Time and date Lagos, Nigeria

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coming to America :)

In less than 12 hours, we will be on the plane on the way home. We depart at around 10:00 tonight (5:00 EST). I actually want to stay longer. The only thing I miss is my pillow/bed and my shower (and some of my favorite foods). But I feel like I've made some friends for life in such a short time. Some of the women my age I know would be my best friends if I lived here. I hope I can maintain contact and COME BACK! I had no expectations coming, which is good. I believe this is the trip I have been waiting for. I am coming home much more educated and with much more complicated thoughts and prayers. It has been amazing. I can't wait to share photos. Everyone is going to be sick of seeing them :) I have no idea how many I've taken, IT IS ALOT! I wanted to remember everything. I am full of joy!!!!! As I sit here I am next to a gentleman who keeps saying, "I want you people to come back again." over and over.

This is my last post before getting home. As other thoughts come up I will write once back home! Wish me safe travels!

Send off

Yesterday, Wednesday, July 14th (by the way, they write the date as 14/07/2010-that's been confusing) we had an incredible send-off. Chapel is on Wednesdays. At Chapel they gave us gifts and talked about the impact the team made. They said they have become much closer to us than previous teams. It was very touching. I am coming home with several handmade gifts which are way more special than anything I could have bought. This is not a touristy area, by the way, so I am coming home with very few souvenirs.

After Chapel, they hosted a lunch for us with all kinds of Nigerian foods and drinks. There was an emcee and they thanked us again. I can't even express in words what it was like. Then, they brought out a huge cake for one of the team's birthdays. We also had another cake at dinner for 2 more birthdays that are tomorrow. It's been fun for me to see some of their decorated cakes. The first one was not sweet at all, but the second one was heaven! The icing was so sugary,it hit the spot!!!!!!
We had some sharing last night. The founder and the IT guy (both from Atlanta) expressed that they have bonded more with our group than others. That also makes one feel really special! We talked a lot about the things that (not physical) we will bring back with us in our hearts and minds and how we can change to become more like the Nigerians. I have so many plans for the next time I come.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Community Outreach

Since it is summer at West Africa Theological Seminary, there are not as many students here as normal. It's been good in my opinion because we have been able to form a better bond and spend more time getting to know the ones who are here. During the normal school year when there are more students, community outreach is tripled compared to now. But, last night we had the opportunity to go out with some if them. We took the seminary bus about an hour away to a more populous Muslim area. The side of the bus has a movie screen that is hoisted up in the air and we projected a movie about the life of Jesus (which was in their tribal language-Yoruba)in partnership with one of the local churches. They provided a few words and prayed with anyone who wanted to. Then, they invited everyone to their church on Sunday. There must have been over 200 people who came out of their houses, businesses or stopped while driving by. It was very neat. Apparently they always partner with a church that is within walking distance from the community they are showing the movie in. Was an educational experience for us, illustrating that we need to do more community outreach and stop being ashamed of our faith for fear of mockery. In the US it seems it is more important to be PC than to actually admit you have a faith. We have been told by the founder of the seminary that while the number of Christians in the US is rapidly declining, the number of African Christians is growing by leaps and bounds.

We have had an exciting last day. I will have to write later.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday thoughts

Well, one more day of work, then we get ready to come home Thursday night (Nigerian time). Time has flown...... The medical clinic has gotten more and more busy. Yesterday we saw a record number of patients for the clinic. Lots of variety. I also got to observe a rep from a medical supply company trying to sell the clinic a TENS unit. Their technology is so far behind what I use on a daily basis. I got to meet and talk with a Nigerian physical therapist who is one of the reps.

Our water pump at the guest house is not functioning correctly, so we have no water. We may have to get water from another source and bucket bathe tonight---ugh. Also a problem with flushing the toilet. 8 women sharing a bathroom and you can't flush..... Again, UGH.

I have received several gifts of gratitude. I am coming home with 4 beaded bracelets and 3 pairs of earrings, all handmade thus far. I am so grateful because they are really things I would wear. I have made many new friends in the last 2 weeks and will be bittersweet to leave. I hope I will have the opportunity to come again next summer. I am looking into sponsoring a seminary student for their studies. That way when I come back I will have a personal bond with someone and can spend time with them and their family. One of our new friends had a baby 2 nights ago. Hopefully we will see the baby tomorrow.

A couple of us were interviewed today for the local paper. It was interesting because the first question after my credentials was, "Are you a Christian? When did you dedicate your life to Christ?" You won't find that in the Gainesville Sun! HAHA!

Tonight we are taking the seminary bus to a community in Lagos, rolling down a white screen and projecting The Passion of The Christ for the people to watch. Should be interesting. Just a little worried about the mosquitos.

Ok, hopefully I will get a chance to sign off tomorrow, then the long flight home.....

Monday, July 12, 2010


Saturday, we went to the National Museum. That was great! We learned alot about the history of Africa and the different Tribes and their culture. Then, we went to an "American" style restaurant at a hotel. A hamburger was like $8. Funny story, the waiter misunderstood my order. I had ordered a "Mixed green" salad because it was cheap and I didn't want to spend alot on lunch. Well, he heard "Mixed Grill" which all kinds of different grilled meat-THE MOST EXPENSIVE ITEM ON THE MENU!! Arghhhhh. I tried to tell him there was a mistake and he said, "OK" and walked off. I laughed and sucked it up and ate it. Then, we went to the beach. There were hoodlums there at the entrance charging a fee to get on the beach-a total scam, they had no authority. We didn't stay long because people were following us around hounding us to buy stuff or take their picture for money. I took some video of the police fighting :) Then, a small child tried to pick pocket one of our gang. WE LEFT! Then, we went to a coffee shop and had good coffee (YEAH!) and home made ice cream. The ice cream was a treat because people here don't eat sweets, so you can't get them! I was a happy camper!!!!!
We have seen the most incredible teeth here. In Gainesville, on a daily basis, I see patients with rotten teeth and poor hygiene. I have yet to see a rotten tooth even though they are poor and don't have flouridated water. They also have REALLY straight teeth without having had braces! So, stop feeding your children sweets HAHA!

Oh, btw, I can't upload pictures because the connection is too slow, so I will send a link to an album when I get back. Home in 5 days.....


I think I mentioned before that this area of Nigeria is mostly Christian. We have seen some Muslim Mosques and Muslim dress, but mostly everyone is Christian. They are so faithful and trusting of God. Everything they do is for God and in his name. Church services last 3 hours most times. A few of us tried to go to a local Baptist Church down the road from our guest house yesterday, but we were given the wrong time. :( So we walked back. Funny thing is, there are at least 3-4 churches every 1-2 blocks, so we were able to sit outside and listen to a service. They sing, sing sing! and pray, pray, pray! Some of the rest of the group went to various methodists churches around town as arranged by the Archbishop in Lagos. He informed us the Sat night before the service that some people would be preaching. We all think that he thinks everyone is pastors. But, you don't say no to the Archbishop, so we have some new preachers in our group :) Another difference is that most churches have 3-4 offerings per service. If you are unable to give, you still go up to the front and "ceremoniously" give. But, most give everything they can even though they don't "have." Seems kind of backwards that we Americans have excess and cringe when we have to tithe, but throw the credit card down for the 42" TV. That has really touched us.

Friday, July 9, 2010


First, have I mentioned I love the children??? :)

Last Saturday we took a road trip about 2 hrs away to a town called Badagry. There is a Slave relic museum there and this the town where almost all slaves in Africa were shipped out of. I learned so much about how slavery came about, how it was carried out, etc..... We walked visited the museum where the (what's the word for the person who runs the museum and tells the history? Can't remember.) told us stories and showed us old relics from the times of slaves. I got to try on the chains that they wore and was tied around my neck. It was next to impossible to walk.... Then, we rode in a boat-all 15 of us in 1 boat, kinda scary-across the lagoon to an island. We walked one mile on the island which the "walk to destination unknown." They call it that because it was the walk the slaves took to the ocean to get on a ship to who knows where. So, we walked to the ocean. The ocean was beautiful and the waves were high.

On Sunday we went to church. Some people went to the cathedral and the rest of us went to Lagos Island to a church our host, Gary, was preaching at. It was VERY Americanized, or Westernized. The people were wealthy, the women dressed to the 9's (not in traditional wear, but things you'd see in the US) and carried Coach purses. Some of the people from the mainland think these people have been influenced too much and sold out to Western ways. The service was just like if I had gone to a black church in Gainesville. The music was fantastic. They held a little reception for us after, then Gary wanted to take us to the mall and get KFC. KFC???? I don't even eat that at home!!!! I skipped and found an Americana coffee shop and got a brownie :) I also found a fabric shop and bought fabric for my dress, which by the way is finished and BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to wear it. We are wearing them to church this week, then when we arrive in Gainesville on the plane :) After lunch, they took us to a touristy souvenier market. I bought a few things and a pair of sandals for myself :)

I have to mention our helpers. We have 2 guys, George and Jide, that go everywhere with us and sometimes we take a member of the military. The government is fairly corrupt and they could find a way of detaining us or someone could try to scam us, so usually as soon as they see the military uniform, they back off. Very interesting to watch the body language. There are 2 of us runners. THEY WILL NOT LET US GO OUT AND RUN! We fought with them the first night and fnally we were allowed to run up and down our street, which kind of defeated the purpose. Last night, Jess got in another confrontation about it. I was not going because I have been blessed with a little traveler's sickness if you know what I mean :) They are all so protective of us. A few of us a going a little stir crazy. They want us to do everything together......Everyone knows how much I love to be around people day and night! NOT!!! We have razor wire and shards of glass all around the guest house, it sometimes feels like prison......

Well, it continues to be an amazing experience. Tonight we are hosting a little program for the children in the area and the children of the staff. Can't wait! Signing off......

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Medical clinic

I have been working in the "medical clinic" on the campus of the seminary. They staff and nurse practitioner and an LPN. They normally see staff members and their families. When a mission team comes, a second nurse practitioner (who trained in Dallas) comes to Lagos to help direct them. The clinic is very small with 1 small exam room. With us here, there is the addition of a MD, a retired RN, a PT and a respiratory therapist. We are seeing patients from the staff who want to see an MD and frmo the community. Word travels fast and we have been extremely busy. We get shorter lunch breaks and go home much later at night than the rest of the team :(

The clinic supplies and resources are scarce. Most of what they have are things left over from prior teams and what we brought. If it weren't for the airlines restrictions on weight and amount of luggage, we could have brought so much more. They need drugs, diabetic supplies, over the counter drugs and first aid items. We can't change sheets between patients unless they are very infectious. Right now we are even out of alcohol wipes.

Medical care is much less regulated. Dr Smith can write a prescription on a scrap paper and they can take it to the pharmacy and get it filled as long as they can pay for it. No insurance, mind you. Here is an interesting story: We had a gentleman come in who had just graduated from the seminary. He had some general compliants and some symptoms of prostate problems. Dr Smith wanted him to get some lab work done. He stated he could not afford it. Further questioning led to finding out the man is from Sierra Leone, he came here for school and is stranded because he doesn't have money to get back home to his family. He ran out of funds because the church that had sent him here told him they had no more money to send him. He said he hadn't eaten in 2 days. So, we went to the founder of the school to see if he could help. They gave him money to get his prescriptions and tests. Later that evening we talked about it as a group after dinner. Within 2 minutes, we had over $800.00 to give to the man to get home. Knowing if we could just get him home, he has a job and can make money. By the way, out money goes much farther here than the "Naira." A young girl asked me to help her go to camp with her church next week. All she needed was 2000 Naira, which is about $13. FOR A WHOLE WEEK! The best part is, you know you are not being scammed because these are really honest people with incredible integrity. I had this girl's story backed up multiple times-her father, the founder, the ARNP all said her family is very poor and she is unbelievably intelligent. I am heppy to help her. It's so different in the US because you can easily be scammed by someone asking for money-they usually want drugs.......

Well, sign off for now!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I had to jump off the computer last night because the office wanted to go home.

Back to our guest house. We have a COOK! So, don't worry I'm not going hungry haha! We have had great American meals except, EVERYTHING tastes better here. Nothing is processed or picked early or genetically modified or sprayed with pesticides. Eggs are fresh, meat is fresh, fruits and veggies are fresh AND delicious. I have discovered a LOVE for Nigerian bananas! I can't even describe how good they are :) The people who take care of the guest house won't let us do anything for ourselves! They are actually HAPPY to serve us and say they are doing God's work. They drive us around for hours, clean up after eating, get us anything we want at the store, etc.....

That leads me to the PEOPLE!!!! I can't even begin to tell you the love and joy these people carry in their hearts. I had heard that Nigerians were deemed the happiest people on earth, boy was that true!!! When we walk to the seminary or drive around, they see us (let me tell you 18 white people stand out!) and scream hello or good afternoon with a huge smile on their face. They know we are here to help their people and are so grateful. They take nothing for granted. The children get SO excited to see us and yell, "Oyinbo!!!" which means "white man" but not in a derogatory way. I am coming home with 100 Nigerian children to keep :) They are the sweetest and the most loving. I have a new friend, Jane. She's 11 and looks much older and is absolutely BEAUTIFUL(these are by far the most beautiful children in the world). She made me a bracelet and earrings today. It made me feel so great!

I can't write about the conditions too much, it is better told by photos. But, it's everything you'd expect and worse. But, they go about their daily lives happy. They wash clothes outside and take baths outside. In the mornings we see all the families outside brushing teeth and washing out of a bucket of clean water. Most people have these water purifiers that are up on stilts. I need to take a photo. The women wear the most beautiful dresses-I am having one made for me as we speak by a tailor. I picked out my fabric and got measured. People pretty much urinate anywhere and there is a lot of garbage everywhere. Chickens, goats, skinny dogs roam the streets (which by the way are clay, there are very few paved roads-only the highways).

I have many more topics and will prob write for weeks after I return :) I have to go back to work now. I am working in the medical clinic and doing some physical therapy when the need arises. They said the word would spread and by the end of the week I will be super busy with musculoskeletal stuff. I will have to tell more about the clinic.

Til tomorrow I hope!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Made it!

I have made it here safely. Have been busy from dusk til dawn from the minute we landed! And haven't had internet access until today. I am truly amazed and humbled by the sites I have seen. I am so blessed to have this opportunity.

Travel: Well, we had a 4 hr layover in ATL before heading over. I got a much needed back and neck massage in the airport! WOO HOO! 12 hours on the plane in the inside seat. Ugh. It's nice to have a window seat to lay my head on, but try not getting up to go to the bathroom (because everyone in my aisle is sleeping!) for 12 hrs. They served us dinner shortly after boarding which was like 1:30 am. WT???? Then, they had pizza shortly before we landed (3:30pm Nigeria time, 10:30am EST) I was all screwed up on time and couldn't eat either time! SO, needless to say when it took 2 hrs to get from the airport to the guest house I was kind of a wreck!!

Traffic: O-M-G! Can you say chaos? Everyone drives wherever they want. You just honk your horn and go! A lot of people have motorcycles/motorbikes because you can weave in and out of traffic. There are NO stop lights! No order whatsoever. It's actually kind of comical to hear some of the women in my group freak out when our driver pulls in front of someone. Traffic jams are an issue day and night.......

Accomodations: Better than I expected. We are staying in a big house just off campus. There are 4 women to a room and 2 rooms share a bathroom. That's 8 women to one bathroom.

Gotta sign off until tomorrow and will pick up there!