Getting supplies

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First Lagos trip for supplies by Andy Buhler, CUSO, 69-71

Wednesday p.m. I was preparing to leave for Lagos on Thursday. Thursday we got to Ijebu-Igbo to see the hospital there. I stayed the night and had supper with a second-year CUSO.

Friday a.m. I set off to Lagos, worked all day Friday and Saturday going to suppliers for catalogues and estimates plus Catholic Secretariat and USAID for money.

Sunday I went to Ikenne to take a newly arrived Barbados/Canadian girl to see her posting. She arrived from Canada two weeks late and did not know where she was really posted. Some CUSO here took her in and we took her to Ikenne to meet the principal of the school she’s to teach in.

Sunday night I had supper at the Federal Palace Hotel and saw how the rich live in the very Westernized, very superficial, atmosphere of an international hotel.

This morning back on the roads -- congested tracks really -- of Lagos. I spent four hours at May & Bakers trying to get chemicals -- got a truckload (probably about $600-$800 worth, I think, as I didn’t get a bill). Back I went to USAID to haggle for funds again -- spent 3½ hours there, then on to drug houses before they closed.

I just had supper and now I’m off to a Yoruba play if it’s still on. Tomorrow I go up to USAID again plus several supply companies. Wednesday will be more Lagos business. Hopefully I will be finished by Wednesday p.m. and then off to Ijebu-Igbo again. Thursday it’s back to Ogwashi-Uku to start the lab, see if Ian has brought over my things from Ibadan, give Fr. Golli his shirts back, see if my house is ready, and do some letter writing.

My house won’t have running water for a while unless it rains. We collect rainwater in cisterns and bring it in with buckets. Power is from a generator that runs from 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. so daytime work will have to be done with just sunlight I guess. The hospital setting is quite pretty and I’ll take some pictures when I get back there.

There is apparently an enormous amount of destruction in the Eastern State. People here talk about it more than they did in the North. From what I hear many hospitals are completely destroyed. Many schools are also destroyed so the Ibo are holding classes in groups under trees. Many teachers aren’t paid and most relief volunteers are not paid yet either. The Federal Military Government doesn’t appear to be doing as much as possible to rectify the situation. Beer firms here often commandeer transport trucks to take beer to the East where they can sell it at grossly inflated prices. The firms pay the drivers well so the drivers don’t really want to take relief supplies when the commercial trade is so lucrative.

I met a very dynamic man at Mayflower School in Ikenne on Sunday. Tai Solarin is really trying, on a personal basis, to get relief moving (funds are coming from Holland). When I get into the East soon I’ll be able to give a more accurate first hand report.

Sorry this rambles a bit but I’m in a hurry as you may have guessed. The play starts in ten minutes and a storm is threatening and I’ve no shirt on yet and am still eating supper.

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