Miles and Smiles away
Sometimes days are running and you only realize it when you speak with friends and family. It is already over two weeks ago when I left colleagues & friends in Singapore and arrived safely in Nigeria, Abuja.
Over this weekend I reviewed all pictures from my current journey and remembered that I was just recently flying over the Sahara desert for hours. That was an impressive view from the plane. A friend told me later that Sahara covers nine million square kilometers amounting to 31% of Africa, WOW. Also during the flight over the largest hottest desert I remembered a discussion with a previous volunteer and was told about the dry season and it dusty wind from the Sahara causing poor visibility & severe dryness with temperatures between 30-40 °C. Thus I was not more so sure what to expect of climate and surrounding at my arrival.
However I landed at the airport in Abuja and the landscape was totally different as I expected with wide green fields and black stone hills everywhere. The green landscape is supported by the wet season with mild climate until September. But it will follow the dry/ hot season with up to 40 °C from October on wards.
Abuja is the capital of Nigeria with most Nigerian government agencies headquartered and most other countries’ embassies/ NGO’s have been relocated from Lagos. In Abuja I stayed in a hotel for the first week before moving into a 2 bedroom apartment with Girish a GSK colleague from India. The apartment is located in Maitama area and we already have explored some other area’s as Wuse II and the Jabi Lake.
Over the time more and more colleagues arrived in Abuja and up today we are 4 Chai & 3 Malaria consortium volunteers from GSK. And another three colleagues are still on the way and we are looking forward to warmly welcome them.
Moving around and taxi driving in Abuja is quite easy as the city was planned for cars with loop highway around and broad avenues. We noticed that we always drive by or close to the national mosque in the center. Until now we were not inside and only drove several times nearby. Soon we planning a visit this huge mosque.
Now I am miles away from home…. However the Chai team welcomed me with open arms and a lot of smiles. Their warm welcome was fantastic. Looking back to my first two weeks in the office, I only can say that everyone is very friendly and motivated to have a positive impact of their local communities and people. I am very pleased for this opportunity and I’m sure I will enjoy working with the Chai team.
For my Pulse assignment the overall aim is to ensure availability and functionality of oxygen diagnostic and treatment commodities in select hospitals in three states in Nigeria. I will support the creation tools and establish systems & approaches for the implementation & management of an oxygen commodities program from a technical perspective. Furthermore I will play an active role in mentoring and developing Bio Medical Engineers & Health Care Workers. Moreover support the global Chai team to develop strategies for the expansion of oxygen supply & further procurement of oxygen equipment in Nigeria and Africa.
I am really happy about this assignment and even more grateful of the chance to undertake several field trips to support the implementation of the pneumonia communities within the next months. This is a great opportunity to visit the rural country side and learn more about the culture and people of Nigeria. This is amazing and I’m looking forward for more smiles of stunning people of Nigeria. It looks like I am only miles and smiles away…
Have a great day ahead.