Ann Laemmlen and Mary Ellen Edmunds in Nigeria: Our report to headquarters 27 October 1984

Child018aFrom 1984-1987 I lived in Eket, Nigeria.  Mary Ellen Edmunds and I were sent to direct a child health project for the Thrasher Research Fund in Salt Lake City.  I recently found this report we sent to headquarters not long after we first arrived there.

We lived in The Palace, mostly without electricity or running water.  We helped build our furniture and we killed lots of cockroaches.  It was a grand adventure!  This letter gives a fun taste of establishing our life in an African village.2Nig174

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 1Our Palace:Nig077The generator house:2Nig114

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 2


The local markets:Nig041Nig038Nig039

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 32Nig177

Collected rain water::Nig084

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 42Nig104

Furnishing The PalaceNig0652Nig1072Nig1342Nig105Film canisters filled with spices, and a few things we brought from home:2Nig095

We had to filter, boil and chlorinate our water and soak all of our local fruit and produce in a chlorine solution.

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 5

2Nig119  Cockroach has wings

Dedication of the chapel in Aba.   This was the first building built to be an LDS Church in the whole Cross River State area.  Now there is a temple there.2Nig2902Nig325.jpg17097945_10210905722353402_2298671528927089642_o.jpg2Nig458

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 6Killing bugs:


Eket Branch meeting in Samuel and Cecilia’s home:Nig0961984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 7Baptisms:2Nig304On this day, more than 60 people were baptized.  You can see the 3 baptismal sites below:2Nig310Some of the men were confirmed, and received the Priesthood so they could baptize their family members.2Nig3132Nig321Dinner with the Tretheways and Madsens:2Nig253

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 8Cecilia working in the garden planting waterleaf:Nig025Our front yard with my pineapple crop:2Nig361Grass grew non-stop in my pineapple garden:Nig078Chief’s wife, Ama Imeh helping in our garden:Nig079Wandering Bob “mowing the lawn”Nig080Ann’s garden, before and after–ground nuts, waterleaf, potatoes, beans:2Nig092

2Nig179   2Nig1362Nig096Nig0812Nig097  2Nig140

What our rice looks like before cleaning it.  Yes, those are bugs.  Yes we ate it all.2Nig151This sweet child is Doraty.  She was 9 years old and weighed 23 lbs.  We called her “broomstick” because her arms and legs were no larger.  Her little belly was filled with roundworms living on whatever little food she received.  2Nig166

Here is Doraty’s family, the Bassey Udoeyos.  They were our dear friends and neighbors.  Sister Helen, the mom had 9 children.  They lived on what they could produce.2Nig1702Nig465We gave the children worm medicine to kill the worms in their bellies.  Here is Esther, Doraty’s sister with the worms she passed the next morning:2Nig330

Helen named her 9th child after me:  Ann Bassey Davies Udoeyo:2Nig2672Nig4612Nig417

Samuel and Cecilia and their family:2Nig2282Nig2352Nig462

Eket Branch members at our new meeting place:2Nig2992Nig4312Nig467I served as the Relief Society President in this dear Branch.2Nig2872Nig2812Nig456

Fetching water–the children bathe, wash laundry and gather drinking water all in the same place.  No wonder the children are so often weak and sick.Nig0582Nig1912Nig199

We taught and trained 100s of men and women to be Village Health Workers during the next 3 years, working in more than 25 villages.  Here are a few of these good friends.  I hope their lives were better because we were there.2Nig3372Nig3402Nig3492Nig3482Nig377Branch members participated too:2Nig3442Nig3452Nig3472Nig167A big part of my heart will always be here, in Eket with these dear friends and with Mary Ellen, who taught me to love more than I’d ever loved before.


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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