In July, a group of missionaries from Jos, along with visitors and medical interns from the United States went on a four-day trip to the Northern Nigeria city of Kano. The purpose of the trip was to encourage the local believers and SIM missionaries, to visit many of the historical and cultural sites throughout the city, to see what opportunities might be available for ministry, and to assist the local church for a medical outreach in a remote village.
Kano is a prominent city in Northern Nigeria and it is also 97% Islamic. Many of the missionaries remarked how different Kano is from Jos in so many ways: availability of Western items in the grocery stores, traditional Northern Nigerian clothing, paved roads and traffic signals… and the strong felt-presence of Islam. We had the opportunity to attend an outdoor church service with a congregation of over 1,000 people and marveled at their perseverance and faith despite the church building being burnt down twice.
To learn more about Kano’s rich culture, the group spent a full day visiting the Emir’s palace and stables, the indigo dye pits that produce the famous deep blue tie-dye fabrics, the Kormi market that is several hundred years old, a huge cloth market, and a leather tannery. We also hiked up to the top of Dala Hill to see the entire city of over 5 million people sprawled out as far as the eye can see. At the top of the hill, one of the short-term missionaries commented that there were more mosques and minarets than he could count!
For many, the medical outreach was a highlight of the trip. The outreach was a wonderful opportunity to work alongside Christians from Kano and provided the medical interns a chance to learn basic tropical medicine and how to provide care with limited resources and medications. Praise God that over 500 people received medical care, medications, and counseling during this one-day event.