Yesterday a brand-new father came up to me after church and vigorously pumped my hand saying, "Thank you SO much for that pregnancy bible you gave us! It helped us so much." He and his wife were married in June 2007 and gave birth to a baby boy in March 2008. This is absolutely the best thing that can happened to newlyweds in Nigeria.
They had visited us in our home in August 2007. Bayo, who is much more observant than I am, had noticed the new bride covertly spitting into a hankerchief while she sat in our livingroom. He later nudged me and asked me to give her my standard pregnancy book which I always try to have on hand. They were very grateful for the book. I didn't see them again until yesterday in church.
Back in 2000 when I was pregnant with Tobi, a fellow missionary named Dorothy Ardill gave me a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting. She said she usually picked some up at garage sales in the U.S. and brought them back to Nigeria for expectant moms. She didn't even want me to give it back to her; she said I should just pass it on to someone else when I was finished.
Dorothy's kindness to me has blessed many other people as I took up the challenge and began scouring garage sales, used book stores, and my friends' bookshelves when I was back in the U.S. To date, I'm sure I've given away over 50 copies. I never ask for the books to be returned. I want the books to get out into the community and to be used and re-used for years to come. Numerous friends in the U.S. have helped me collect pregnancy books over the years. I just checked my stock--I'm down to only 3!
I'm happy to give out any type of pregnancy book I get, although I prefer the What to Expect books because of their simple month-by-month format as well as their question-answer format. In general, these books are not readily available in Jos. The average Nigerian woman does not have a book to refer to during pregnancy. They are always thrilled when I give them the book. So many have commented that it helped put their fears to rest, and they didn't have to run to the doctor for every little symptom.
For a number of years I have given out diaper bags (from the U.S.) as part of a new baby gift. A young mom in my parents' church in Minnesota really took this on as a ministry of her own: Allison started collecting diaper bags and sending them to Nigeria. I've probably given out over 50 of these as well. New moms love to have an attractive diaper bag. Diaper bags are available for sale here, but they are quite costly as they are usually imported. I have often bought diaper bags for 99 cents at the Goodwill near my parents' home. It appears that many of them come from formula companies and are probably even given away free in the hospital.