Sunday, October 27, 2013

Home for Motherless Babies

This weekend has been jam packed, but wonderful. We filled a lot of activities in on Saturday. 

To start off... Saturday was Heather's birthday! Heather and her husband, Keith are also teachers at ACA and live right in a house behind ours. Heather's Canadian and Keith is Nigerian and they are awesome!

In celebration of her birthday, Keith cooked a fabulous breakfast for all of us.
After breakfast, we got ready and then went to a local orphanage. Like myself, Heather just recently lost her niece and for her birthday, Heather wanted to celebrate her neice's life by going to an orphanage to cuddle some babies. 

We found a place that was close to us, the "Ibadan Home of Motherless Children." I had seen the term used on different buildings, but I didn't know what it meant by "motherless babies." Aren't they fatherless too? Does this society not put an emphasis on the fathers as well? I asked myself. 

When I got there, I found out that all of these children had lost their mothers, mostly in childbirth, and because the fathers have to work, they are not able to take care of the children. This particular place keeps the babies until they're 3, at which point hopefully the father will come to get the child. As the case usually goes, the father does not claim the child and they are sent on to an orphanage/school for older children. 

This is the outside of the facilities. 

The first thing we did when we got there was scoop up the nearest babies. These precious little things were starved for attention. Unfortunately just as quickly, we got yelled at and asked I set the babies down. 

We were also told that we couldn't take pictures, but I was able to sneak the following. 

I settled down with the little infants that were under 9 months. The babies had nothing but the hard cement floor to sit on and their hands were bound in socks that had been tied at the wrists, so that they couldn't suck their thumbs. Some of the kids were sitting in a puddle of their own pee because it wasn't time to be changed. From what I could gather, everything was done on schedule and if te poor baby peed before schedule, well then they'd have to sit with the consequences. 

Even though I'm no psychologist, for the basic fundamental child development classes that I have had, we know that the ability to suck and also be heald are such fundamental stages in their developing into healthy adulthood. 

One of my favorites was this precious baby. She had the most adorable gummy smile!

Ahh, just look at those precious eyes! 

And beautiful feet and hands. 

I tried to get away with the "no holding" rule by sitting on the ground with them, but I was eventually discovered. 

Ahh, bless my soul, I love babies so much!
This little one was one of the smallest infants I've ever seen, and they told us she was a month old.

Absolutely precious!

Around noon, the matron came in, and we realized why the women had been trying to enforce the rules. She started yelling at each one of us for holding the babies. "I do not believe in sentiment!" She shouted. "Sentiment is no good. See these children, they are without parents, so they must learn to be independent. If you give sentiment it spoils the babies. When you leave the babies will just be unhappy." 

Then as if she was very proud of the fact, she pointed to all of the infants we were able to st up on their own. They each had a metal bowl of food in front of them. "See this, every one of them is under 9 months and they can already eat on there own. I am teaching them to be independent because they don't have parents to take care of them."

The poor babies were slumped over their food and would have starved if they had not learned to grab a handful and put it in their mouths. 

It wasn't much better for the newborns. They had to drink a porridge mix out of a cup. Some were held and others had to sit on the floor to be fed this way. 

After the children ate, we were allowed to carry the infants into another room where they were being put down for their naps. 

I was able to sneak a few more pictures without them looking. 

They're all just starved for some attention!

I left with a breaking heart. Part of me wants to never see that again. If this is supposed to be a good orphanage, what do the other ones look like?

The bigger part of me wants to go back right now and snuggle with the babies. 

I have been given a glimps of how things are.  I'm at the crossroads. Do I take action or sit where it is more comfortable, asking, what can I do? They have their rules. Could I even make a change?

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdomprepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

After our time with the babies, I had a practice for a fashion show that I'm in next month for the Indian Festival of Lights. 

After enjoying my time with the Indian women, we changed quickly and went to my roommate's church for her choir concert. 

Both Sam and I dressed up for the occasion in traditional Nigerian dresses made from Nigerian lace and onkara. 

Everyone in the concert had to wear clothes made out of a tiger striped onkara fabric. 

The last part of my day was a reminder of the small world we live in. We went to a restaurant after the concert and when I looked up I couldn't believe my eyes... The Clemson game was playing on the TV!! What a fun reminder of home!



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Introducing...My Class!

Such a large part of what I do here in Nigeria revolves around my class, so let's get acquainted!

Don't be mislead, most days the kids wear what every other kid in the US wears, jeans and t-shirts, but this was a special occasion, so they wore their ethnic clothes.

Even I now have an onkara dress to wear!

So let me introduce the kids, starting with the girls...
Yuvasri: (pronounced something like you-wash-ree) from Indian and is such an incredibly sweet girl with a servants heart. She is always doing the small acts of service...the kind of things that no one pays attention to, like cleaning the board at the end of the day, or making sure the lights are out.
Tolu: short for Toluwanimi. Was born in London, but has grown up in Ibadan. Tolu is blessed with an amazing voice!
Subomi: (pronounced shu-bo-mee) she is fun-loving and always has great ideas.
Issraa: sweetest, quietest girl in my class. She came straight from Lebenon at the beginning of the year, and even though she struggles with the language, she's one of the hardest workers I have. Also, she loves to write poetry.
Tomi B: My sweet Tomi. She always starts the day with a hug and ends the day with a hug. Although she is Nigerian by blood, Tomi grew up in Italy and still struggles some with the language. Today, she was just voted as our class president!
Eli: (pronounced like Elly, short for Elizabeth) is half Nigerian and Half Japanese. She came last year to Nigeria to get to know her Nigerian roots and her dad's side of the family better. She is still learning English, but I know she'll learn it through the interaction with all of her friends.
Karen: sweet Karen. She's gentle and soft-spoken.
Favour: Favour is another sweet loving student. I know I've said that of all of them, but it's true, I have some pretty great kids!
Himanshu: is fun loving. He came from India several years ago and although he speaks well, he's still getting a handle onthe  English language.
Eni: (short for Enioluwafe) is the brain. He loves learning and is a joy to teach. He's new this year to the school and has been such a great fit.
Benji:(short for Benjamin) is South African who has been living in Nigeria for most of his life, however, he will be heading back to live in SA after Christmas. We'll be sad to see him go!
Tade:(short for Omitade) is best friends with Yoel. He might like to show his "tough guy" attitude, but he's also soft at heart.
Javeeth: is from India and has one of the most beautiful smiles that lights up a room(not sure why he's not smiling more in te picture). He is always kind and looks out for others
Yoel: is half Israeli and half Nigerian. Also another fun living student. As I said, he's best friends with Tade. Somehow the two of them are like magnets, no matter where I've placed their seats in the classroom, they always seem to gravitate towards each other.
Tomi A: Tomi is from Nigeria and an excellent student. I can always rely on Tomi to give an answer in class 

And that's my class!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

God of this City

This morning I went running. My least favorite part of my run is towards the end when I'm slowing down and I'm hot and sweaty. At this point I have to leave the nice quiet side road and go back to the crowded dust covered gravely road with the petrol fumes getting in my lungs as I try to breathe.

Anyway, the point is, it's usually not my favorite part of the run. This morning was a little different. Just as I was passing by all of the lizards sunning on the pavement, scampering into the overgrown grasses and ready to hit the major road again, a song by Chris Tomlin came on my iPod, "God of This City." I know I quoted him last week, but he really does have some great songs!

The song came on with perfect timing. I had a hazy(ahem...polluted) view of Ibadan this city I live in, and I was reminded again of God's faithfulness. He is the God of this city! Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city.

God of this City

You're the God of this City
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are

You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city

-Chris Tomlin

Friday, October 18, 2013

Eid al Adha

In the mornings I have about 10 minutes with my 6 grade class to make any announcements, lead a short devotion with them and pray before the day gets started. Because I have such an eclectic group of students with Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu backgrounds, I thought I would teach the gospel story by going through the Bible. We started in the beginning and have just made it to Abraham. We've been looking at God's promise to Abraham of both a son in his old age and  also that he would be the father of many nations. 

Today we got to the passage in Genesis 22 where God tests Abraham's faithfulness in being willing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. I tried to point out the parallels to the kids of the Son  who was sacrificed for us. God provided a ram that was the replacent sacrifice, but because if Abraham's faithfulness, he is blessed richly. God want our complete trust in Him, but it took the death of his only Son for that to work. 

I thought it was really interesting to note that several times in the passage, God tells Abraham to take his only son (Gen.22:2) this is reiterated again in verse 16 "your son, your only son.." Again there is the parallel to God and the sacrifice if His one and only son Jesus Christ, but what confused me was the fact that Abraham already had another son, Ishmael.

God's promise to Abreham of making him a mighty nation was not through Ishmael, but through the son of his promise, Isaac.  If you go back to Genesis 21:12, God says to Abraham, "through Isaac shall your offspring be named. "

This Bible lesson could not have been planned for better timing because this past week Muslims around the world  celebrated the holiday, Eid al Adha (aka Id el Kabir).  Islam claims Abraham as their forefather, but unlike the Christians and Jews, it is not through Isaac, but through Ishmael. This particular holiday celebrates God providing a ram right as Abraham is about to kill Ishmael. Talk about crazy and backwards. (Evidently the angel Gabriel told Muhammad to change some things in the ancient scripts)

Muslims throughout the world still make a yearly sacrifice in remembrance. On the one hand, I feel as if I've been privileged to have just a glimpse of what it would have been like in Jerusalem during Jesus's time as people came to bring their sacrifices of atonement. On the other hand, my heart has been so burdened by the thought that these people still live in bondage. It is a works based religion where they must make this yearly sacrifice, when the one, true sacrifice has already come once and for all! 

For the past several weeks the city has been overrun with male sheep and goats. All the throughout the city you would see herds of these animals on the side of the roads, while small tents have been pitched for the shepherds or people overseeing the animals. 

Being a country with a high Muslim population, on Tuesday and Wednesday, we had a national holiday which meant no work or school for most people. 

So we took advantage of the break and headed to the beach. On our way to Lagos on Tuesday, we got to drive past villages where half of the people were dressed up in there finest onkara and were headed to the local mosque. Later, as we were driving home, I could see barbecues set up with the goat meat roasting over the coals. 

Goat kebab anyone?