Monday, September 21, 2009

The 184th good thing about Lagos: A home in the country for special needs children

Last week I had the opportunity to get outside of the city to visit a home for special needs children. We had a drive of about 1 1/2 hours through some very nice countryside, to Ogun State and the village of Ijebu-Ode. I enjoyed the drive very much, as I traveled with two women, one from Sweden and one from Denmark, who had married Nigerians and have lived in Nigeria for many years. One came in 1963 and one in 1974. They talked about how things had changed so much with the growth of the city. Of course, they preferred it the way it was long ago. One talked about the chaos for about two years when the country changed the sides of the street they were to drive on. They said Lagos used to be so safe and they would drive everywhere and there was no traffic. Wouldn't that be nice!

The home was the former residence of a long-term British expatriate who married a Nigerian and has spent her life in Nigeria. She's still here and is a very delightful person. When the family moved to Lagos, they donated this house to use as a home for special needs children. Currently there are 24 children in the home, 18 of which are special needs. The home has also taken in some older orphans who needed a stable home, and they help with the younger children when they are not attending school.

One of the women I rode with was on the board of the foundation that helps support Eruobodo House. They get no money from the government -- they were saying that recently the local government said they needed to pay them money for the right to operate the charity!

They also have various things that help support the charity: a nice garden which supplies fresh produce to eat,

they raise chickens and eat and sell the eggs,

and they have a fish farm where they raise fish to sell and eat. They also do things like make ice blocks which they sell to the community.

They have a little craft store. This man, who is blind, teaches crafts to the residents and also makes these great woven bags to sell in the shop. I bought some of these -- they are really great sturdy totes.

The best part of the visit was meeting the residents. They were ready with smiles and proud to show us their rooms.

This boy in the wheelchair was practicing his sign language.

This girl has been in the home only a short time. She doesn't speak at all -- they don't know if she is physically unable to speak or what exactly her disabilities are. But she has a great smile!

This boy had surgery to install a shunt to drain the fluid from his brain. He's doing well now.

There were two little ones that were just laying on the couch, they were both new to the home. They were the only really sad cases that I saw in the home. The other little boy was totally unable to move his body, they had to do everything for him. And this little girl, who is two years old, but looks to be less than a year, has no eyes. They said she just wants to lay around all day. They put her in a walker and make her move her limbs, but she hates to be moved at all. She cried when she was picked up and when I tried to exercise her limbs. She ate listlessly when they gave pieces of cracker to her to eat.

This boy, Benga, was full of smiles.

They have some really great facilities, clean and spacious bedrooms, a nice family room and kitchen, and a playground with equipment that is in good shape!

The older kids had a nice game of volleyball while our group had a pleasant lunch under a beautiful cashew tree.

And there was a great message posted on a bedroom door:


Lindsay, Steve, Spencer and Austin said...

I can't believe they have to pay to run a charity there...that's ridiculous. What a great quote at the end though-- I love it. I'm glad you're able to go around and see the good things going on in Nigeria!

lovin the empteenest said...

184 things and counting. You certainly get around the country. I feel such sorrow for the little girl without the eyes.

lovin the empteenest said...

184 good things and still counting. You do get around a lot! The little girl without the eyes filled me with sadness.