Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

Poverty and Plenty Affect Intelligent Decisions

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Dear Friend,

I recently came across a fascinating article in Harvard Magazine. Its title, “The Science of Scarcity,” sums up an emerging topic among behavioral economists, the people who study why we make the economic decisions that we do.

What they find is that when any of us are poor—indeed when we face scarcity of any kind—we tend to make bad decisions. Poverty actually lowers our IQ by limiting what these economists call our “bandwidth.” When we are consumed with the problems of poverty—like where our next meal is coming from—we have less of our brain left over to think clearly in a long term fashion.

Ibrahim Nadashi, 66 years old, participates in a reading and writing class in Ruwawuri, Nigeria. The class is helping people learn these skills so they can earn a living with dignity. Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS

Ibrahim Nadashi, 66 years old, participates in a reading and writing class in Ruwawuri, Nigeria. The class is helping people learn these skills so they can earn a living with dignity. Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS

Did you know that in this country high school students’ SAT scores correlate consistently with only one measurement: household income? The higher the income, the higher the score, and vice versa. Some say this shows that the wealthy can afford test prep tutors. Others say it proves that our capitalist meritocracy works, that the smart are rewarded.

But it’s clear to me that students living in poverty do not score lower because they are inherently less intelligent. They score lower because the stress of poverty robs them of their intelligence. As the article states, people aren’t poor because they sometimes make bad decisions; people sometimes make bad decisions because they are poor.


Prayers for Survivors of Deadly Flooding in Nigeria

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers are with hundreds of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who have lost loved ones and the millions left homeless by flooding across the country.

We invite you to go here to help with emergencies like this. As always, thanks for your support. It encourages us and the people we serve in your name.

Heavy rainfall between July and September has caused severe flooding across Nigeria, leaving more than 2 million people homeless and killing 363, according to news reports. CRS, in collaboration with Caritas Nigeria, is planning an emergency response to assist those affected.

CRS’ Lionel Lajous has been traveling to affected communities in Nigeria’s Delta State, one of the most affected areas, to assess the most urgent needs of communities there.

“Despite the scale of the disaster, I have seen people working together in solidarity to protect themselves and their homes from the floods,” he said. “One city in Delta state was about 40% submerged under water, but it could have been worse had the community not come together to erect sand bag walls to protect part of the city.”

CRS will support the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) to distribute urgent relief materials over the next three months and educate communities on the treatment of water and the promotion of good hygiene to stave off disease.

Read more here.

Inveterate Hugger Rescues Orphans in Nigeria

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Lane Hartill, CRS regional information officer for West Africa, submitted this report.

Nigeria orphan

Christiana Oga is the orphans and vulnerable children coordinator at the dioceses of Otukpo in Benue State Nigeria. Mathew Ojah, pictured here, is one of the children Mrs. Oga works with. Photo by Lane Hartill/CRS

Christiana Oga is a hugger. When you have 2,000 children, you have to be. They all call her Mama, and with that slow, swinging gate, and that bouncing laugh, you kind of want a hug too. She doles them out to anyone so don’t worry, she’ll give you one.

Mrs. Oga is the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Coordinator for the Diocese of Otukpo, one of the 26 diocese in Nigeria that CRS supports. But don’t use that name around her, or around the children she helps. She doesn’t like it. To her, they aren’t acronyms, they are children. “What can we do about this name?” she asks. “I always look at these children as my own.”

Called to Witness in Nigeria, Day Three

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

In April, the 2008 Called to Witness group will travel to Nigeria to see Catholic Relief Services responding to poverty and fostering peace. Check back in the weeks ahead for postings to our travelogue, telling the story of our journey and pilgrimage to Nigeria. If you are interested in learning more about Called to Witness visit the Called to Witness homepage.

Our third entry in the travelogue is written by Dennis Fisher, from Catholic Relief Services’ Northeast Regional Office.


The Sharing

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Packing up to leave Jos was somewhat of a sad day. We all developed many friendships in the few days there.

Nigerian Market Vendor

Amy Bly poses with a market vendor who delighted the Called to Witness group by trying to teach them how to carry food and wares on the head, a typical practice by many women in Nigeria.

We went to debrief with the department heads of the Justice Development & Peace/Caritas Commission (JDPC), the Diocesan Health Committee (DHC) and the Youth Chaplain, Father Alex. There was an exchange of experiences, suggestions and ideas between all, allowing us to further discover the commonality we share. Someone stated, “We have seen the risen Jesus in the people of Jos and they too have seen the risen Jesus in us.” I must mention that Ayo who was in the seminary for 7 years, stood up and thanked us. He stated he left the church, has three children whom are not baptized and now because of his experiences with us is returning to the church and will have his children baptized.

We were given beautiful gifts; the ladies were given purses and the men were given native shirts, both by a co-op for prison inmates, and Father Alex asked us to please pray for the inmates. We all posed for pictures, or “snaps” as they are called, hugged each other goodbye one last time, exchanged e-mail address, loaded up and left.

We hadn’t driven very far, perhaps only to the outskirts of town when we stopped at a roadside stand that sold all sorts of beautiful, fresh fruits and vegetables. The team from CRS in Abuja was going to purchase a few items for their families. The idea was to stay in the van. Of course none of us could, and out we piled to experience carrying fruits and vegetables on our heads. They were much heavier than we expected which gave us an appreciation for the hard work the ladies are doing.

Our nightly reflection was just as moving as the experiences of the day. We were interrupted too many times to count: The lights flickered off and on. Then the phone rang. We had to stop to get measured for the clothes we were having made. Finally, the maintenance man stopped by to fix the toilet. Life happens, yet, sometimes in the most surprising manner through the sharing of ideas, stories and acts of kindness! When we finally finished our nightly reflection, the thoughts of our dialogues reminded me of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Thought is the blossom, language is the bud and action is the fruit behind it.”