Monday, 24 May 2010
Monday 24th May 2010
A disturbed night, as not feeling my best (not quite sure why). The children knocked to say good morning before leaving for school, all looking smart in their uniforms. Nigerian school wear is different from what we are used to seeing in the UK. The children always appear smart for school even in the poorer areas. Bola, Sola and Nimi were no exception to this rule, I gave each one a kiss and they went on their way (home work in hand).
Femi texted to say the driver we have been lent very kindly for my stay by Aderemi Fagbemi was having car trouble and wasn’t sure when it would be ready (I could say this a hundred times a day ‘only in Nigeria’). So it was relax, chill and wait. NEPA off, I went back to bed, then NEPA on I decided to iron before it went off again.
The driver Waiha (I think that was his name) arrived, delayed in part by the very heavy Lagos traffic, but once we were on our way it was clear how busy it was. We passed though areas I had not been before, trying to avoid the busier roads to Mafoluku. As we drove up M M I Airport Rd the holes along the sides had been filled in, they are in the process of widening the road, realising that this is the main road that every one travels down from the airport and first impressions matter. Well that is unless you look too closely and notice the poverty at the edge of this road. I think that is the case as poverty is every where in Lagos. I have not seen one place that it isn’t in one extreme or another.
I arrived at the clinic and by the time the driver had turned the car around, all the staff were out of the building shouting and screaming with excitement. I got out the car and was attacked with hugs and kisses, what a welcome! We went inside as a meeting was in progress deciding on plans for the party on Thursday, which I joined in on. When the meeting was over I gave out presents to the girls of sunglasses and earrings which went down very well.
There is an exciting new project that Femi is getting involved with. Lagos Ministry of Health are setting up a community based healthcare prepayment scheme. The theory is that the poor pay a small but regular amount and when they need treatment it is free at source. We went to Oloworo another poor area near Magodo where a project has been up and running for nearly two years. Femi is in the process of potentially managing this in the near future. This means a regular income, support and being able to provide care in another poor area of Lagos.
We were shown around the hospital, it was purpose built bright and clean. The hospital contained two wards, male and female each with two beds, treatment room, consultant room, labour room & delivery room. It also has its own generator so not reliant on NEPA, and a water tank for constant water.
We went in and met representatives of the Ministry of Health and of the community scheme, discussing the details of the working relationship, our ideas and their restrictions. It was a very successful meeting and I look forward to my next trip to see this in progress. Lagos has certainly started to make changes and although much is long over due, it does appear to be making headway. It now needs the Diaspora to be catalysts of this change and people with long term vision, which arguably has often been one of Nigeria’s short comings. Enthusiasm, passion and ideas are many but seeing them through to the end seems to be the problem, often corruption gets in the way of the end goals.
I returned home and was greeted by the children back from school. NEPA was down so I thought I’d grab a nap as it was hot and dark inside. The children thought otherwise and decided my room would make the best playing area in the house. As I said earlier children are much the same where ever you go.
Angela who insists in spoiling me, cooked another delicious meal of fried rice and chicken. This was followed by fresh mangoes, which like most fruit here looks far less ‘attractive’ then in the UK but tastes so much nicer. I was joined once again by Bola who likes to come in and sit with me, she is lovely and reminds me of Beth, who I spoke to on the phone over dinner.