Saturday March 2, 2013 – Benin

In Benin City-Sat March 2

The heat, oh my the heat is really getting to us. It has been over 100 degrees pretty much daily since we have been here but we are all staying hydrated and drying lots and lots of water.  Now if we could only find “clean” and working facilities in our accommodations.  Oh well … TIN (means THIS IS NIGERIA)

We began our day at the Ologbo village where we were planning to do immunization drops.  As we sat under a tent in the blazing heat, the protocol and acknowledgements of all the officials and dignitaries present seemed to take forever.  Having no doubt waited already for a long time, we saw mothers and babies sitting in a tent facing us.  At immunization time, we prepared to give the two drops of vaccine.  It seemed pretty easy to go up and down the rows, dispensing drops, marking fingers and handing out crayons.  I am not sure at what point chaos commenced but everyone wanted more and more crayons.  Many had already received theirs.  The plan had been to give mothers a box of crayons and mosquito netting to fight malaria.  We had thought that these mothers came because they understood the importance of the vaccine but we had been told later that they were really there for the incentive gift of crayons and mosquito netting.  We did however all have the chance to immunize children perhaps 125 infants and children.

Rotarians have a lot of influence and clout in this part of the world.  As a result we received a special invitation to have lunch at the home of Eson N’erie of Ologbo whose husband is a brother (same father) of the Oba that we met yesterday.  This gentleman sits on the council of the Oba and is the second oldest after the Oba.  The lady was trained as a nurse in the Philippines and met her spouse out of country.  We enjoyed her hospitality as we had a light lunch and drinks.

Next we got on the bus to try to visit to the Revelation Visitor Center which we had to cancel yesterday.  When we arrived, the head of the center was busy and we did not care to wait 45 minutes to 1 hour to have our meeting with him. Besides the timing, it was too very hot to wait, so we returned to the hotel for a brief rest.

After dressing for dinner we made a brief stop at the Bronze and Wood Center looking for souvenirs, but that too was abbreviated due to the intense heat. Some of our team members did buy some souvenirs.  Then it was on to dinner at the home of Retired Colonel Paul Osa Ogbebor.  As we waited outdoors, entertainment began with African dancers. But to our surprise we had a new “dancing queen” who joined it, moving in rhythm and shaking the beaded gourd.  Lina, wife of PDG Carl, was amazing as she quickly picked up the moves, “shaking her bootie.”   We enjoyed light drinks outdoors and then enjoyed a buffet of rice, chicken, fufu, bush meat, escargot, egusi soup. Well pretty much the usual.  But once again, we were made to feel welcomed and appreciated for coming to Nigeria to Knock Polio out of the country.

It was a shortened evening but tomorrow will be a very special day. We leave early in the day to do the work we came to do – Immunize!!!

2 Responses to Saturday March 2, 2013 – Benin

  1. Mary Helgren says:

    Tomorrow Mar 3 is Carol Wells’ birthday. I would sing to her but am too far away. Perhaps you can do it in my stead?

  2. Linda Borton says:

    Rick/Helen:
    I’ve just finished reading through the blog. It makes me feel like I am there with you- which I wish I was in spite of the heat and other challenges that it sounds like you have all faced. Thank you so much for what you are doing to end polio, and thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us. I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures when you return.

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