Intelligent and hard-working, 11 year old Efe* is delighted to be at the Eagles Wings Care Point in Nigeria and makes the most of her time away from her chores. At the Care Point, she has the freedom to once again be a child and play with friends her own age, away from the burdens at home. Together with the other Care Workers, Mrs Joseph has provided loving stability for Efe, taking on the responsibility of teaching Efe and her siblings basic life skills. Efe receives a hot and nutritious meal daily, access to education and, with the support of the Eagles Wings Community Based Organisation, she has received a new sleeping mat, a mosquito net and clothing, which all contribute to their overall health and hygiene.
Farzam Mohajer, International Volunteer (Canada) reflects on what God was doing in his heart during his time in Nigeria.
“Eagle’s Wings is a Hands at Work community school in Lagos, Nigeria which serves some of the most vulnerable children in the slum of Ilaje. Our school which serves Ilaje community has experienced severe flooding, housing children who still attend school only to stand in water that is waist deep during the height of the rain and tide season.
After traveling to Nigeria and doing a building assessment together with the local Hands at Work team in Lagos and the school teachers, we realized that the best way forward is to demolish the school building and raise the whole site. While I was in Nigeria, I travelled to an area where sand merchants were. There were piles of sand on the shore of a Lagos Lagoon, and many boats in the water. I soon learnt that simple wooden boats with patchwork plastic sails would go out deep into the lagoon at nights due to the direction of the wind after 10pm. The men in the boats would lower a ladder to the bottom of the lagoon, and spend the night diving with a bucket meters down to collect sand. By morning the boat would be full of sand, and as the sun came up the wind direction changed and the sail boat was brought to shore again. The men would then transfer the sand to baskets and walk the sand one basket at a time to shore. This impacted me for many reasons: the hard, backbreaking work of the poor, which support every high-rise and small house built in Lagos, and the endurance of these men.
As I pondered these things, the gospel came crashing into my mind. I saw these men as being Jesus, as setting their sails to enter deep into the darkness, to dive deep into the depths of that darkness, to draw out seemingly insignificant grains of sand. I saw us as the sand, being drawn up out of the mire at the bottom of a dark lagoon by the one who came after us, as people who can now feel the sun shining for the first time. As I thought of this, I sensed a choice ahead of me. The choice is this: I can simply be happy to be a grain of sand on a pile on the shore, or I can continually surrender to the hands of the one who saved me, so that He can turn me into shelter. The second part is more daunting than the first, and that is why as Christians we are often more comfortable to simply be saved than to be used. To be turned into a house means much more unknown for the grain of sand. It means perhaps being transported much further from the ocean. It means being mixed with cement and rocks, foreign objects it had never rubbed against before! It can mean being shoveled and pummeled and poured, and solidified in times of flux or times of waiting. It means being surrendered to become part of a house that the owner wants to build.
The Eagles Wings school used the first load of sand to build a raised sceptic tank and storage container platform this past week. I count this sand as sacred, because I have seen a glimpse into the hard work of the men who retrieved it. And through this project, I am urged by the Spirit of the living God to become like this grain, abandoned to the will of the one who saved me from the depths of darkness.”
Nine-year-old Toben* often has to take on the responsibility of being a parental figure to his siblings, in place of his absent father. Sadly, Toben’s father struggles with alcohol abuse and has left his place as head of the household, leaving his wife as the primary breadwinner for the family. When Esther, a Care Worker from Eagles Wings Community Based Organisation (CBO), heard about Toben’s situation, she visited his home and immediately saw his vulnerability.
In response, Esther invited Toben to the Care Point where he was enrolled at the Eagles Wings Community School and began receiving a hot and nutritious meal daily and support with his basic health care. Toben loves his teacher, Esther, who is also his Care Worker, and is happy when she visits his family, encouraging his mother and praying with them.
11-year-old Mercy* lives with her two brothers and great-aunt, Anita*. Mercy can be described as a kind and gentle young girl, who loves school and playing with her friends. Last year Biodun, Mercy’s Care Worker, noticed that Mercy was unwell. Mercy was taken to the clinic where she was found to be suffering from a severe case of malaria. Mercy is now recovering and is gaining strength each day. Anita is grateful for the life-saving support provided by Biodun and the other Care Workers at the Eagles Wings Care Point in Nigeria.
“I became a Care Worker because I like to care for the orphaned and vulnerable children because it is the work of God. One of the things I love about being a Care Worker is that it's not simply about cooking for the children but it’s visiting them in their homes. It’s knowing how they feel and being able to help them with their homework, pray for them and encourage them.”
– Dupe is a volunteer #CareWorker in the community of Eagles Wings, #Nigeria.
When Mrs. Joseph, a Care Worker from Eagle’s Wings Community Based Organisation (CBO), saw five-year-old Abel* with his grandmother, Mama Lewa*, begging for money on the side of the road, she knew she needed to find out their story. As she listened to Mama Lewa share, Mrs. Joseph learned that Abel’s father had left and his mother had passed away. Due to her age, Mama Lewa is unable to work, making it a challenge to provide even the most basic necessities for her grandson.
Upon hearing their story, Mrs. Joseph knew she needed to advocate for Abel and his grandmother and invited him to regularly attend the Care Point. The Care Workers have committed to caring for Abel’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
40 Days of Prayer - Day 22 - As part of the Hands at Work vision and to provide holistic care for each child, we fight for children to have access to education. Across Africa, uniforms are provided and school fees are paid by Hands at Work to ensure that these children can have access to a community or government school. Pray for the teachers who invest many hours a day into teaching our children; ask God to guide them in their words and actions as they live as role models to their classes. Pray they will have wisdom in assessing each child’s needs and show love and care to the children they teach. #40Days2017 When you step into the Ilaje Community School where the Eagle’s Wings Community Based Organisation (CBO) operates from, there is a tangible sense of warmth and joy radiating from the children and teachers. This is place is much more than just a school, it's a life centre where children feel loved, safe and accepted. Currently, there are six teachers who are extremely dedicated in ensuring the education of the children they teach. They display Christ’s love in their words and actions and are devoted to even visiting the children outside of school in their own homes.
Ilaje, Community, #Nigeria. Abigail* and her family are refugees from neighbouring Benin. Since they arrived in Lagos, finding work and a stable income has proved nearly impossible. For many years, Abigail was forced to work alongside her mother and sister, selling small goods at the market in exchange for daily food provision. Since being identified by the #CareWorkers in Ilaje, Abigail and her sister were given a place in school and daily food security. Abigail has now caught up with her missed school years and is in grade 6. #StoriesOfTheMostVulnerable #Hope