My name is Jo Watts, a Midwife working in the UK for an NHS trust. In May 2009 I traveled to Lagos, Nigeria to work with a charity www.wishforafrica.org for a month. This was a whole new experience for me, the first time I have stepped so far out of my comfort zone! Join me for the journey and follow my continuing work with the charity.
Wish for Africa Foundation
Monday, 2 May 2011
April 30th 2011 - Happy Birthday Tony
Today is my husband’s birthday. Happy birthday Tony, sorry I’m not there to share it with you. I texted Tony first thing in the morning.I spoke to him as soon as I could to ask Femi and use his phone. All seemed well at home Tony liked his presents that had been left for him. It felt like a long day, Remi had got the car and was running around Lagos sorting out everything. Femi was downstairs and I was using a very slow and frustrating internet.
About three Femi and I took a walk to the basket market. They make the wicker items from scratch. There were women stripping the bamboo canes into strips, then a man making even thinner and tidying them up. Then others were weaving all sorts of items, from baskets, cribs, chairs to sofas. There were so many stalls and so much choice all under the fly over, it was quite a sight almost hidden to the traffic on the express way above them. I had my camera out and after taking a photo of the Weavers Association we got called into a room full of men asking why I was taking photos, in a very typical Nigerian man way, Femi reassured them with a small amount of money and they welcomed me. I also enjoyed some corn and coconut from the side of the road. This is something I always enjoy and hadn’t had this trip.
It was nice walking along the roads rather than driving, so many people say welcome and hello. It is such a different way of life, many things would just never happen in the UK. Yet here it’s the norm and no one bats an eye or even notices things could be different. Its said to be a dangerous place by some yet children play in the streets at such a young age not something you see in the UK, we fear that they will come to harm. So I ask where is it more dangerous or have we [UK] become so health and safety obsessed that we see danger in everything?
We then went to the photocopying shop, or rather shack the size of a small shed with leads and plugs all over and the oldest computers ever which you can use as an internet café. I sat on a bench while the photocopier spewed out its copies and a large fan kept the air circulating.
We returned home and met with Folekemi and Femi’s other sisters it was great to see her and as always she made me laugh and fussed other me. They stayed and ate and waited for Remi to return before leaving. A lady came round to put decorations on all the items for tomorrow everything is silver and pink and so much detail and tradition goes into this.
A little later when Remi had gone back out, Femi and I walked to the photocopy shop again to collect the items and while I waited for the suya man to cook my tasty what ever part of the cow it is, Femi had his hair cut and I sat watching Lagos go by in the dark of the evening. When you’re in the poorer communities so many more people acknowledge and welcome you, I guess its because they don’t see white people every day in these areas.