Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 19, 1956

A Typical Day In Nigeria

Betty Broom, Ikot Usen, Nigeria

Dear Friends, We thought you would like to hear a woman's viewpoint of the work in Nigeria. So I am writing the newsletter this month.

Shall I start with a typical day? Margaret usually arouses us with a request for a bottle, around 6:00 a.m. Within half an hour all the children are up, the cook and steward are here to prepare breakfast, and people are waiting at the door for attention of some sort. After breakfast we have devotional, with our helpers joining us. Wendell leaves about 7:30 either for Ukpom to teach in the Bible Training School, or on some appointment. Wendy starts his school work at 9:00. Joanna, the children's nursemaid, is here by then to take care of Margaret, David, and Mary Beth, so that I am free to teach him. Two hours usually is enough time for him to complete his daily assignment. We both enjoy it very much and he is doing well. At least his report cards from the Calvert School, in Baltimore, are good.

There is a constant stream of sick people. June and I try to take care of them in the mornings and Sister Bawcom, next door, "doctors" in the afternoon. It is appalling the type of wounds and illnesses they confront us with: extensive burns, deep tropical ulcers, badly infected cuts, fevers of all descriptions. We urge the more serious cases to go to the hospital, twenty miles in one direction or eight miles in the other direction.

Women and children come selling fruits, eggs, chickens, etc., and it takes time to bargain with them. They always ask twice too much for anything, and would actually be disappointed if you agreed to that price. The technique is to offer half what it is worth and then bicker until both parties are satisfied. So passes an interesting, if tiring, morning.

After lunch we rest for about two hours. This rest is essential because of the energy sapping climate. Then we take our baths in a galvanized tub. Wendell has rigged up a shower, using a garden type watering can. Occasionally the children and I go for a walk before dinner. There are many interesting bush paths to explore.

After dinner there is usually somebody waiting to talk to Wendell. He gets requests of various types: "Come and preach in our village," "Can you give me a job?" "Do you have any tracts, Bibles, song books, anything I can read?" Ordinarily, the day's work is finished at sundown and our family can spend a quiet evening together. This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of our life here. After the children go to bed we write letters, study, and plan our work.

We get frequent requests to take people to the hospital. There is a count ambulance in Itu, eight miles away, but the people are wary of using it. We take people when we feel that the patient will die if we don't. One night last week a man came asking us to take his wife to the hospital in Itu. These people wait until it is an emergency and then we feel obligated. The sick woman was the wife of one of the elders in the church When we got to her compound, in a village about ten miles from here, the neighbor women had dragged her to her feet to "primp" her for the trip to the hospital . . . she died the next morning ... strangulated hernia.

There are many opportunities here that go unfulfilled because of a lack of personnel. Churches cry for someone to come and teach the women; the children in the schools need a weekly Bible lesson, and we would be permitted to teach them; we need to keep special classes for women going on all the time, such as the one conducted in December in Uqpom. A registered nurse would be worth her weight in gold over here. I wish every day that I had had nurse's training. Our constant prayer is for more workers from America. We are looking forward to the arrival of the Finneys, sometime in April.

All of our family is well. We are very happy in our work here, and are so grateful to all of you for giving us the opportunity to come to Africa. We want you to remember us in your prayers. And a letter from you would be most welcome. With no radio, television, daily paper, or telephone, letters are most important to us.

Sincerely, Betty Broom.