On November 16, 2011 to be precise, l had a dramatic encounter as l was running up and down the city of Ibadan pursuing MitiMeth related business. l had gone to the Cultural Centre at Mokola to explore the possibility of having a workshop location over there. It is high time l handover my parents home back in its original form. I am sure they are cheering the decision J Over the past 18 months l have turned their home into a MitiMeth workshop and literally have products all over their home and in various stages of completion in addition to sacks upon sacks of raw material.
I was very fortunate to meet with the General Manager (GM) of the Cultural Centre in Ibadan late last year in my quest for a work / shop location and interestingly he was my Father’s former student. Like they say “it is indeed a small world”. My 1st meeting with the GM was brief but he was very receptive and requested to see samples of our eco-friendly MitiMeth products. Thankfully, l had a few in the car so he and his staff walked over to see them. They were quite complimentary and the GM then asked me to submit an application with my request.
As l was leaving the Cultural Centre heading back to the main road (the Centre is off the beaten path), l saw two young men on skate-boards ( victims of the poliovirus) trying to pull a puppy off the main road at the junction. It was quite an unusual sight so I stopped to observe what was going on. The young men were as best as they could trying to handle the very active puppy while maneuvering on their skate boards (remember they have no functional legs just their hands which they use to propel their boards). I rolled down my window and asked them what they were doing. They said they wanted to throw the puppy in the nearby bush - at least that way it wouldn't get run over by a car. They had found the dog in a plastic bag in the middle of the road as they were trying to make their way up the hill. I was bewildered and speechless. They said in pidgin English "Auntie l beg if you fit, make you take am find somebody wey go like am if you no want am". English translation: “Auntie why don’t you take this dog if you are able and perhaps you may find someone who will take it from you if you don’t want to keep it”. I asked them to take the puppy and they said "Wallahi Auntie we no go fit as we not go fit carry am as we dey go". English translation: “We swear Auntie we are unable to carry this dog with us”. In hindsight their reason made absolute sense. If they use their hands to "walk" it was certainly not possible to also carry a dog. To cut a long story short, I opened the back door of the car and they tossed the scared puppy in!
I asked the guys what they did for a living (it was quite obvious they were street side beggars) and they told me they were hustling. But one was quick to tell me he could do handwork and he trained to do shoemaking. Since l had a few of my hand-woven MitiMeth products with me, l was able to show them a product and asked if they could do it. They replied "we go fit if you teach us how to do am". English translation: “we can do it if you train us”. Good answer J. So, in addition to a new puppy l also had right before me two potential MitiMeth employees (Nuru and Hassan). I got their phone numbers -thank GOD for GSM and right there and then l “flashed” their numbers to make sure l had the right digits. I gave them what was left of my loose change and headed home with my new addition to MitiMeth which l conveniently allowed my folks to discover in good time.
I took the puppy to the University of Ibadan Vet Clinic so she could get checked out and also get the necessary shots. I showed the Vet Doctor the puppy and narrated the rescue story since l could not tell them her age when asked by the receptionist. The nice doctor assessed the puppy and told me she was a very young puppy approximately 6 weeks (which implies l rescued her at 5 weeks) and as such she was too young to be vaccinated with anti-rabies. He however gave her the 1st de-worming dose and boy was the puppy spitting MAD afterwards! GOD Bless Dr. Abiola for the great service.
My dear MitiMeth friends, if it had not been for MitiMeth business, nothing would have taken me to the Cultural Centre in Ibadan on that blessed day and my path with Nuru, Hassan and Rasco (the puppy has been baptized with a name – thank you to Omada) would have never crossed. Rasco is growing and is as mischievous as ever but a delight nonetheless.
Our hope in the not too distant future is that we would have found a suitable and accessible work / shop location so we can draft Nuru and Hassan into MitiMeth employment. As l think of the numerous young men all around the city of Ibadan afflicted with polio and maneuvering dangerously through traffic to hustle for alms, l am indeed very grateful to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the significant investment they have made to make Nigeria polio free.
That's all for now from the MitiMeth corner. Stay tuned.