We are back in Nigeria after a wonderful summer in the UK. So many good things happened and it was so nice to be with my wonderful family and friends again. The journey home was much better this time and we were well looked after by ESSPIN who allowed us to stay in their guest house in Abuja while we waited for our flight connection to the UK. We had a good look around the craft market and I bought some lovely souvenirs for friends, including a beautiful carved table for ourselves. It was good to be on a BA flight and on familiar territory again-vegetarian food, English films. Best of all was getting back to Bebington and seeing my lovely girls and their families. Carrie had really grown and Orla is no longer a baby but a toddler speaking in proper sentences. She was unsure of us at first and I felt sad that I had missed out on this stage of her growing up but she soon got used to again and by the end of the holiday was happy to be left with us.
We had a lovely little break with our friends in Mallam in Yorkshire. It was so good to be out walking in the hills again. I even enjoyed the thunderstorm we got caught up in! I have had so little exercise since I have been in Nigeria so it was a relief to find that I could still go on hikes-although I was a bit stiff after. The waterfall at Janet’s Foss was a beautiful sight and I felt refreshed looking at it after months of being confined to a dusty city. Best of all was relaxing and laughing with friends. We had a fantastic room with a four poster bed and a power shower. I loved that shower! Living here has made me really appreciated simple things a lot more.
We are so lucky in the UK. Food is wonderful-so much choice. I could enjoy cauliflowers, broccoli, lettuce, mushrooms.... again. I could also go and have my injections in a sterile setting, have my eyes tested and my teeth examined and know I was getting the best treatment.
A big thank you to St Mary’s church in Eastham who allowed me to go and give a talk at the church. What a lovely group of people! I donned my Nigerian outfit and talked to them about the orphanage. Lea was my time-keeper but once I got going with my power point I went way over but they didn’t mind. They enjoyed listening to the video interview with the founder of the orphanage and showed a lot of interest. I also enjoyed joining in their fellowship and prayer. They had a collection and gave me £170 for the orphans which was excellent. I was asked lots of questions and was made to feel really welcome. Since returning I have discovered that the Central Bank of Nigeria has given Mrs Omolehin the money for the bus so I am going to speak to her about using the money I have raised to set up a proper playroom for the children. I brought back with me some lego bricks, toy cars, pop-up play house, tunnels and books to get started. I raised £300 altogether so hope to buy more toys and have a bookcase, small tables and chairs, large cushions made here. If Mrs Omolehin likes the idea I will spend time training the care-givers how to play with the children. Funmi is keen on this idea so we hope to go out and speak to her soon.
The best day of the holiday was when my Katie got married. What a perfect day that was. She looked so beautiful and happy. The sun shone and we just wanted the day to never end! I felt very emotional when Katie walked down the aisle with Lea. Katie- her best friend, Emily, Lucy and Carrie were bridesmaids. They held the hands of Jake and Adam who were page boys and Aimee, the flower girl. Orla had to forgo her flower girl duties as she was too excited and wanted to run around the church! The minister directed her into the sound proof toy room! I was so proud seeing them-my family!
Katie had made sure everyone had a good time and had a chest of toys and a pop-up fire-engine for the children. She had also organised a caricaturist which was good fun. Orla was in heaven as there were jars of sweets everywhere! She had more sweet that day than in her life so far and of course was sick on the way home! Carrie had made her own special cake which was delicious. She also made a power point of pictures of the nine years Katie and James have been together which was so lovely to see. Katie had decorated the room beautifully and labelled the tables after a significant place she and James had visited. We were on the top table-Paris where James proposed. The food was good and Lea’s speech was excellent. James and Neil made interesting and funny speeches too. I am so pleased to have James in the family. Lucy and Emily are both pregnant so our family is really growing. I love them all so much. It broke my heart to leave them and I still feel emotional now thinking of them. They mean more to me than anything else I have done in my life so coming back was very difficult. I still have things to do here so felt I had to come back. I also brought a lot of big books back for schools so really did have to return.
It was also great being with the grandchildren. We were able to take Jake, Adam and Aimee to the beach and had a great day having a picnic and looking for feathers. Another day I took Orla to the park where she loved the swings. We took Carrie to Abersoch and I was so proud of her as she went horse riding on quite a windy day. Later on I finally got back on a horse myself-after four years. The jodphurs were a bit tight but I could still canter! It was good to know that she still enjoys hot chocolate with all the trimmings and a chocolate muffin!
My lovely friend Gil let us stay with her for a few days and we managed to have a barbeque. I also met up with other friends and had lots of coffees and cakes.
The last day was special as I went with my daughters and grandchildren to a cafe for children where we had a lovely time.
It all seems so far away now. I must try to keep them in my heart and know that they will be waiting for me when I finally return.
Well I have been trying to post photos all day with no success! Maybe better luck when I get to Abuja tomorrow.