Ann Laemmlen and Mary Ellen Edmunds in Nigeria: Our report to headquarters 27 October 1984

2017-05-18_221335From 1984-1987 I lived in Eket, Nigeria.  Mary Ellen Edmunds and I were sent to direct a child health project for the Thrasher Research Fund in Salt Lake City.  I recently found this report we sent to headquarters not long after we first arrived there.

We lived in The Palace, mostly without electricity or running water.  We helped build our furniture and we killed lots of cockroaches.  It was a grand adventure!  This letter gives a fun taste of establishing ourselves in an African village.2Nig174

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 1

The Palace:Nig077

The generator house:2Nig114

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 2


The local markets:Nig041Nig038Nig039

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 32Nig177

Collected rain water::Nig084

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 42Nig104

Furnishing The PalaceNig0652Nig1072Nig1342Nig105

Film canisters filled with spices, and a few things we brought from home:2Nig095

We had to filter, boil and chlorinate our water and soak all of our local fruit and produce in a chlorine solution.

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 5

2Nig119  Cockroach has wings

Dedication of the chapel in Aba.  This was the first building built to be an LDS Church in the whole Cross River State area.  Now there is a temple there.2Nig2902Nig325.jpg17097945_10210905722353402_2298671528927089642_o.jpg2Nig458

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 6Killing bugs:


Eket Branch meeting in Samuel and Cecilia’s home:Nig0961984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 7Baptisms:2Nig304

On this day, more than 60 people were baptized.  You can see the 3 baptismal sites below:2Nig310Some of the men were confirmed, and received the Priesthood so they could baptize their family members.2Nig3132Nig321

Dinner with the Tretheways and Madsens:2Nig253

1984-10-27 Eket to SLC Letter 8Cecilia working in the garden planting waterleaf:Nig025

Our front yard with my pineapple crop:2Nig361Grass grew non-stop in my pineapple garden:Nig078Chief’s wife, Ama Imeh helping in our garden:Nig079Wandering Bob “mowing the lawn”Nig080Our garden, before and after–ground nuts, waterleaf, potatoes, beans:2Nig092

2Nig179   2Nig1362Nig096Nig0812Nig097  2Nig140

What our rice looks like before cleaning it.  Yes, those are bugs.  Yes we ate it all.2Nig151

This sweet child is Doraty.  She was 9 years old and weighed 23 lbs.  We called her “broomstick” because her arms and legs were no larger.  Her little belly was filled with roundworms living on whatever little food she received.  2Nig166

Here is Doraty’s family, the Bassey Udoeyos.  They were our dear friends and neighbors. Sister Helen, the mom had 9 children.  They lived on what they could produce.2Nig1702Nig465

We gave the children worm medicine to kill the worms in their bellies.  Here is Esther, Doraty’s sister with the worms she passed the next morning:2Nig330

Helen named her 9th child after me:  Ann Bassey Davies Udoeyo:2Nig2672Nig4612Nig417

Samuel and Cecilia and their family, our neighbors, mentors and dear friends:2Nig2282Nig2352Nig462

Eket Branch members at our new meeting place:2Nig2992Nig4312Nig467

I served as the Relief Society President in this dear Branch.2Nig2872Nig2812Nig456

Fetching water–the children bathe, wash laundry and gather drinking water all in the same place.  No wonder the children are so often weak and sick.Nig0582Nig1912Nig199

We taught and trained 100s of men and women to be Village Health Workers during the next 3 years, working in more than 25 villages.  Here are a few of these good friends.  I hope their lives were better because we were there.2Nig3372Nig3402Nig3492Nig3482Nig377Branch members participated too:2Nig3442Nig3452Nig3472Nig167

A big part of my heart will always be here, in Eket with these dear friends and with Mary Ellen, who taught me to love more than I’d ever loved before.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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9 Responses to Ann Laemmlen and Mary Ellen Edmunds in Nigeria: Our report to headquarters 27 October 1984

  1. chmjr2 says:

    Well done.

  2. NR Hemsley says:

    What a good report!! Brings good memories of those days and also tears. How I love you two. I wish we could have a little reunion.

  3. edmunds03 says:

    I just finished going down “Memory Lane” (aka “Eket tar road) . . . . I can’t even believe the feelings this has brought into my heart and soul. Such GRATITUDE for YOU, and so many unforgettable memories . . . . Oh how I love you, and how THANKFUL I am for you. Without you, I’d never have left Nigeria alive. And I’d have left a lot sooner. But you carried much more than your share of the load. Oh Ann — in some ways I shudder to think of having asked you to go with me . . . but the stronger feeling is how GRATEFUL I am that you were willing . . . . Thanks for gathering these pictures and all this material. I really mean it when I say that I don’t know how to thank you adequately. (Maybe one day I’ll figure out how) I have a question: Will you be at the mission home in Yakima on Friday afternoon, 23 June? I’m going to Seattle with a friend to have a brain aneurysm checked (well, not the aneurysm, but the surgery which was done to correct it several years ago). We’ll be heading through Yakima on our way back to Utah, and I thought if you’d be there we could drop in (unfortunately, only for a few minutes). When I think about the face that you are close to 2/3 through your call, I can hardly believe it … I’m saying that because someday you’ll be back in Orem, and I’ll “get in line” for a chance to talk to you (mostly to LISTEN). I love you SO much. Always. Forever. Melon


    *“I always prefer to believe the best of everybody – it saves so much trouble!” * (Rudyard Kipling)

    *MEE’s BLOG:*

  4. Andrea Beard says:

    Ann I LOVE all these sweet pictures. What
    A life altering period in your life. I
    Can almost feel your love through those
    Pictures. Thanks for being such a great
    Humanitarian. Hope all is well in WA.
    Love Andrea Beard

  5. Julie Treadwell says:

    Humbled to the core….again…….by them, their lives, the hardships, by YOU, by Mary Ellen and all who are willing to do such as you have done, do do ( 😃 ), and continue to do.

  6. Celeste says:

    I love, love, love seeing you as a younger missionary. Some of these hoots made me want to paint them they are so beautiful. What beautiful reports and profess since. Bless you dear friend.

  7. Pingback: A Special Visitor–Mary Ellen Edmunds! | Our Washington Yakima Mission

  8. Pingback: A Special Visitor–Mary Ellen Edmunds! | Ann's Words

  9. bluewater says:

    We just discovered this post in August 2019. It was so wonderful to see pictures and read about these experiences that we have heard in many talks and CD’s we’ve heard Mary Ellen give for over 30 years, And to see pictures of you Ann, who she always spoke of with such warmth and affection.Thank you so much for this post..

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