My weekly involvement with the news from Fantsuam Foundation as documented by these blogs should have prepared me for the unexpected but again it was shocking to hear of yet another accusation of witchcraft.
John Dada explained that it was the new team members Emmanuel and Ayuba who since the last meeting had been at the centre of a rescue of an elderly mama who was accused of witchcraft.
The FF team held a meeting with the entire family on Tuesday(17th), and their nurse had been to provide drugs and further treatment for the mama.
As Emmanuel stated : “These are some of the challenges we face in the rural areas where people tend to take the law into their hands”
John Dada again reiterated that he believes that “the poor access to healthcare, the burden of taking care of the vulnerable elderly and children, is the root cause of these accusations”.
We learned that the mama was seriously beaten and driven from her house but thankfully she was rescued and was given medical help
John added: “The elderly mama had been physically abused and threatened to make her confess to having killed/ bewitched some members of her family. It’s sad but the FF team's intervention we hope has put paid for any further risks to the mama. The team will be making regular visits to monitor the situation. If it gets worse we have to relocate the mama.”
John informed us that: “In the past, we had to take legal action in another community to protect one of the victims... I have been accused of being a witch myself but such accusations are short-lived in the face of the other services FF is providing”
Other matters arising from this week’s UK-Nigeria meeting:
- It was good to learn from John that he had been able to strengthen his team at Fantsuam Foundation. Emmanuel Katung and Ayuba joined the skyped meeting and John also informed us that their new accountant Adeoti would be resuming work on Monday. In all four new staff have replaced previous staff who have either relocated to safer areas or who have secured better payment now that they have received the wonderful hands-on training that Fantsuam offers. This is an persistent problem for John as it is not uncommon for staff at FF to be approached and offered five times the salaries that FF can afford. This is a testament to John and his staff development programme but is frustrating for Fantsuam.
- John also informed us that the fuel strike is over, and has now been replaced by fuel scarcity as the fuel stations are loathe to return to the newly negotiated price. The previous week Fola from the Dadamac outpost in Ago-are sent us photos of normally busy roads deserted and now being used for people to play football on.
- John had asked at the previous meeting if he could use the £350 donation from Dadamac Foundation towards the Peace Building workshop.However John explained that priorities had changed and that this money would now be better used if it was diverted towards the children's feeding programme. (£350 comes to NGN87,500 and will cover approximately 8wks for the feeding of the Muslim street children)
- Attachab: Quote from John “The new fish pond is completed, the wooden staircase for the classroom is done, and the irrigation beds have been completed. Some seedlings have been transplanted. We are happy with work at Attachab”
- Fantsuam Foundation has started grains purchase for the Children's rumbu (also seen spelt as rhumbu).This allows food to be stored to reduce the risk of startvation should the harvests fail for example.
Photo above from Marcus Simmons shows Fanstuam Orphan and vulnerable children receiving a rare treat of a yoghurt drink.