On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, God blessed our team in a magnificent way. Ntoro Nkanta brought us to his village where he was a teacher at the orphanage.
When we arrived at the “second” orphanage, Ntoro’s family greeted us and gave us a wonderful tour of their home. We felt so loved and trusted. It reminded us of why were here. They showed us their Palm Oil Presses, banana and plantain trees, the children homes, and made us feel very welcome and safe. This was a huge relief.
After the tour, they invited us to the school where the children sang songs for us and recited memory bible verses. It was amazing.
At the conclusion of the program (ceremony), two of our six suitcases of supplies were presented to the children. Toothbrushes, underwear, crayons, children’s books, and backpacks. The children were just “jumping up and down” with joy. All 100 children simultaneously brushing their teeth with their new toothbrushes. Nancy Allen gave the children a quick tooth brushing demonstration.
We were overcome with joy at the sight of all of these smiling faces. This would be a great application for our LWftW water purification system. Of course, it raises many questions:
Would a neighboring community steal the system?
Could we get the equipment through the airport?
Is it safe for volunteers?
We have much to think about.
On Monday, March 17, 2014, we got off to a rough start.
We were supposed to be picked up at 8:00 am at the EEMJM Hotel to begin visiting orphanages. Nobody arrived. We waited for what seemed forever and finally “a friend” of our host showed up about 10:00 am to entertain us. We talked for an hour. Still no host. We ate lunch. Still no host.
After lunch, about 2:00 pm, our host arrived and we supposedly were headed to the first orphanage. However, the next thing we knew we arrived at a University or some kind of government building. (We think. We never knew quite where we were.) The language barrier grew greater and greater with each passing moment. Where are we? Why didn’t we go to the orphanage? Where are we going? Who are these people? The dignitaries we were supposed to meet apparently were not home and they were not expecting us. We walked around some more. Asked more questions. When are we going to the orphanage?
“Not today, it is too late !!!!”. Well, that was the last straw !
Well, as God would have it, we did make it to the orphanage.
This was good. We had a nice chat with the supervisor at the orphanage… she was not expecting us. It did not appear that this orphanage would be a good fit for us. The lady said it was supported by the Government and anything we do or provide requires governmental approval. Ouch! Plus, it was in the city and we felt like our work was more appropriate in villages outside of town.
Do they have a problem with parasites?? “Absolutely not. We have no problem with them whatsoever!! Our children are de-wormed twice per year.” Wow, we just can’t seem to communicate.
They got their water from a deep bore hole. They did not seem to want a water system and couldn’t quite understand “what was the matter with the water they had”. We would only be allowed to train “government employees”, not orphanage people. There would be a Memoradum of Understanding. The government probably would not allow us to build a water room on-site. Things just did not feel quite right and we didn’t think it was a good fit for a LWftW purification system. We were not discouraged. We were just sure the other orphanages would be a better fit.
Curt Mader, Nancy Allen, and I have returned from Nigeria. We accomplished our objectives but I must say, “We are very glad to be home”.
We visited two orphanages. One in particular would be a wonderful place to install a water system. It was managed by Ntoro Nkanta; Ikponke’s brother. It was wonderful, and God honored, to see what Ntoro was doing with these children. They had about 100 children ranging in age from babies to young adults. They were joyous to receive our six fully packed suitcases of supplies. Everyone received their own toothbrush and they were passing out underwear, books, and crayons as fast as they could pull them out of the suitcase. We sang songs, prayed together, toured their homes, and prayed together some more. It was a really wonderful experience. They are so full of joy, hospitality, and life. I think all of our hearts were touched.
On the other hand, we had many difficulties. I believe we are all a little traumatized by the experience as a whole. I don’t know if we will return or not. We have lots to think about.
In the next six upcoming Reflexiones de Moises, I will attempt to recapture the events of the trips. I will attempt to paint a realistic picture of the trip and you can decide if it was successful or not. Here is how it began.
We met a very nice gentleman on the Airplane named Emeka Osbon Nwaghanata. He warned us of many things. We are very thankful that God presented this angel to us. In Nigeria, it is a “demanding culture”. We wondered what that meant???
We left the MCI Airport at 3:10 pm on Saturday and arrived in the Port Harcourt Airport at about 7:00 pm on Sunday night. So, needless to say, after 28 hours in the planes we were tired. Upon arrival we were herded into a tent with no air conditioning and bugs galore swarming everything in their path. There were men with machine guns, hot long lines, and seemingly chaos everywhere. In a matter of minutes they took our passports. Yes, we got them back, but, I don’t normally like people to take my passport. We finally made it through the security after two long sweaty hours and they gave us our passports back and we discovered that only two of our six suitcases made to the airport. “In Nigeria, we do not bring you your lost bags !”, the security guard retorted. We finally did get our lost four bags on the day we left Nigeria.
We met our “host” at the airport holding a sign that said “Tropical”. This was a great encouragement. We hopped into two speeding cars and raced through town IN THE DARK to our new accommodations: The Nikky Suites. We immediately noticed that we had a communication problem. None of us could really understand each other. But, we perservered and we were glad to have an advocate with us.
We had a body guard. We noticed he was not happy. We like everyone to be happy!!!
We had a quick dinner with our hosts and began our new friendship. We asked many questions.
Well, we requested that volunteers bring supplies for the Orphanages in Uyo, Nigeria. What a great response. We are so pleased and thankful that so many people care so much !!!
We have six suitcases packed to the gills with:
175 pairs of underwear
60 boxes of crayons
1 Ipad for Ikponke.
That should do it !!
Thank you everyone for your faithfullness. God is definitely with us and that is good to know as we prepare for departure.
Please continue to pray for us.