Category: Nigeria and Ghana, 2013

SUVs for Kings and the Beginning of Man

August 27

Started with breakfast at the hotel with Funmi’s cousin, Ayo, who is a lawyer and one of twenty-six members of the Ekiti Assembly, which is akin to our House of Representatives. He seems very committed and in tune with the governor’s program. Ayo will be visiting the US next month and we hope to see him in Chicago.

En route to Ibadan, Funmi got a call that there was a meeting of kings that the governor wanted us to attend. We drove to a sports stadium, where a huge crowd had gathered for an event for the Council of Traditional Rulers, an attempt by the governor to reach the grass roots through the local kings. The stands were packed with kings and their wives in very festive dress.

20130827-180229.jpg

20130827-180222.jpg

Lining the field were some 100 new SUVs, which were to be gifts to the kings from the governor. Speeches were made, a popular comedian MCed and music was played at what turned out to be quite a spectacle.

20130828-000908.jpg

We drove on to Okeigbo, where a farm house Sola’s father had built for him more than thirty years ago is located. The house is large and solid, and has mountains in the background. Sola has never lived there and has somebody take care of it for him. As we drove away from our short visit, Sola said, touchingly, that he felt his father’s presence in the house.

20130827-210940.jpg

We stopped at Obafemi Owolow University, which the Global Health Initiative at the U of C partners with. As the doctors were on strike, there was nobody to see and, despite Funmi’s incredible presence all over the world, it took us half an hour to get into a bathroom. Comforting to know that there are some limits to her powers.

Driving on, we came upon the obelisk, called Opa Oranmiyan, in Ile Ife, where the first human is reputed to have existed, the obelisk being the staff of one of seven warrior sons. Our chief security aide, Moses, says that the staff, miraculously, has grown larger, but Sola appeared a mite skeptical about that report.

20130827-210953.jpg

I transferred to a car with Carol (and, of course, a driver and guard) to ride about an hour to a spot on the highway where the van pulled over. I transferred to the van and we all said goodbye to Carol, who was driven on to Lagos for her flight back to Chicago. It was great having her and we’ll all miss her for the rest of the trip, especially me.

In Ibadan, we drove to the house that the Global Health Initiative uses as its headquarters in Nigeria. There, Sola met with a team of about a dozen students in various disciplines, who were doing research on the impact of distributing small metal ethanol-burning stoves to be used in cooking in lieu of burning wood inside, which creates horrendous medical problems, and some 4 million preventable deaths annually due to indoor pollution.

20130827-211252.jpg

Later, we saw the compact stoves, which can be bought for as little as $20, and Sola thinks may cost even less in the future. The students seem motivated and energetic, and Sola praised their work.

Next we drove to the home of the Vice Chancellor (President) of Ibadan University, a very prestigious school that claims the Olopades as two of its distinguished graduates. While we expected only a few people would be attending, in fact it was a lavish affair with fifty people who constituted deans and elite professors at the university, with live music during dinner. The Vice Chancellor was unstinting in his praise of the Olopades and the Kipharts. Conversation over dinner was very interesting, and both Dick and Susie gave brief remarks after dinner. Clearly, the university is hoping for projects with the Kipharts in the future.

20130827-211315.jpg

Back to HLF House to blog and sleep.

1 comment to SUVs for Kings and the Beginning of Man

  • Wendy

    Really amazing. The photos of the kings are very impressive and communicate the remarkable spectacle. Nice SUVs, too.
    L,
    W.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>