Welcoming new Friends

This week’s UK-Nigeria online meeting differed from the norm as, for once, new participants outnumbered the regulars!

Apologies were received from Frances and Pam - who was traveling and unable to come online - and from Kelechi who was in Abuja. Meanwhile Comfort was still on training in the USA and was unsure if her schedule would allow her to attend - or even if she would wake up in time!

However, John was able to introduce me to two new team members, Yakubu and Emmanuel.

During the meeting Yakubu told us he had only been at Fantsuam Foundation (FF) for a week, but that he had already been “sucked in”. John explained that Yakubu had “hit the ground running” and already had a range of assignments on his plate.

Yakubu left Hungary at the end of March having completed a MPh programme. He told us that he has been asked to follow up on the research lab/health centre being set up, and to start documenting the progress to date as well as the challenges encountered. He has already been working closely with the Health Department (HD) and getting to know about the complex network of community contacts FF has here in Kafanchan. He informed us he has already met a few key volunteers who help the HD carry out many of its assignments.

John also introduced Emmanuel (Emma) to the weekly meetings. Emmanuel is also new at FF - a few weeks "older" than Yakubu. In fact he had arrived just before the post-election violence struck. In fact Emma and his wife are currently staying with John as their home was burnt down during the sectarian fighting. Emma has been involved in the Kafanchan reconciliation process. He was busy sorting out more relief materials from Save the Children at the weekend. The items include detergents, soaps, clothes, buckets, books and pencils etc. A delivery of school uniforms if also awaited so distribution can begin among the children who were affected.

Emma is also coordinating the children's lunch programme and he explained that at the moment FF is feeding about 20 children at its HQ and arrangements are been finalised to incorporate approximately 20 more almajiries from the Muslim Community which will commence on Friday this week. What Emma didn’t yet know was that, shortly after the meeting, John would be asking him to write up the story of Ajala, a young man who is a victim of the recent post-election troubles in Kafanchan. Ajala's ordeal is still in progress as he has a bullet lodged in his eye and needs financial support and urgent treatment to address this. Emmanuel’s interview of Ajala can be viewed here.

The team were also delighted to welcome Lagun Akinloye as visitor to the meeting. Lagun is the Nigeria analyst for Think Africa Press and has been in contact with Dadamac UK via emails and phone calls. So it was nice to be able to introduce him directly to John and his team in Nigeria.