Programs and Events
U.S. Consulate Volunteers Build Clinic on Tomaro Island (March 19, 2012)
Kris Arvind, Lagos | March 19, 2012
A newly erected clinic on Tomaro Island, just minutes by boat from U.S. Consulate General Lagos, will provide basic medical care to the island’s 30,000 residents, many of whom have not seen a healthcare professional for over three years, other than the occasional trips by caregivers organized by Consulate General Lagos or by visiting U.S. Navy ships.
When an impromptu medical camp to the impoverished island community 19 months ago exposed the need for improved medical care, the Consulate community leaped into action, culminating in the building of a medical clinic that will improve the lives of the impoverished island inhabitants.
With full support from Regional Medical Officer, Dr. Jan Flattum-Riemers, and encouragement from the Consulate and Embassy front offices, Foreign Service Officer and project coordinator, Kris Arvind, along with then Community Liaison Officer, Prasanna Arvind, and Office Management Specialist, Linda Goodman secured a $3,500 grant from the J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust.
Knowing that community involvement would be key to making this project a success, Consul General, Joseph Stafford met with the island’s Chief, who promised cooperation and allocated a patch of land for the clinic site.
A core group of volunteers including, Prasanna Arvind, Martin Thomen, Pete Suhey, John Borley, AnnaMarie Capuano, Delfine Maralusha, and Kris Arvind then spent multiple holidays and weekends braving the scorching African sun to dig the foundation, construct concrete blocks, raise the walls, complete the roof, and paint the completed structure.
The resident Overseas Building Office team in Consulate General-Lagos, including key volunteer, Smart Ajayi, assisted with the design of the building, buying materials at cost from local suppliers, and supported the construction project. The Management and General Services sections of the Consulate provided logistical support, including boat transport, while the Regional Security Office ensured site and personnel security. When funding ran low, additional donations poured in from enthusiastic employees of the Consulate, ensuring project completion.
Throughout this initiative, the focus remained on involving the community in every aspect of the project by having island residents work alongside Consulate volunteers on the construction project.
Volunteers who pitched in to assist with final construction included David Berger, Gunnery Sergeant Michael Rheault, Sergeant Anthony Dutton, Kirk Donahoe, Daniels Osaeloka, Inegbenose Egbeahie, Adrian Lanspeary, and Captain Shawn Duane.
Many other volunteers and donors from the Consulate, Embassy and U.S. Military participated in this remarkable effort. Upon project completion, Ambassador Terence McCulley, in an email to the Consulate community, stated: "I was heartened by the engagement of our Lagos team, and could not be prouder of the results you have achieved. Thanks to all for a job well done."