11 December 2007

Elephants Jungle, Malaria Parasite

The Elephants Jungle
Between the 25th November and 2nd December 2007, I joined a team of over 300 volunteers mainly from Nigeria and the United Kingdom for a week-long Christian mission to Igbo-Elerin (the Elephants Jungle) on the outskirts of Ibadan. The mission was under the auspices of ‘Liberty’ led by Revd. Catherine Jinadu. On a daily basis, members of the team would carry out medical tests, prescribe drugs, feed and pray for villagers drawn from several surrounding villages to Igbo Elerin. Most of these people do not have clean drinkable water and no access to electricity. With the exception of those on the MTN network, most of us were cut off from civilisation (no telephone signals) once you stepped into the villages.

Of course there were many tear-jacking moments especially when one considers that only 20 minutes away from one of the largest cities in Africa, people still suffer from preventable diseases. However, the positive tweak to this is the number of people that had a smile on their faces after their cataracts were surgically removed by our volunteer eye surgeons in a makeshift surgery right in the villages. Or the old woman given a bath, a brand new robe with a head tie (gele) to boot after she came in very dirty clothing, unable to walk and suffering from advanced arthritis. She is childless and claimed that her closest relatives accuse her of laziness because she couldn’t do anything by herself. Afterwards, she looked refreshed, relaxed and celebrated.

The beauty of Nigeria is that in the middle of government wastefulness and hopelessness, there are hundreds of little stories like this happening around the country where smiles and laughter is introduced to peoples faces.

The Malaria Parasite
Fresh from the missions trip, I found myself stretching like a python trying to crack a prey. Accompanying the stretching was fever, throbbing eyes-ache and a general feeling of unwell. I was certain this was the onset of malaria, probably my first in many years. Nevertheless, I drove to Lagos that Sunday morning with about 20 members of our team straight into Sunday Service at the Water Parks in Ikeja where I was asked to make a speech. I did under very serious discomfort.

Within a few hours, I became tired, disoriented, unable to eat and irritable. I was placed on combination drugs of ‘artesunate’ and ‘camoquin’. Apparently, malaria fever no longer bows to a single drug.

I was to become homebound for a full week. A blood test confirmed that it was malaria plus. I am now told by everyone that my immunity has received a boost. Some boost! PostCardfromLagos


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that in the midst of the gross neglect of duty by the Nigerian government emerges a breed of citizens who are resolute to make a difference.

Sometimes one wonders what a widow's mite can change in such a dire need.I'm fast coming to conclusion that a "little" effort goes a long way in such circumstances.A long way in the sense that it provokes others to contribute their "little" efforts and encourages them so see how several "little" efforts can make a big impact.

Sorry to hear you came down with Malaria.I wasnt bold enough to go without a weekly dose of a full course of fansidar over the 7 day period I was in Nigeria.Now that you're have been re-initiated there is nothing more to fear.For all it's worth a weekly prophylaxis of Pyrimethamine(or whatever the current "Sunday-Sunday" in the market)may help cushion your return to the Malaria endemic zone.

Unknown said...

Welcome to Nigeria! Your news made me happy. Not the sickness but the hope restoration in Igbo Elerin. But there is a second item worthy of mention. I read with glee the arrest of Ibori this morning. Things like these restore hope in the systems.


Anonymous said...

It great to here this wonderful news of what the Lord is doing and done in this village.
I thank God for your live and the live of others who cares so much for people they do not know just following the good example of our lord Jesus who went about doing good to all.
I hope people knows that it cost you much to leave your comfortable homes and your families to care for others without payment from any church, pastors or government.
I'll like to conclude that even though we claimed "Salvation is free" certainly, it's costing somebody something just as it cost Jesus his glory and life.
On behalf of all the readers and the villagers I like to say "THANK YOU" and God bless you and your team.