Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Wednesday 2nd June 2010
I woke up after a fairly good night with the remains of stomach cramps, I had these all day yesterday and ate very little as a consequence, but they hadn’t gone. The power was off so I lay dozing for a while but soon thought I had best be ready as Mr Dee and the driver were meeting me here and one may be early.
I was going on a radio programme, Talk Nigeria with Ify Onyegbule, and had to be there for the start at 11 to speak at 11.30. Mr Dee turned up on time but we had not heard from the driver. Eventually we got hold of him and he was only at the Third Mainland Bridge, it didn’t look like we would be on time. The driver rang and said he was round the corner, so we went outside to wait he got to us by 11.05.
Typically whenever you’re late the traffic is bad, and I could feel myself becoming anxious, but what was the point, I either made it or I didn’t, it wasn’t life threatening, so I just relaxed. We arrived at the studio gates at 11.30, the man at the first set of gates must have recognised me from before as he was about to check us and then smiled at me and opened them. We stopped at the second set where you have to sign in and get ID, no one was there. We blow the horn (of course) and again, then the gate man came running round from behind the hut, obviously just been for a wee, still doing himself up. He caught my eye as I laughed and he realised what he was doing and turned away to prevent my blushes!
Nigerian men, I must say, wee anywhere and everywhere, with no shame whatsoever. I lose count in a day of how many times you see a man with a stream of urine being expelled. There are even signs painted in a lot of areas stating do not urinate here. I even saw a public toilet and a man going outside. Mind you, you probably have to be brave to use public toilets here as they are not the best toilets even in the nicest of places. I will also add that children and women can also be seen squatting regularly.
I rushed into the studio at 11.35 as Ify introduced me and asked why I was late. I apologised and blamed Wyhid the driver. The programme was fairly short with me and another lady on it, a bit of small talk about why I was here, then the dreaded question of how does health care here compare with the UK. This is difficult to answer without sounding like “we are great and you are not”, but I do my best at being diplomatic. Ify was really pleasant and I thanked her for asking me onto the show. We had the usual photo shot and I was on my way.
We then went to the Ketu clinic to see all the staff there. I had bought enough gifts so they would have something too, but when I gave them to the girls at Mafoluku, in my naivety, I’d said one thing each as the gifts had to go around, but they went like wild fire. I turned around and nothing was left (if there is a next time I will be less trusting). The Ketu staff said hello and I went in to see the lovely Dr Yussef, we had a good discussion about health issues and how things were going there. He had also visited his sister in England since my last visit and had stayed fairly near me, he even had to attend A&E in the hospital that I work in. I said next time he was to contact me and he assured me he would.
The head nurse then came in and asked if I had bought gifts for them, Nigerians are very big on giving which is really generous of them but they are also very loud in asking. I had to apologise that I had not got anything and explained what happened. I don’t think they were too impressed with me.
Dr Yussef told me about a recent birth they had there. A baby had been born an extended frank breech (basically bum first with legs up by its ears). It also had a myelomeningocele (a growth on the base of the spine associated with Spina bifida, formed due to the spinal canal not closing before birth), this burst at delivery. The baby born weighing 2.3kg (5lb) also had talipes (club foot) and a bowed leg. This in the UK would have been picked up on scan and been delivered somewhere appropriate for its additional care. This baby was transferred to a General hospital and to my knowledge has survived so far. The government will I understand pay for the operations for the baby but any drugs required will have to be paid by the parents. The reason this family didn’t have a suggested scan was that they couldn’t afford one, they too are unlikely to be able to keep up with the cost of medication should this baby survive. Arguably what life is there ahead for this child when you see the streets full of disabled beggars because there is no welfare system to support them?
The afternoon was taken up with resting. I was going to Nando’s this evening, Aderemi the very beautiful and considerate lady that kindly gave me the use of her driver for my stay had offered to catch up with me and take me out. I was intrigued to see if Nando’s was the same as in the UK. The décor was definitely reminiscent of the ones back home but disappointingly there were no olives (Nando’s do the best olives ever but I guess that’s not to Nigerians taste as a rule) or nuts etc and no salads.
Although the menu gave the different heat strengths this was not offered so Nigerian hot it was then. I had a wrap which was certainly different mainly because of the lack of salad, and fries were smaller in portion size. The rice that Aderemi and Femi had however looked loads nicer than the packet style savoury rice they serve at home, Nigerians can certainly do rice. No refill on drinks just your usual bottle choice but I guess the water here can’t be used to be mixed on the premises like in the UK, and Femi joked that Nigerians would sit here all day and drink it. I was surprised to see that they shut at nine here, which is apparently usual and allows staff to get home securely.
The evening ended with my own little fashion show, Angela had a beautiful embroidered buba made for me with a head tie (I think I need practice at that one). Also the material that Eniola kindly gave me on my last visit had been made into a long skirt and top by Fumni the lady who had the caesarean last time. Not my usual attire for home but it will make me stand out as much there as I do here!