Day 5: A royal day out…

An incredible day! 

Met with 2 of the traditional rulers of this area: the Ndidem of the Quas and the Obong of Calabar. 

Both rulers along with their kings are interested in our work and want to find ways to support us and our partners. These men have great influence in their communities and recognise the plight of street children and wider issues of violence and abuse of children. 

Their support will be key to working within communities to promote children's rights, stop violence and will help us make a greater impact with the PACT coalition. 

The next picture was taken with the Obong of Calabar who really liked my t-shirt. I've promised to send him one, as I didn't think that offering the one I was wearing would have been entirely respectful after I'd been wearing it all day in this heat and humidity! 

We visited him at his village home close to the river in a rural area. 

 

No crazy traffic, exhaust fumes and just the gentle lapping sound of the river: idyllic! I realise too just how much I'm struggling the pollution from cars, trucks that belch out thick black smoke and can't help thinking about the damage to health they must be causing. 

On day 1 coming from the airport I described that sweet, hot woody fragrance  in the air but now all I can smell is toxic fumes…we definitely need to make use of the clean power from solar energy when we build our child protection centre…

And again back to the SYDRI shelter where I hear more about the experiences of the children we support. Absolutely heart breaking and really difficult as a parent listening to the stories these children tell about their lives and what they've endured to survive. 

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Overwhelming and very emotional but also thinking about how lucky they are to have found shelter and love. Madame Esther founded this centre 7 years ago after retiring as a bank manager. She devotes her life to providing a safe space to live, access to health and education and these children thrive- she's rightly immensely proud of their academic achievement. 

I am proud to work with her and know I'll draw inspiration from her in the future.