This morning we are off to Ketu to the 2nd clinic that WFA have involvement in. As I arrived at the clinic later than intended due to my lift and then traffic, I was pleased to find out Femi was also late (at least I wasn’t the only one!).
The journey to Ketu is about a 30 minute ride towards Lagos Island, so we all got into the car and headed off with a sense of excitement amongst the girls. As we arrived in Ketu the traffic was bad, so we went around the side roads to the centre, again another area of obvious poverty, with a different feel to Mafoluku.
It is said that 45- 60% of Nigerians live below the poverty line, from what I can see with my own eyes; I would say it appears far greater than that. Government figures of most things here in Naija don’t have a reputation of being very exact. Even the number of people living in Nigeria is said to be very under estimated.
When we arrived at the medical centre, we received a warm welcome. I met Dr Yussuf and the rest of the staff. The centre was dim and hot as NEPA (the electricity company that in an oil rich country, can not supply all needs at once, so each area takes it in turn!) was off and the air con and fans were not working.
We soon made our way out to the heat of the day, after the now mandatory photo shot and laughter as we all shout CHEESE in unison, we got into groups and hit Ketu to spread the word about breast awareness. People yet again were very receptive to us and many came over to hear and take leaflets.
A lady working at a bank that we saw going in, came running down the road to find us to take more leaflets for her colleagues. Women with small businesses took posters and leaflets to give out. Many see me an oyibo (white) and look and say hello, just for the novelty it feels, but all in good spirit. One group of women said to Femi they wanted to hear me speak, which I happily obliged and then Femi went over it again in Yoruba to make sure they had really got the message.
The ‘market’ stalls were full of many things huge piles of yams, as I was taking photos one man called and posed about to through the yam to the buyer. There were many vegetable stalls as well as material, food, phone cards, water etc, the list is endless and the amount again selling the same things, leave me wondering how they all survive. A man carrying his wears on his head gave me the most wonderful smile and stood in pose wanting me to take his picture too.
In spite of the extreme and poor conditions, almost everyone holds a smile and is full of greetings and many thank God in everything. If Nigerians are poor in monetary terms they are rich in Christ. I hear it, look and see it everywhere on buses, Lorries, cars, shops, even on a plastic garden chair, messages of Gods love. Out of having nothing they learn to depend on God, they go to church on a Sunday and give praise and thanks for the little they have got. We (UK) on the other hand have plenty and many of us don’t feel as if we need God, we don’t need His help and don’t need to thank Him for things that we feel are rightly ours. As I go to church on Sundays my daughter thinks that everyone else travelling alone is also going to church, sadly the majority of them are probably not.
As we headed back to the centre all our leaflets gone and the sweat dripping from us in the midday heat. It’s hard not to notice that amongst all the decaying run down buildings, the clean manicured frontages of the banks, guards on every entrance. This just goes to show that there certainly is money here in Naija, but whilst the rich get richer, the poor carry on scraping by.
On arrival to the centre the others were already there waiting for our return. Stories were shared of how well it had gone, as once again we posed for photos. A group of young school girls stood and watched us giggling, as we finished, I asked if they wanted to me take their picture, with screams of excitement they stood and smiled and then ran off jumping and laughing down the road. It’s amazing how you can find such satisfaction and beauty in the simplest of things.
We headed home through the traffic and chaos that is such a buzz. My lift to the hotel was waiting on my return to Mafoluku. The hotel manager Mr Solomon was there to greet me, he has been ill but it was good to see that he is on the mend. On the way back we stopped so I could purchase some fruit to my delight, a bunch of bananas that looked a little over ripe but I must say are tastier than any at home! Pineapple, mango, water melon and apples were also picked up.
At the hotel my room was in darkness and hot as NEPA was down and the generator wasn’t running. Rather than sit it hot darkness, I went outside and sat in the bar and worked, when the generator cranked up, I also had wireless internet. I think I might make a habit of this it’s nicer than sitting in my room all the time!