Mother Theresa paused a moment, looked at the reporter, smiled and said "Yes. But the ocean is made up of many drops". A women who clearly kept her eyes on the great miracle worker!

    As I said before you left, this trip will open your eyes and heart like never before and there is no going back! Only forwards and upwards- keep going Jo, we are with you and the annointing of God is on you.

  4. Dunc's Thanks for these true and inspiring words. God is amazing and is capable of anything! Enjoy Russia and also be changed! (in a nice way of course!!)

  5. Hi Jo,

    Yes I would say close to 90% of Nigerians live below or at poverty levels.

    Population estimates range from 140million - 160million.

    Jo you are making an immense contribution to Nigeria, this is a large country with many problems/issues.What you are doing now will I am sure save lives in future, that is a fantastic contribution.

    God Bless you