Letters from Teresa/Ozioma

Letters from Teresa/Ozioma

Ozioma Hope for Wellness USA Corporation

Blessings from Igboland


March 23, 2007


Blessings from Igboland,


My dear friends and family, I sit here and ponder what to write to you. I have taken many pictures which will capture, somewhat, the reality of the immense poverty here, which I hope to e-mail to you when able. Nigeria is a developing nation in the lowest 25% of the world's economies. I cannot but feel their suffering and it is difficult for me to comprehend that in this day and age these people have little to nothing.


Clean water, something we in America don't even have to think about, is a major health care issue. There are only a small number of wells for clean water throughout these 12 villages that I have seen. One of the wells is at one of the sisters convent (this is the convent that has the cyber cafe and a small medical clinic) and is freely offered to the people at certain times of the day. Those that have access to the sisters well, may have to "treck" , what we may consider as a long distance to fetch the water, but for them it is part of their day to day living. Those that do not have access to the wells are found fetching water from polluted streams, which they also use to wash their clothes and bath in. This is heart wrenching for me to observe as I know the health care consequences they will face as a result of this polluted water.


As I mentioned in my last letter, the people are mostly farmers and are presently working very hard, long hours in their fields, cultivating their farms before the heavy rainy season which is expected in the next month or so. Children,  men and women carrying children on their backs,  are preparing the fields with only a hand held tool. Even the elderly are seen in the fields. Children are in the fields inbetween school times. These people do not have the convenience of a 40 hour work week as we do, for they can be seen working from dawn to dusk with the exception of the time they set aside for worship.


Private medical care is available in some of the major cities which is hours by car from these villages and costly, but are not up to the standards of industrialized economies . In some of the villages there are outpatient medical clinics available to those that can afford it,  they are substandard and are no more than a small clinic which offers basic treatment and only is equipped with a small lab and an examining room. Medical care is not available for the poor here, as it is costly . Many people opt to go to the traditional pharmacists due to the lower cost. These traditional pharmacists are not medically trained. They diagnose and prescribe medicine (antibiotics for 3 days seems to be one such treatment) without any lab tests to confirm their diagnosis, which in turn may not benefit the person at all and may turn a treatable illness into a life-threatening illness. People are dying and suffering do to lack of appropriate medical attention and medicine.


I see four body types that make up the majority of these people:

    Women, men and young adults of a lean muscular body type, not as a result of an exercise program that we are accustomed to associate this

body type to, but from hard labor.

    Emaciated bodies, so thin that they appear to be no more than skeletons, with skin hanging loosely from their bones.

    Children with distended abdomens and bowed legs, due to malnutrition and umbilical hernias.

    Pregnant women, many with small children carried on their backs, working up to the moment when their labor begins.


Up until about one week ago, I had not spent as much time as I wanted interacting with the people in the villages, as Mother Paraclecta has expressed her concern for me as a white woman and has advised me not to go out on my own. Her concern is not of the village people, for they are loving and receptive of my presence and mission, it is the "bandits" who steal from the poor along with the rich that she cautions me, along with the dangers around the upcoming election, as you could conclude from the prayer of the people I e-mailed to you regarding the upcoming election, In an answer to my prayers, my path lead me to Mr. Greg Omeni, who is the principal of the Imo Co-Operative College, next to where I am living. Greg has offered to help me in my mission here and has willingly offered some of his time, expertise and influence to help me and I am grateful for him. Through Greg I met with The Royal Highness, EZE Boniface, who reigns over the twelve surrounding villages. He was very open to my desire to help his people. EZE Boniface will head a meeting with the-12 chiefs under his reign to inform them of my presence here (as I have only gone into the villages closest to where I live) and to have the chiefs arrange provisions of a local guide from each of their villages to accompany me and bring me into each of the village so as I can interact with the people and assess the needs of that particular village. EZE Boniface's commitment and loyalty to his people is apparent to me and I feel assured that his call as EZE is rooted in his love and faith in God and his people. He is a very humble man whom is respected and loved by his people and is an answer to my prayers. I have redirected my focus to the poor in the villages and how best I can help them through the grace and guidance of God. After spending time in the villages I will write you as to my experience and of the needs of the people I hope to start going into the villages with the local guides within the next three weeks, sometime after Easter .


My path has also crossed with Mr. Felix Nwaodu, who is a volunteer for the LACA- Local Action Committee on HIV/AIDS. The epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria claims many lives. It is estimated that 1,4000 Nigerians are infected each day. Educating the people who are ignorant to this disease, testing for HIV/AIDS, counseling and treatment for those affected with the disease is offered free to the people of this area, through this organization. I have gone around with the team of LACA to some of the schools, in their effort's to educate the children and teachers on HIV/AIDS. The children appear to be receptive to what I say, probably due to me being an "onyeocha."


Ignorance, due to lack of knowledge results in unnecessary suffering and DEATH here. Ignorance not only of HIV/AIDS, but also ignorance of basic knowledge in preventative health care living. Something as simple as Basic Education is a huge, yet simple way. to begin to decrease some of the suffering and death here.



Mother Paraclecta and the sisters I live, with have have continued to extend themselves to me in an effort to make me comfortable, they have opened their hearts and home to me. They feed me, give me shelter and care for me. I am sure that it is because of them and the spirit of the people that my transition here has been so easy.


There is so much more I wish to write to you, but it has already been a few weeks since I started this letter and I hope to send it off to you before Easter. Thank-you for your e-mails and for your love, support and prayers for me and the IBO villagers. Know that you are all in my heart and prayers. Thank- you also for your prayers for the upcoming election. April 14th will be the election for the 36 governors one for each of the 36 states (IBO STATE  where I live,being one) of Nigeria and April 21st will be the election for the new President of Nigeria. I


Easter Blessings of joy, peace and love,


All my love-which is a portion of God's love,

Ozioma of Igboland


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