There is a rather big event coming up in our little village area. Our friend the General, the Chief of Army Staff for all Nigeria, has his fathers burial in a few weeks. As the family is from Ovim, the village neighboring our Amamba, the whole of Isuikwuato Local Government has been bustling with activity in preparation, as the father will be buried here in his home place. It is an extremely high-profile event, with about 10,000 people in attendance, namely the most important, Mr. President Goodluck Jonathan.
I have been honoured with a personal request to be in attendance at the two day event, which I will have a personal SS detail to escort me.
It will be an opportunity to pay my respects to the General, who has become and advocate and supporter of TWCFN, as well as an opportunity to network with more individuals regarding our work.
We have had various people coming and visiting the home to see who we are and how we are doing. It is exciting as it is an action step that some individuals are taking.
Some of our friends who have come:
Igwe Chris – our Igwe who comes regularly to visit with the staff and children, and support new endeavors and objectives as they come up.
Francis – a medical professional from Abuja, who supports us with both medical and official advice as well as helping me when in Abuja with networking and meetings.
Effanga – a businessman from Abuja, who has taken interest in our work and keeps in contact by phone and visits to the house when in our state.
Dick – a retired general in the Nigerian Army and up and coming politician from Port Harcourt, who has taken personal interest in our work and came to the house to meet the staff and children.
SS men – regular guards and drivers who invest time speaking with the children, playing with them, teaching them bible stories and singing, all while on duty.
We are officially happy to welcome Tony Obediah to Adaeze Home in Amaba, Isuikwuato. He arrive to us on Thursday evening after a very long journey by road down here. Everyone as been eagerly anticipating his arrival, and the children were excited to meet their Daddie whom they have been speaking to on the phone.
Also, officially the staff member that is working with the children Monday-Friday on lessons, is Chinedu. So we are happy to welcome him officially. He is doing a wonderful job!
We also have new staff to tell you about! We are very excited.
Everyone who is hired as staff here in Nigeria to work with us, goes on 6-month probation time (split into two 3 month sections for review).
We are happy to welcome Tony and Evelyn Obediah on as our first House Parents! Evelyn is already here with us in the village for the past week and her husband Tony will soon be joining us. They live here in the house with us and act as the parents for the children. They are both previously teachers and bankers and have a passion to work with children.
We are happy to welcome HeavyD (Ikechukwu Onwuka) who has come on board to help us in the office and with some administrative duties. HeavyD has been a neighbour of ours for years, he is a very bright man who is eager to learn and be of service. He also enjoys playing with the children. HeavyD speaks Igbo so he has been a big help as one of our children is still learning to speak English.
We are currently working with someone else part time during the days who spends with the children during lesson and play time.
We are still PRAYING strongly for some volunteers to come over here to us for 6-12 months, to help support our staff in the home and more.
We have two children living with us in the house currently. Their stories are very sad and while it has been EXHAUSTING every day with them, the difference in them is AMAZING from when they first came.
Chinyere is an 8yr old girl and Chinomso is an almost 9yr old boy. They have both experienced severe physical abuse in their lives, observed terrible ritual practices, and have lacked the basic necessities in life such as enough food and water, family, education, friends, and love. You can see in their eyes that the majority of them is no longer a child. They have come to us very scared, frustrated and angry. Due to their back grounds we have had to cover the basic training such as using a toilet, having a bath, eating, sleeping in a bed. Both of them at some point had been in a school although rarely attended during that period, so we are also starting at square one as they have not known any numbers, their alphabet or even colours. They have pretty much ZERO attention span, they do not know how to get along, and they do not react well to any sort of boundaries. It is all a work in progresses. It is very strange and hard for them. With that said while we have days filled with tears, we also have laughing and smiling now too. Chinyere is coming along well as she has been here for over three weeks, the improvement is HUGE. Chinomso has not been here up to a week so he is having a hard time still. Teaching to change behaviours is much more difficult then teaching to learn behaviours. We love these kids and they know that already. The changes they both have made from when they first arrived is noticeable everyday.
In the meanwhile of all my business in Abuja, life in the village for Catherine and Amos has been equally if not more busy. The meetings, appointments and scenarios they have been dealing with could be comedic if from a film, however not so fun at the times they have been happening.
Catherine and Amos have daily met with Eze’s, Tribal Leaders and Church Leaders who have all brought forth cases of vulnerable children to be considered for our program. It has taken time to go through each one of them, do some investigating, considering, discussing and decision-making. We initially posted (on here maybe and our FB page) that we had 7 children, possible two more all coming in. Well as this is Nigeria, Africa and things operate on a completely different time line…we have waited, discussed and considered each situation as it unfolds.
Catherine and Amos did paperwork and have accepted two children to live permanently in the home. We also have a third child who has been processed and will be coming still, it is just a matter of time for him to be collected by members of the extended family as he is not close to where we are. We have expected him at anytime and we hear it may be soon finally.
There was also paperwork processed and signed for two other children and they came to stay in the house, after two days and one night…issues arrived with the relative and it was brought back up to discussion with the Eze and it was in our best interest to hand the children back over to the relative. We are not here to fight for custody of children, we are here with open arms to take them when there is no one else. There was also a second situation of two children whom we were processing to come in and a similar issue arose. It seems that some people here think they can bring their kids here, tell us they want help and us to take care of the children, but expect us to pay them money for us to keep the children. We have needed to clear that up, hence these four children specifically not staying with us now.
On that note however, a little story about the two children who came to stay for one night…
It was a five year old girl and a three year old boy who were basically feral. That word makes so much sense here, all our kids fall under that word, but the severity varies. These two were extremely feral. They basically threw food everywhere, peed and pooped on the floors, threatened to find the knives in the house and kill everyone while they were sleeping, fell out of bed at night, hit, screamed, bit, attacked with their full body force, tried to “kill” the stuffed toys… and basically exhausted Catherine and Amos completely. So it was a bit of a relief I am sure that God did not intend for those two to stay in this house :)
Things have been very busy! I had last taken John and Leonie up to Abuja for them to return to Canada and I began on meetings and paperwork that ended up having me stay in the capital for three weeks! I made a little progress during that time as far as immigration and security meetings. I was able however to meet and interview several times, a couple to possibly hire as our first “house parents”.
Eventually as time was going I returned to the village to await a call to go back for a meeting regarding visa papers (re: Foundation and myself). I was in the village two days when I received the call, so I ended up being in the village for one week before returning back to Abuja. During the time in the village I had meetings with Catherine (that she already had been working on), we met with several children and those who brought them and worked through some cases to start processing.
I then returned back to Abuja to get on with the meetings and paperwork once again. On my second day there, on my way to a big meeting I fell down three stairs and injured my ankle badly. There luckily was a doctor at the place it happened and he was a great help. Within 50 minutes i had it splinted and wrapped after being iced and was on some pain killers and half hobbled was carried off to my meeting. It was slightly difficult to be sweating so profusely from shock and pain and try to remember was I was needing to request at the meeting, but I succeeded in getting an appointment for the next morning. The next day started with the hospital with xrays and exam, no broken bones but torn muscles and ligaments. I went to some very important meetings over the next two days, tripped twice and succeed in tearing a calf ligament also, however I did get what I wanted from the offices and meetings :). I ended up staying in Abuja for three weeks once again, this time however, I succeed in making many important meetings and accomplishing much, all that on make-shift crutches or having a shoulder to lean on. Thank goodness for wonderful friends. Every night ended with my leg up in the air and ice (yay for the city and mostly constant power) to help the swelling go down.
I have since returned to the village once again, and am awaiting information regarding our Expat quotas.
I put up our last update in the beginning of August when John and Leonie had recently arrived. Things were super busy and great the entire time they were here. We were able to attend many important meetings with politicians and other government personal, top military men, Igwe’s and Eze’s along with tribal councils, religious leaders, and community meetings. All in all great networking for getting our information out and our requests. We have received amazing feedback and support in return.
We are currently looking into a specific situation regarding three children (1yr, 2yr, and 4yr) that are siblings and potentially fit our profile. We are doing some researching and meetings surrounding the situation.
We also have some other situations that have come to our attention regarding some infants being rescued out of baby factories. We are looking into what we are capable of taking on at this point.
Also we were shown several wonderful pieces of land, belonging to various individuals, families, communities, ect. There is one in particular that really is perfect for what our plan is. We are considering, discussing, and praying about it. Soon we will decide whether to enter into negotiations for acquisition.
I have been in Abuja the capital city for going on three weeks now. I came up here to drop John and Leonie for the trip back to Canada and to have some important meetings. I was able to see Steve (dad) off also. I have had one informal interviewed a couple for potential staff hire, there are still many things to be sorted before anyone can be brought on for probationary training and hire (like we have to have children in the house first).
I will be traveling back to the village after the weekend.
PLEASE continue to spread the word about TWCF and help raise more financial support!
This morning was an impromptu meeting with our Igwe Chris and our two Eze’s Ifeayni and Alfred. These are the men who have spoken and acted on our behalf to enable our Foundation to enter back into Nigeria after the previous issues that we have had in past years. We work closely with them, and take their council and advice into consideration as culturally they are highly respected. I was surprised that i was to Chair the meeting and it was more formal then a visit. So it was with laughter that I tried to run an agenda from memory and used an imaginary gavel. They were very excited and happy to meet John and Leonie, further members our Foundations team. It speaks volumes to them on our behalf that there are always different people for them to meet. It helps promote the work of the Foundation and the involvement of many different people. Leonie presented them with the whole-made baked cookies she brought for them. They were beyond excited about them. Igwe Chris (our King and retired Chairman of the entire Tribal Council of Isuikwuato) opened and started eating his right away. Leonie is now the favorite!
Our meeting went well, covering several important points. We are grateful to have their support. We will meet with them next week again, as well as the new Eze of our immediate area.
Well, I am off…today is laundry day and yard maintenance day – the guys are trying to fix the water tanks. Also we are preparing a big meal as there are some poor neighboring children coming to share food with us today. About 7 that we know of, perhaps their will be more..
REQUEST: We would like to start back up a feeding program for Saturdays only. One big noon day meal for any of the children around that need to come and eat. If you feel inclined to support and give to this ministry specifically, please contact us through the website so we can set up a fund for this! Thank you!
On Friday we all traveled into Umuahia to the big market place to shop for some house-hold and food items. It was a great experience for John and Leonie and a good refresher for the rest of us. The traffic was busy and “dangerous” as usual, with KKs (three-wheel buggy things), vehicles and pedestrians running and dodging everywhere. The concept of being kind, sharing the road, not hitting people, allowing someone in front of you, does NOT exist at all. We finally made it to the market it place and came down out of the van to enter it. People right away start yelling and hollering for us to come buy from them. The words “onyocha” follow all of us through the entire market and trip, being yelled and whispered by children and adults alike. It means white man or white person. Many of the adults and children run up and reach out to shake our hands or grab our arms (just so they can touch us). It was fun to see john and Leonie smiling and experiencing this. It is quite interesting to always be talked AT in another language, not be sure if someone is saying something good or bad, and then try to respond, haha. Mostly if you just smile and life, and give chance for people to say hi or shake you, they are very happy.
So we bought food some staple food for the next week or two, and some fresh foods for the next couple days. John and Leonie also experienced some bartering for material, they laugh and enjoy it…while I on the other hand get annoyed and become Nigerian by raising my voice and walking away…until they chase me back. Oh joy… not haha.