In this final post on our trip to Nigeria I want to share what really made this trip so special, and that is the people and the relationships that we developed with them during our time there. Not only with the other members of our team, but with the many Nigerians that we worked alongside. This has been the hardest post to write.. having to confine what I feel to words and keeping it short when there is so much to write. Suffice it to say this just barely scratches the surface.....
Our team was composed mostly of doctors from around the world. I was one of the few non-medical team members. I was kind of hoping for a honorary medical degree after sitting through the many talks on the diabetic foot; advances in breast surgery; mesh hernia repair etc... I think my inability to look at the pictures automatically disqualified me!
This doctor with Steve was one of the main planners of the CME conference and used to be the Dean of JUTH. He and his wife (an opthamologist) now run their own hospital in Jos and are starting up a teaching hospital in a town several hours from Jos as well. He was very open about the many challenges they face in both situations.
His son is a computer software genius and was at the conference as one of the IT guys. He and Steve bonded despite the fact that he is not a MAC guy. (He does have an IPhone which did carry some points!!)
Keith and Carol were the leaders of our team. They had lived in Nigeria for 20+ years as Keith worked as a doctor and worked with and mentored medical students. Many of those students are now doctors in positions of great influence and are mentoring the next generation of medical students. For Keith and Carol, going to Nigeria is going home to family. This woman is the daughter of a couple they had in Bible study when they first moved to Africa. How exciting to be working along side the next generation!
Esther is a lawyer who has taken time off of work to raise their daughter. Her husband is a surgeon who was part of the team putting on the conference. She is currently learning how to sew clothes for herself and her family and explained to me the process of choosing fabrics; patterns etc.. as well as demonstrating how to secure a little one onto your back. She even made a few wraps for me to bring home for M to use with our grandbaby.
I had the privilege of babysitting Esther's little one during some of the retreat. What a precious little girl.
Bash and Esther reminded me so much of Steve and I years and years ago with 2 little boys and a third one on the way.
Steve and Zack - the head of The Navigators in Nigeria. How exciting to meet him and hear more about the Navigator Ministry in Nigeria
One thing that struck me is the names of many of the people. They are rich in meaning.
Here is a young man named Godsend with his wife and son.
Carol and Comfort. Comfort is one of the physicians who works at the HIV clinic I spoke of in the previous post.
Blessed. That is his name. Very fitting.
And then there were the Steves. Lot of them. Here are just 4 of the 6 or 7 that were a part of the week. My Steve pretty much stopped responding to his name because it was said so often.
Bart and Rolf were two of the docs on the team. Bart is an endocrinologist from Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Rolf is a pediatric gastroenterologist from Holland. So enjoyed getting to know both of them. Rolf kept us all cheering for The Netherlands in 'football'. Hup Hup Holland!!
Curt and Linda are both surgeons from North Dakota. They had lived for the Congo for many years and had stories that were absolutely amazing. What a gift to spend time with these two. Well, with everybody.
I wish I could list every body on the team; at the conference and at the retreat, but that would be too difficult so I will end here, holding this precious little girl with Carol and Brenda (a nurse from Texas). Note the mammoth mango in Carol's hand. Yum!! I am already looking forward to our next opportunity to go to Nigeria.
Oh, I wanted to also introduce you to someone I have 'met' since my return from Nigeria. Sandi commented on my first Nigeria post and I have since learned that her daughter lives in Jos and has an incredible ministry working with HIV/Aids victims. Check out Mary Beth's blog here. Turns out that some of the items I purchased (and can be found here) to bring home were made by the women that Mary Beth has taught to sew. Next time we go to Nigeria we will meet in person. I'm looking forward to that.
Next post I will share about the few days we spend in Amsterdam on our way back to the states. Hup Hup Holland!!!
Until Next Time....