Letters from Teresa/Ozioma

Letters from Teresa/Ozioma

Ozioma Hope for Wellness USA Corporation



April 10, 2008


Dearest Family and friends,


  Happy Easter/Passover Blessings to all of you.  The Easter celebration was, as last year, very moving and uplifting.  I believe I shared my experience of Easter last year in one of my previous newsletters.  It has been a while since I wrote to you and I apologize.  I am tired when I come back at night and most of the time the electricity is not on when I am able to write. I don't receive as much sleep as I would like due to the excessive heat at night, the roosters crowing outside my window beginning anywhere from 3 am on (I go to my window and sometimes am aggravated telling them shhhhh,  but to my dismay, they persist), the beginning of burials signaled by gunshots at 5a.m. and the sounds of the gong.  The gongs are a means of communication (as they do not have home phones)  through various patterns of the sound.  The women communicate through a metal gong and the men through a wooden.  It is interesting to listen to the different signals.


   Emmanuel is doing well and is fully recovered.  Thank you for your prayers for him. He walks with me almost every morning and visits the sick with me.  He is now helping to care for a man named Julius.  Julius is a 65+ year old diabetic who has been suffering from a extensive wound on his left foot for over one year.  One of the pictures I will send is of Emmanuel dressing the wound.  Emmanuel is familiar with pain and the inability to walk freely due to his past injury.  As he had cared for his own wound for so long, he is cautious with the dressing change.  When his mother saw him attending to Julius's wound,  she exclaimed  "Emmanuel a Dr?"  Unfortunately, he has not attended school since the age of 7, due to his accident,  he is unable to read or write. This I found out while he was in the hospital, when he was unable to sign a release for surgery.  Julius is a retired teacher/principal and is now tutoring Emmanuel on the days he cares for Julius's wound. It brings me joy to see how God has woven them together . God is wonderful! ARE YOU SMILING NOW-!!


  The Hamma time season of the dry winds has passed and the rainy season has begun which brings about heavy rains and strong winds. When it is not raining it is extremely hot.  Due to the heavy rains and winds, the cell phone net work is not always working so communication with my children and siblings is less often.


  The people are now busy preparing the fields for farming and are working very hard from dawn to dusk.  If you recall from my first newsletter of last year, they are farmers and the scant income they bring in, is from the harvest of their farms. The fruits of their labor does not provide for their daily needs of food and medicine. 


   As I trek from village to village, the suffering due to hunger. lack of clean water and little to no medical care is immense.  I am stopped, with almost every step,with the cries of the poor; "Onyeocha (white woman) I am hungry and have no money to feed my children...Onyeocha, my head pains...Onyeocha, my body pains me (pointing to knees, back and  legs) ... Onyeocha,I have heat inside my body, all over... Onyeocha, I have a feeling of worms crawling throughout my body...Onyeocha my eyes are not good, I cannot see...Onyeocha, look at my wound (I gasp at the extent of the wounds)... Onyeocha, my baby,  please make my baby well....Onyeocha,I have been to Dr.'s...hospitals.... chemists...I have sold my land to pay for treatment and have no money left  to eat or feed my children.."  and the suffering requests go on and on. Their eyes reflect their pain and helplessness, yet their smile reflects their hope.   My heart cries as I meet each and everyone of them. What should take me fifteen minutes to trek can take up to 1 hour, as I stop to listen to their struggles.


   I check blood pressures after morning mass and  check the people as I trek through the villages.  I also am taken by cyclists to two villages outside my area about every two weeks, as my schedule allows. The blood pressure readings are as high as  160 to 250/ 100 to 152 ( normal is 120/80).  As I do not have medicine, I educate them on diet and silent prayer before God. Their diet consists of alot of salt, fried foods, caffeine which they consume from  "bitter cola,"  tea that is made by boiling the the tea bag and snuff (the elderly) which is a tobacco they place in their gums.  Their daily suffering also contributes to the high readings.  When I recheck their blood pressure, a large percent of their readings have  reduced to safe measure.  It is always rewarding to see their smile when I tell them their BP is good.


  I attend to may many wounds as I trek the villages.  Many of the wounds would make you gasp. One elderly woman, for example, cannot swallow medicine so her infected foot is becoming gangrenous.  She pleads to me in her Igbo language, that if I cannot make her well then I should take her to the "bush" and leave her to die. Her pain is immense and I cannot alleviate it or her infection due to her inability to swallow medicine. Praying with her, holding her and changing her bandage is not enough as her wound continues to progress. It is difficult for me to watch her deteriorate and suffer.  I am watching her deteriorate and suffer.  Each time I return to visit  her my heart is pierced sorrow, as she has removed her bandage, and the wound is open and infested with flies. 


   I am not able to purchase sterile bandages in the villages, so I thank you for the ones you sent with me and mailed to me here.  I use hand sanitize to disinfect the bowls, sizers, gloves etc.  used in their treatment.


  The children are precious as they will stop me and show me a small cut on their leg for me to dress.  Many times I cannot even see the wound or it is already healed This came about when they saw me cleaning a child's wound and placing a band-aid on it.  I smile, put a band-aid and ointment on their cut's and give them a kiss and hug.  They  bring a smile to my heart , amidst the horrific suffering I witness every day.


   Since I do not have a car trekking takes up a good part of my day.  Sometimes, the cyclists will pick me up and carry me without charge, and for them I am grateful.  I have traveled with some of the sick to see a dr. in a nearby village, unfortunately the money they have to spend on transport could be spent on their treatment.   I wish I had a place for the sick to stay. as I am not able to visit them as often as I  would like. The hours of daylight go by too quickly, and I have to trek back to the convent before it becomes dark.  It becomes very dark quickly once the dusk begins.


   I continue to maintain contact with The Rotary Club here and The rotary in US.trying to help them connect with each other.  I am looking forward to joining the Rotary in US to share my experience with the Rotarians here in Nigeria.


   The burial committee is meeting regularly and we will bring our ideas that have been discussed to the Parish Council.  Father Ken, the pastor of St. Therese's Church and Eze Boniface, the traditional ruler of the 12 villages I live among, are part of the committee and are very supportive in bringing about changes to decrease the burden of the cost of the burials.


  The burials continue on a daily basis, which is disturbing to all, as many of the deaths are due to no medical care, hunger and unclean water.


I could write on and on but I will end here for now.  I will be returning earlier than I planned due to my daughters graduation.  I look forward to giving you all hugs and kisses, and will contact you when I arrive home.


  God Bless and may we all be a reflection of the compassionate love of God.


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

Ozioma of Igboland


Blog Stats

  • Total posts(38)
  • Total comments(0)

Forgot your password?