This documentary gives an up close and personal look at one of the world’s greatest human and environmental tragedies. Please watch and help us tell the world.
The end of our journey has come and a surprising end it is!
Because of the documentary that we are making, I can’t say anything yet. You’ll just have to see it for yourself on 5th of October when the documentary is broadcasted.
The only thing I can say is that we can hopefully make a difference and gradually change the the future of Nigeria for the next generations.
Some last impressions of Nigeria. I’m gonna miss it.
While I was working my way trough another “lovely” greasy and slimy Ogbono-snail-soup, we discussed possible solutions for this huge, complex challenge to clean up the Niger Delta.
Everybody is pointing fingers at each other and nobody is taking responsibility. Off course changes must be made by all the stakeholders, the Nigerian government, Shell Nigeria and Shell Netherlands. Maybe a independent organization would help to overview this gigantic task, but in the end there must first be an worldwide understanding that change is needed.
By making people known with what is going on here, the pressure on the people in charge will increase. So spread the word!
Today I understood even more that change is needed here. I visited the local hospital of Bodo which is the only medical care for a community of 60.000 people. The video will show the circumstances.
As I was locked in my secured fort for most of the day (everything goes in Nigerian time here) with the commander, I didn’t see much of the oil effects today.
I did have a good discussion with the Chief of town, “Chief Saint Emma”, about the complexity of this problem. The people here who are living in the consequences of Shells actions; Shell (Nigeria) who claims that much of the problem is caused by local sabotage; Shell Netherlands where there are people who are willing to do something, but who are faced with big problems like corruption and local cooperation; the Nigerian government, which are the same people who work for Shell in Nigeria; environmental groups, international NGO’s and multinationals; and so on. It’s not so easy!
Talking to people is sometimes pretty confusing because there are so many different voices and arguments. That’s why it’s so hard to get a good view on the subject and that’s a big part of the problem. Still, we are looking for possible solutions and steps forward, because as they say here “You cannot give up hope”.
Later, I will let you know more about the possibilities we discussed that might improve the situation.
The ugly and the beauty of Nigeria.
Spending the night in Bodo with the in the guarded fort of the Head Military Office Ogoni… so a nice quiet, rural family as we aspected… The red cap was a present of the commander.
Some photo’s of the cultural show and church.
For a break, no oilspills or sickness, but a tradiotional Nigerian wedding! We danced in traditional clothes with the choir yesterday at the wedding and today again in church. Seeing a different, happy and celebrating side of Nigeria.
Tonight I am gonna sleep in Bogo, one of the small villages we visited before. I will try to give a live update!
As we have seen almost nobody in Goi, the deserted town, yesterday, I think all those 5000 people came to see us today. Many curious men, laughing and waving woman and dozens of shy children. All with their own stories. Stories of sickness, dead, food and health shortage, injuries, useless land. Stories of oil.
We were in a nearby village, where the oil pipes run underground and where bad maintenance causes many leakages. May 7th, this year, a big spill started and is still going on. This is only on of the many leakages, as we drove past a new leakage from last week. Shell was there too, to have a look. The guy Came, Saw and…left. Just like they did many times before.
I wandered how you could see the real effects of the oil pollution. This picture is the proof I found.
Besides the black ground, you could also see consequences for the people. A woman showed the burns she got in her neck last week from burning oil. She also told us about her husband and two sons who got sick and died because of contaminated water. It starts that you don’t want to eat anymore and a week later, you probably won’t be around anymore. That’s pretty tough to hear when she is telling this with tears in her eyes.
Luckily, most people are still hopeful and want to make a change. The chief of town, Bari Era, invited us to his home to have a (second) lunch with him and half of the village to celebrate the fact that we’re trying to make a change. Hmmm…..and what a treat it was… after struggling trough a full glass of sugar palm-wine, (which smells a lot like a sneaky egg fart from your fellow-passenger in the bus) there came the Ogboni Soup. This is a mixture of slimy periwinkle-snails, left-over shells and more slimy undefined fluid. See the video for instructions.
As we are here to make a documentary about the oil for the VARA, we are filming on many different locations for the best shots. Tomorrow we’re going literally IN the oil. Well, OK, in a boat, but it will still be impressive to see. I am curious to see what kind of weird moves our cameraman will do again to get the best shots!
The answer to yesterday’s question: yes, a lightbulb! We found out after cleaning some thick oil away.
Imagine a place where there are no cars, where everything is green, where the birds sing AND where it smells like you’re in the middle of a garage. You can? Then you might have an idea of where I have been today.
When I followed this smell of strong and penetrating eau de cologne, I came to the lake of Goi. This place turned out to be not so green and heavenly. The oil has contaminated the birth ground of about 5000 people, who involuntarily had to leave their community. The result is a ghost village. A black, sticky ghost village with something that should have been a lake, but now is nothing more than the filthy sink of Nigeria.
Of course, I expected oil. But I had never imagined that it would be this visible and tangible. The smell brings a nice head ace or, if you’re lucky, it gets you high. A hand or foot in the lake and it will literally drip down for hours and hours.
If you know what the object in the video is, write it down below. The revealing answer will come tomorrow. (I’m sorry the video is in Dutch, next will hopefully be in English.)
Todays meeting with the Big Bosses and Chiefs (who all, without exception, giggle like little girls).
We discussed the Big Plans for the coming days… Tomorrow were going to rural communities to see the damage that oil can create. I am curious to see the difference between this buzzing and crowded city and the rural mindset.
Bring it on!