Monday, March 12, 2012

The 304th good thing about Lagos: a school and clinic that are going to get some help

I posted recently about a visit I made to Ife Oluwa just before I left Lagos for the Christmas holidays.  The women that came with me for that visit have joined with other expat women and I now have a big group of women that are really interested in getting involved with this school and clinic.  They've delivered school supplies and ordered more.  They have purchased items such as cleaning supplies, medical supplies and solar powered lanterns.  They did some fundraising with a jewelry sale and some of the proceeds will go to supplies for the school. They are going to get some fabric to make curtains to brighten up the school.  Some teachers are planning to go over regularly to do some supplemental activities -- reading, art, etc. with the students.  A nurse went and sat in on the weekly prenatal checkups and got ideas for how we could help them with their clinic services.

I didn't get pictures of the clinic, but it is in need of a makeover.  We are trying to find a new delivery bed for them -- there's is rusty and held together with string.  When my nurse friend spent the day with the expectant moms, she got a list of the prices the clinic patients pay.  For the equivalent of about 30 cents, they can have their urine tested and get prenatal vitamins for a week.  If they want an ultrasound scan, it is under $10.  They saw around 50 patients that morning and the head nurse was very excited to get 9000 naira in proceeds -- about $57.  Apparently having a white visitor prompted many to pay up that normally would have pleaded that they didn't have the money.  So it is clear that they operate on a shoestring.  The staff frequently are behind a month or more in getting paid because they see a lot of patients who are unable to pay their bills.  They work pretty much on a cash in/cash out basis.  The staff is paid each day by the money that they receive and they have a hand-written log book where the doctor keeps track of how much each of the staff has been paid toward their monthly salary.  We will try to help them get up to date with their salaries and also work on getting them some donations of things like rubber gloves and basic supplies.

I did get some pictures of the school:


 All the women, many of whom are educators, have been really impressed with the learning going on in these classrooms.  Though they don't have much in the way of supplies or books, the teachers seem competent and not stressed and the children are learning.  One woman tested a classroom of 4-year olds and they were working on counting by twos.  They were able to count to 80 by twos!  Pretty amazing!  And they were reading as well.  This expat got information on the tuition fees and staff requirements and found that they are running the school with $79 per student per year -- and that is if all the tuition was paid up, which it never is!  And the children are learning!
 You can see that they need some kind of curtains.  The sun gets bright.  But they need the light to see, because most of the day they don't have any electricity.
 They could also use some general facility repair.
 The headmistress is a beautiful and friendly woman with a big smile.
 The kids are always friendly.

 I would love to find a company wanting to do community service, or Scout looking for an Eagle project or someone with some time and some money to take on fixing up this playground.  There are 114 children at this school and this is their playground.  Two swingset frames with no swings.  A basketball backboard with no hoop.  A slide tower with no slide.  There's no functional play equipment at all.  Wouldn't it be great to come up with a real playground for these kids?
 We always go upstairs to visit Mama when we go to Ife Oluwa.  She has turned over the running of the school and clinic to others now.  She is 84, I think.  Her mind is still very sharp but her body is slowing down.  Her feet hurt so she has a hard time getting around.  She is still grateful for the wheelchair we were able to get donated for her.  She had these kids come up from the school to meet us.  She is taking care of them.  Their father recently died and their mother is absent for some reason.  So she is taking care of them and giving them a home and they go to her school.  She said having them there makes her happy and she loves them.
 I liked these handwriting practice sentences!
It is amazing what this school and clinic are able to do with such limited resources.  I'm glad that we are generating some excitement and interest by the expat women in helping them improve their facilities.

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