By Dr. Arome Okeme
It was about 10.20pm when they came in. The mother was looking distraught and shaken, while the father, a young man in probably his mid 20s, concealed his emotions, although beneath the veneer of his calmness, I could sense he was frightened. He held the little raggedy looking child in his arms passionately. The two were a beauty to behold. This was their only child and judging from their countenance, they were terrified of the possibility of losing her.
I was wasted, exhausted, drained, famished and fagged out. All I wanted was a shower, something to eat and the warmth of my bed. I had just finished a long stretch of resuscitating the head-injured young man from a road accident.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
This year has been a difficult year for everyone here in the US. The COVID 19 pandemic, the lockdowns and the subsequent economic crisis has wreaked havoc all over the world. As bad as it has been here at home, it has been even more difficult for the our six clinics and the thousands of people they serve in Nigeria.
The Anglican Diocese of Gusau is located in the capital city of Zamfarra State in the north of Nigeria. In this part of Nigeria, Christians are a small minority (about 10%) among a Muslim majority (about 90%). Since the time of Nigerian independence from Britain (1960), there has been much animosity and violence toward the Christian populations in the northern states, particularly in Gusau.
Why refugee camps ? In local parlance, these are called IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. They are not officially sponsored by any government. They are makeshift villages of squatters who have been driven from their homes by ethnic violence. In northern Nigeria, there is competition for land and resources in an ever-expanding population of rural poor farmers and nomadic cattle herders. The farmers are members of indigenous tribes and are mostly Christians. The nomadic cattle herders are members of the Fulani tribe and are mostly Muslims. Violence breaks out when Fulani cows eat crops of indigenous farmers - and when indigenous farmers kill Fulani cows in retribution for ruined crops. The cycle of violence inevitably expands to humans and entire villages.
In March of 2020, when it became apparent that the COVID 19 pandemic was going to affect Nigeria, and that we would not be able to conduct our normal free medical missions in Nigeria this year.
In January of 2020, we received a generous donation to build a house for our head doctor at Graceland Hospital in Gusau. Graceland has been in operation since 2018, but we have not had a house for the doctor.
In June, we received a grant from SAMS (The Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders) to help support our efforts to help the victims of the pandemic.
Medical Outreach From St. Thomas Clinic, Eleme District in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. In 2019, Kateri Medical Services began our partnership with St. Thomas Clinic in the Eleme district of Port Harcourt. Dr. Olaniyi Olaobaju and his wife Kehinde had already purchased the land and renovated the building.
In April 2020, we began a relationship with our newest partner clinic, The B.B. Ayam Memorial Clinic and Maternity. We have begun a partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Bari under the leadership of Bishop Idris Zubairu.