Thursday, October 02, 2008

The 140th good thing about Lagos: Rescuers at the ready

Before I get to blogging about my trip to Northern Nigeria, I had some thoughts this morning I want to write about. After we returned from our trip yesterday, I, of course, got out my computer to get caught up on my email. We were worried when we became aware that our children had been trying to reach us with news that our youngest son had a medical crisis and had gone to the emergency room in the middle of the night on Sunday. His roommates were there and willing and able to help carry him to the hospital when he was suddenly unable to walk on his own. He had gotten help in the form of strong drugs and was waiting for my father on Wednesday morning to drive him to his appointment to get an MRI .
Also in my email were help requests from my Houston area church community about work parties going out last weekend and next weekend to muck out homes flooded from Hurricane Ike. I had blogged recently about these same people rescuing our yard and pool from a fallen tree after the hurricane, and now teams were going out farther afield to Galvaston and Port Arthur and surroundings each weekend to find people who needed their help. Our church website has a news story about Mormon helping hands going out all over to help after Hurricane Ike.
Also in my inbox was a link to an article about Mormon groups going out to do service all over Africa last month in a continent-wide effort to clean up their communities. We were sorry to have missed this opportunity, as we had committed to something else before we were aware of our local service effort.

I also was led to a link to a blog post telling about the LDS church's relief efforts for church members in Europe after World War II. It had some really heart-warming accounts of people who had received assistance when they really needed some help.
Anyway, I awoke early this morning and put some clothes in the dryer that had finished in the washer and added a new load to the washer. Because I was awake, I decided to bring my laptop into the bedroom and watch our church's women's organization (Relief Society) annual broadcast that had occurred while we were away over the weekend. I was listening while laying in bed and getting really warm feelings about how wonderful it was to be a part of this church organization which has so many good and caring people all over the world.

About an hour later, Brent got a call from our upstairs neighbor saying that he noticed that we had water pouring off of our balcony. Brent went to investigate and found a couple of inches of water spreading out through our kitchen, dining and living areas. A water connection behind the washer had burst and water was spraying out at a rapid pace. (The ironic thing is that when we had returned the day before, the first thing I thought of when we opened our front door was how grateful I was that I was looking at a dry apartment -- I'm always afraid there will be a pipe burst while we were away and we'll return to find our furniture floating.) After Brent turned off the water, minutes later there were apartment maintenance people showing up at the door. Within 10 minutes I had about 10 men in my apartment scooping up water with dustpans (they call them "packers" here -- I learned during our first big flood in our apartment when the workers arrived and immediately asked where I had "packers." I had no idea what they meant!) and within 1 1/2 hours I had dripping rugs hanging on the balcony railings and floors that were just damp. I'm still waiting to get the water line to my washing machine fixed -- I hope someone will come soon because I now have mounds of towels to wash, as well as the waiting dirty laundry.

Sometimes our rescuers are fellow Christians who feel part of their calling as followers of Christ to give assistance to those who need it and are willing to travel distances for disaster cleanup even though they are really worn out from cleaning up their messes close to home. Sometimes we are rescued by roommates or relatives who live close by. Sometimes the Relief Society sisters come with a meal or assistance when we need it most. Sometimes aid comes in the form of packages from strangers far away. And sometimes we are rescued by 10 Nigerian maintenance men who get right to work cleaning up the mess at hand. I am grateful for rescue and rescuers in whatever form they happen to come!

No comments: