Jos – cool and comfortable
We have been here now for four days, and we certainly feel at peace and relaxed. Straight away from stepping off the plane we could feel the change in weather in comparison to Lagos. The cool breeze, the hot sun, the lack of sweat, we can’t ask for anything more…but whilst its perfect for us, its obviously cold for people around us, as we pass the locals in any combination of fleece jackets, hats and scarves all in 30 degree heat.
CAFOD’s dedicated partners at work
After settling in to our long term accommodation here in Jos, we headed off for an overnight trip to visit a CAFOD partner working in primary healthcare: Our Lady of the Apostle in Zawan. They run a hospital and several health care outposts, key to the communities around them. On site they also have an orphanage.
On arrival we were shown about the compound of hospital and orphanage. Passing around the hospital we couldn’t help but feel we were intruding upon patients’ privacy and dignity, who were clearly in a lot of pain. The suffering of pain is much more private in the UK. We found this a very difficult aspect of the visit, but after talking to Sister Ogo we understand that this is very much part of the culture in Nigeria.
Hope for a brighter future
One of the most important things the sisters do here is to take in babies and children who have been abandoned for various reasons. They care for them in the orphanage, often all the way through their education, giving these children a really good start in life. We met one of the newest arrivals in the maternity ward, a young baby girl less than a few months old, who is now certain of a brighter future.
We got to spend an evening meeting the children in the orphanage who were clearly excited to have us there. Instantly we had become glorified climbing frames.
A highlight of our trip was to visit the outpost clinics run by the project. Talking to the staff working at these clinics it is clear to see how vital they are to the thousands of people spread throughout a number of local communities, and how hard they work with such limited resources. The outposts provide maternity care and testing for malaria and typhoid, diseases that are a big problem here. Without these outposts the communities would have a very limited access to any healthcare. Our visits to the outposts were cut short as they sun goes down at 6 and by 7 its pitch black all year round.
Cows’ lungs for dinner!
Our overnight stay at Zawan was certainly an interesting one. The menu consisted of many hearty dishes, or shall we say lungy?! Lunch was made up of a variety of traditional Nigerian dishes- cows’ lungs in crushed melon seed, Okra soup, resembling slimey gloop and thankfully for us spaghetti in a spicy pepper sauce. Our rooms were comfortable, not only for us but for the ants in Lou’s bed and the lizards in Chris’ roof. Oh, and not to mention the swarm of bees that tried to pop in with Helen through the night. God Bless Mosquito Nets.