This week’s online meeting between the UK and Nigeria teams marked another step forward because it drew upon additional technology.
As well as our usual Skyped/typed conversation we used sms/phone messages to check the situation at FF in the light of John’s uncharacteristic absence.
The fact John had not sent us an explanatory email as is his custom had caused us to speculate as to whether there was a problem. However, the team in the UK (based in London and Leeds) were able to contact Comfort at Fantsuam (rural Nigeria) and she reassured us that all was OK, aside from some connectivity issues. Comfort also said repayments were now improving - an encouraging sign that things are slowly returning to normal in the wake of the post-election violence earlier this year.
She was further able to tell us that John was out. And the next day John sent us all an email and filled in the gaps.
In the morning he had gone for what he thought would be a brief home-care visit to a bed-bound client of FF prior to the meeting. But when he got there he had to deal with complications and was delayed. In between I suspect John had his usual busy day with many demands being made on him. Later that evening John received an emergency call from a staff member’s wife, who had gone into labour while her husband was away in Kaduna. She delivered safely and both mother and child are happily back home.
This is typical of Fantsuam and of John. In a community where there is no rural ambulance or national health service, where there is no benefit or welfare state, people rely on each other for help in times of crisis. This was previously demonstrated by the 200 desperate folk who sought refuge with John during the troubles.
Another illustration came during the meeting when we looked at the photos Frances had sent us. She told us that one showed a family who agreed to foster three children who were rescued from abuse in their own family. Originally they fostered the two brothers from the orphanage and now the youngest girl has joined them too.
Pamela also shared with us that she had heard from Fola of Ago-Are - he was in Ibadan for a few days, with access to a laptop. He and two others she knows in Ago-Are are now unofficial local internet providers. He has a modem, they have phones - but he was buying modems for them while in Kafanchan). For the full story please see Pam's Posterous.
Since the meeting John has been in touch with Fola. He has offered him some advice and hopes to help support Fola and the Ago-Are community.