Sunday, May 18, 2008

The 121st good thing about Lagos: Though others struggle with life and death, we're still here

We had a great trip to Portugal and London with Jordan, even with some schedule alterations at the beginning of the trip due to a storm in Chicago forcing Jordan to spend some unscheduled hours in the plane on an airport runway in Salt Lake City while they waited for weather to clear so the plane could leave, which meant that he missed his connection and spent the night in an airport chair in Chicago. We delayed our flight from London to Lisbon for a day, but were able to connect with Jordan and change our reservations, so all worked out fine in the end. I'm still organizing my pictures, so I'll give you a link to an album later in case any of my readers are interested in seeing more of our trip. Suffice it to say that Portugal is beautiful and it was great to have our Portuguese speaking guide with us and see some of places where he served his mission. We were also grateful to make it through a week with the rental car without a mishap or accident -- those roads can be a little skinny and scary at places!

We've been back in Lagos for a week and it's been fun for me to see it again through Jordan's eyes. After a crazy time getting through his finals and getting moved and out of town and then a busy sightseeing trip, he seems to be enjoying the slower pace of life here and seeing a place very different from the United States and Europe. He's been to work with Brent, he made an appointment and enjoyed meeting with a very influential American here in Lagos and ask him questions about doing business in Nigeria, he came with me to my canasta group and learned the ins and outs of Lagos Hand and Foot canasta, and we've been to the handicraft market to do some preliminary viewing of the many masks available. I'm glad he is able to come and see what our life is like here.

Brent and I made a joint visit to the SOS clinic on Friday -- I have a fierce cough that won't leave, and Brent had a very painful eye. What the doctor gave me hasn't yet relieved my cough, but Brent got some relief after a referral visit to a Nigerian opthamologist. We were a little bit nervous to visit a Nigerian doctor, but he had received his training in London and he seemed to know what he was doing. We thought he did what any eye doctor in the States would have done for the problem, so we were reassured that we can get good care for specific medical issues here.

While we were in the clinic waiting room, I read the local newspaper which was filled with articles and photos regarding the pipeline fire in a Lagos suburb which had killed over 100 people the day before. The journalism here is quite sensational -- they talked of "ground zero" and compared the scene to the world's recent disasters with the typhoon in Myanmar and the earthquake in China. They had very graphic and grisly pictures of burn victims. This pipeline fire was caused by some construction equipment ripping open a pipeline. The operators had not bothered to get clearance to work in the area. The explosion led to a large fire and many people were killed in the fire and explosion and many more, especially children from a local school, were killed and trampled in the ensuing panic trying to get away from the fire. It was another sad reminder of the negligence and ineffectiveness that leads to loss of life here.

Shortly before Jordan and I returned (Brent came back to work while Jordan and I were able to spend some extra time in Lisbon and London), Brent called to say that our new driver (recently assigned to us) had lost his 20 year old daughter. She had died from complications from asthma. Our driver, Sunday, continues to be bereft from the loss. I know people die from asthma in the States, but I would bet that poor medical care had something to do with her death. A friend asked for prayers this week for her driver's wife, who had been pregnant with what they thought were twins. Her water broke last Saturday and when she hadn't delivered the babies by Monday, he asked her for money so she could have a Ceaserean section. My friend, a nurse, was sure that the delay in treatment was at least partially responsible for the deaths of two of the three babies it turned out she was carrying. One of the new scholarship students we had interviewed last month was killed on the road the following day as she was returning back to her campus. Of course, deaths like these happen everywhere and are a part of life, but it seems like life is cheaper here and death comes easier to Nigerians than Americans. But I got a phone call from our "stewardess" this afternoon. She had gone on maternity leave, expecting her first baby, just before we returned from our trip. She said that she had delivered a healthy baby boy on Thursday. He weighed 3 1/2 kilo and everything was going well.

I'm grateful that my daughter-in-law, who has had a challenging pregnancy, will this week deliver her baby in the United States, where I'm confident she will get good health care. Our prayers will be with her on Tuesday with our faith and expectation that she and our new granddaughter, Maggie, though less than full term, will come through the experience healthy and well. Though everywhere in the world there are disasters and illness and accidents and health complications leading to death, we in the Western world have the expectation and confidence that we will get the best results possible in any situation. We're looking forward to getting to know Maggie and wish her the best as she enters the world!

1 comment:

Beauty said...

Of course, deaths like these happen everywhere and are a part of life, but it seems like life is cheaper here and death comes easier to Nigerians than Americans. is the type of education that is not taught at grad school. The social side of the system is important and your work is inspirational.