It’s 4am in the morning…just waking up from a brief sleep. The events of yesterday have so worn me out physically and emotionally, that I couldn’t even scribble a thing before hitting my bed. I have now woken up to pen down a few things… lest I my words lose the graphics of today’s events with time or lest my feelings heal and I forget some details.
Yesterday we went out for the first ever outing of New Nigeria Club. We visited Remand Home Boys and Modupe Cole Home. I’ll tell you clearly from here, that if this was what NNC was formed to do, it is well worth it, as you can’t trade the excitement or happiness of the “children” we saw today for any financial value. While the day left me feeling compassionate, it also steers up anger in me, as I wonder what Nigerians are doing or if Nigerians are even aware of happenings beyond their beautiful homes.
Even if you don’t join NNC, take out time and visit some of these homes, and add value in whichever way you can. This life is bigger than you, your problems are insignificant in the grand scale of things. Are you worried about progress, go and see the man whose been in a home for 35yrs… on one bed as well. NNC added value over the weekend, and I’m proud to tell you that it was fulfilling.
Remand Home Boys
This was the first place we visited. The remand home houses a variety of children, who the insitution believes can coexist without labelling any. There are children that make it into the home for care and protection, some for loitering and being caught by tax force, some handed over by their parents and guardians who cannot control them anymore, and some handed over by the court as criminals that are not old enough to get accomodation in Jail. All these are lumped together in this facility and are referred to as wards.
New Nigeria went to Remand Home to extend the belief that Nigeria is being renewed, and it’s not the role of government, but the role of Nigerians. We also went to help them with some things that will make life more comfortable for them and make them start living in the reality of a New Nigeria. We donated two computer sets and worktables, A big bag of Soaps and toiletries, 10 matresses and 100 copies of a book (second Revolution) donated my members of NNC. We bought and installed a water pumping machine, we gave some refreshment to the boys and gave their senior social worker N88,000 to use to transfer 7 of the wards who had outstayed their term in the Remand Home, but there had not been funds to transport them.
We also spent some little time interacting with the kids, we spent some time talking to them, and gave them an opportunity to express their talents. It was really refreshing to see them compose songs and speak positively about their own beliefs in the emergence of a New Nigeria. They sang, they rapped, they spoke… all about their beliefs about the New Nigeria and about their belief in their futures. They encouraged us not to travel out, that we can make it here in Nigeria, they affirmed that they will indeed be tomorrows leaders, and will contribute to the economy. These children believe in a New Nigeria… do you?
We had rented to big buses to convey us to the two places, so as soon as we cut the New Naija Cake, we headed for the buses enroute Modupe Cole at St Finbarrs, Yaba.
As soon as we entered the gate, the mood around the NNC members changed, we were welcomed by extremely excited people, some of who smiled so wide, that saliva dropped freely. It was as if a party was going on, and we saw these children in older people’s bodies run to welcome us into their conference room. Some of them were on wheel chairs and some of them on their feet, but most of them were mentally way below their age in years. Sitting down and looking at these ones was a message on it’s own, and we thought we were seeing a lot, until…
We started with an introduction of the home, the principal was gracious to share a bit of the history of the place with us. The home started in 1960 by a Mrs Cole and some concerned women, and was taken over by the Lagos State government in 1976. After the introduction we were given a tour of the home. We were introduced to their two artists, both mentally children, but adults in age. The lady draws with her feet, while the guy draws with his mouth. We were introduced first to the people who could still manage a bit of their lives, some could walk, and some could still wheel their chairs, while some could crawl. After this we were then taken to the bed ridden cases. The ones who are in bed 24/7 and needed attention every minute, to clean up their faeces and urine right there on the bed. In this room, the hearts of many of our entourage could not take things anymore, and they turned back.
Words are weak and pictures are inadequate. It was a room of stories, lots of stories. I could write 4 seperate articles from this room alone, and still have some coming to mind. In this room we were introduced to the “children”. The eldest of this children was 56 years old and the next, 43yrs old. By every standard of the word, these people were children. It seemed like all forms of development stopped many many years ago. We saw them all, 39yrs old men, 35yrs old women, all lying in bed, with small heads, extremely thin body frames, weak limbs, damaged brains but lovely smiles on their faces. I found it really shocking when the Nurse that took us around alluded to being the one that admitted the 43yr old man into the ward 35yrs ago! The staff of the home close by 2pm and volunteers take over, they have about 40 people who have dedicated their lives and time to take care of these people.
While some complain of thier lives not progressing with sufficient speed, some of these people have been on the same spot for the last 30+ years. They don’t need to watch horror movies, life seems like it’s playing that out already. Most of these were abandoned by their loved ones, some lived normal lives until the hands of “aye” caught up with them, but in the midst of it all it’s smiles, claps and thanksgiving all the way.
After the tour we made it back to the conference room as changed people. We had seen another side of life. We offered our gifts to them – A deep freezer, water dispenser, toiletries – soaps, tissue paper, disinfectants, e.t.c., did ground breaking with plans to build them a complete show room and a playing ground all in this week. One of our members was moved and led prayers for the staff of Modupe Cole, some of our members also committed to coming back there shortly to offer gifts to the teachers and volunteers. We thanked them for the work they were doing, and cut the New Nigeria Cake together. We also decided to give them some copies of the book – Second Revolution.
It felt fulfilling and it was a good place to start the activities of the New Nigeria Club. We are blessed to bless, and these people have a place in the New Nigeria as well. They are where they are without their choice, we can never over give them. We were about 45 that made the day out, and we did it all on behalf of all the members of New Nigeria Club. We all left these two homes with sober reflections, and deep thoughts that will live us better citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We have not journeyed far is the reason we have not seen squirells with hunch backs, if we walk far, we will see the land where masqurades sell corn flour.