Sunday, April 15, 2012

February Fun!

Every Valentine's Day has to have heart shaped cookies with names on them--at least in the Baker household so we continued the tradition here with our friends.  Our weekly Friday cookie day brought great joy--here are the AP's showing off their personalized cookies.  I must say, my hand was a little tired after writing so many names on the cookies.  But it was fun to see the faces of all our friends!

The week after Valentine's Day was the Lagos Stake Conference.  This building is in the complex where we live.  Since it is not big enough to hold everyone this is how they hold stake conference in Africa--bring in the tents!

 What a great experience stake conference was for me.  I joined the stake choir a couple of weeks before conference and what fun I had.  It is amazing to me how they can come together and produce such beautiful sounds.  Most of the rehearsals I attended were at least 2 hours long as people had so far to travel that they would have longer, less often practices.  Many of them were held in a room with no piano so the accompanist would sing his introduction, the director would give everyone their notes and away we would go!  Can you imagine ever trying that at home?  I don't think we could end up with anything worth presenting.  But this choir was amazing--if I do say so myself!

And--in case you didn't notice--we were all dressed the same.  That is a tradition here so, of course, I had to be part of the group.  We were matching--right down to the necklace, earrings and hair bows!

 Do any of you remember the song from Sesame Street--"One of these things is not like the other, one of these things isn't quite the same......."?  Can you find the difference?  Yup, it's me!  The token white person!

A group shot after conference

The young woman who made all the dresses--my friend Margaret.

They know how to do it right here--lunch of chicken and rice :) was supplied to all the choir after the meeting.

More shots of the day:

Our friend, Blessing Igolo, who has made my African dresses--and her 4 beautiful daughters--but--that is not her husband!  People here  just love to jump into the picture when you are taking a "snap"!

Our very favorite office elders--Elder Engmann and Elder Brown--both great musical talents!


President Cletus Martin's wife and family. He is a counselor in the stake presidency and works in the office next door to us.

During this month we also got to travel back to one of our favorite places here in Nigeria--Abuja, the capital city.  Security is a little tight here because of recent problems at government buildings but we get to stay in a great place--the Abuja Hilton!


Here's the chapel in Abuja--very nice building and grounds.


 Elder Baker finds friends wherever he goes--and Abuja was no exception.  Here he is with a few brethren waiting for our training meeting to begin.

And this is what we do--train many leaders about the PEF program and try to get them excited about the possibilities that exist for members of their wards/branches/stakes.  We usually have from 25-50 in attendance--many that travel from far areas to attend our training in a place that is safe for us to travel to.  Some of these brethren are from a city called Jos which is about a 4 hour drive from Abuja and where, also, there is a lot of unrest right now.  Christian churches have seen violence in Jos but so far there hasn't been any harm done to any of our members.  What faithful, trusting saints!

And then, after a long day of training (usually one 2 hour session in the morning and one in the afternoon) we get the reward--at least in Abuja!  A leisurely steak barbecue dinner by the pool......
......after a lovely swim and a little relaxing nap by the pool.....the closest thing to heaven we have found here!

This is Sister Grace, a wonderful woman with an amazing story we met in Abuja this trip.  She has served as the Minister of Education here in Nigeria and has an intriguing conversion story.  What a faithful woman with a huge personality!  We taught her how to play a mean game of quarters---and she could even out-cheat Elder Baker!

Just an idea of what it is like heading back to the airport in Abuja--even after all this time and all our travels I am not sure if these make me feel safer or more nervous!

Sadly for us, but so happy for him, we had to say goodbye to one of our very favorite elders--Elder Oboh.  He has been in the office as an AP for quite a few months--almost as long as we have been here and we have certainly learned to love and appreciate him.  He has a smile to die for and a testimony larger than himself.  After serving so faithfully for 2 years he was on his way home.  We will miss you Elder Oboh!

Go home dinner for some great elders--including Elder Oboh!

A final song from the departing elders.

Sharing their celebration cake

Another month come and gone......and all is well with the Bakers in Nigeria!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

January 2012--A New Year in Nigeria

Even though it is now already March I need to get this blog caught up on our adventures.  I have had these pictures added since the end of January but never took the time to finish the post.  So--here we go--to the best of my limited memory!

We started off New Years with a lovely dinner at the Hassan`s home on Sunday, Jan. 1.  The Hassans are members of our ward here in Ikeja.  Doctor Hassan is a world renowned eye surgeon (you can google him and find out more) and has several hospitals here in Nigeria.  He is also developing some charitable eye foundations here where he aids many cataract patients and other eye problems.  We had a great visit with him and his wife, Tola. They live in a lovely home quite close to the church.

Enjoying dinner!

The whole group--the Hassans, President and Sister Karkari, Elder and Sister Johansen and us.

The Hassan`s daughter visiting from the UK! 

Elder Baker had a bocce tournament with 2 of our favorite elders. Elder Engmann and Elder Brown are office elders and we see them on a daily basis.  They have a delightful sense of humor and lots of fun to be around.  They are both from Ghana and we had the privilege of meeting both of their fathers when we visited there.

Of course, every tournament has to have a banquet to wrap up!  Our version was pizza and cookies.  By the way---Elder Baker was the winner!

Our next excitement was a trip to Ile Ife with the Fergusons to aid with their Neonatal Resuscitation Training.  What a great honor it was to spend some time with them and see the church`s humanitarian arm in action!

Here we are outside the chapel at Ile Ife--us, President Famosa of the mission presidency, Gloria Ferguson, Joann (nurse trainer), President Karkari, Thomas (mission driver), John Golden (doctor trainer) and Ike Ferguson.

Getting organized--dividing all the equipment to be given to all the medical organizations at the end of the training.  The church provides all the equipment needed so that the people that are trained here can carry on the training in their own locations.  Over the last few years over 14,000 doctors and nurses have been trained here in Nigeria to help babies breathe better and save lives.  Amazing!

The group of young medical students that helped us get organized:

Our fearless leader, Ike Ferguson, giving us some instructions at the hotel:

 Here were the nurses getting ready for the first day of training.  During these 2 days 75 nurses and 51 doctors were trained as trainers--they can now go back to their respective areas and train the staff in their hospitals, clinics and maternity homes. 


 Just a shot of our little ``babies``--the mannequins is use by the nurses for their `Helping Babies Breathe`` course.  

Some of the nurse trainees in action at their station.

Doctors were given more advanced training on a different "baby" that could actually be intubated.  Each of these mannequins is worth over $700 and the church provided kits containing  at least one mannequin and other vital equipment to most of the hospitals, clinics or maternity homes that were represented there.  These will be invaluable aids to train more nurses and doctors in these lifesaving procedures.

Even Mark got involved learning the intubation process.  I think he will set up his own clinic when we return home.  The hardest thing to teach him was to call it "intubation" and not "incubation"!

He even received a course completion certificate from Doctor John for being a great
 "Incubator Intubator"! It is one of his prized possessions now.

Our hardworking group of facilitators and trainers at the end of the whole process.  These trainers had been trained in one of the earlier training sessions and qualified to train the new group we were involved with.  What a great visit I had with some of them after the last session--and how impressed they were with the church for donating the time, manpower and resources.  Thousands of babies will be saved just with the simple, updated knowledge that was imparted to the new participants.  What a rewarding experience for all involved.

Finally, back in Lagos after some wonderful days.  Here is our team--Dr. John Golden, Nurse Joann, Ike Ferguson, Gloria Ferguson...and us!

Another memorable month in Nigeria!