In Nigeria, I am not Miss Everly. I am Auntie Everly. And I think I like that title better since it has a way of making me feel like family to people I have just met. The Idahosas, my host family, has been so welcoming and generous!
It is wonderful to come to Nigeria for the second time around because I recognize places and faces even when I am far from home. It is less overwhelming than the first time since I know more of what to expect and how things go here. I have already gotten reacquainted with friends from my first visit – it was so nice to see them by surprise!
Since coming to Nigeria last Thursday, I have already had some interesting experiences. Before leaving the airport in Lagos, I already had two phone numbers – one from the customs guy who said he wanted to be “in the running” if I was going to get married in Nigeria and one from the porter for our bags who said he would be expecting my call. I was a backup singer for Osasu, an 11-year-old rapper wannabe, in a talent show at church (it went terrible, but you have to love us for trying). And I also attended a Nigerian comedy/award show with Feb and Laurie Idahosa where some “Nollywood” (the Nigerian Hollywood – not kidding) stars and rappers made an appearance. I’m sure Nigeria will hold more unexpected experiences like these…
Today was my second day at the hospital here, Faith Mediplex. It was my first day on the delivery ward and I saw two births! I spent most of my time with a 23-year-old who was having her first baby. I tried to just be there for her and comfort her. Midwifery practice teaches that women need someone to be present with them during labor – someone they know is not going to leave them and who will keep them from being alone. I was glad to see that idea ring true today as I could tell she needed someone to be there when she had bad contractions. When it was time for the baby to be born, the midwife asked me if I wanted to catch the baby. I was shy and said “No, it would be my first” and I wanted to make sure someone was attending to the mother during the delivery. She said catching a baby was like a piece of “heaven on earth” and that I would have to do it someday. The matron (who is the chief nurse over the hospital) told me yesterday I would catch many babies during my time here. I can’t wait – even though I will be terrified, I think, when it actually happens!