Three local buses were hired and gingerly pulled into Fantsuam Close and, once loaded, these vehicles picked their way reluctantly across the potholed dirt roads of Bayan Loco towards nearby town Ungwa Rimi where we turned off the tar once again towards the site of Attachab, the Eco Farm. For many passengers – this was their first visit to the much talked-about EcoFarm, a model of which takes pride of place on the porch of the Main House in Bayan Loco.
Amongst them Kayode from the VSO programme office who was visiting from Abuja that day. With five VSO volunteers currently working with Fantsuam, the Foundation is one of VSO’s foremost partners in Nigeria and it was with great pride that not only John, but all of the VSO volunteers were able to demonstrate the vision in real life.
We all gathered next to one of the only buildings on the site, constructed from distinctive solid laterite blocks made by Fantsuam volunteers and local labourers on the Attachab site. John Dada assembled the gathering. He explained how the vision of Attachab had been realised from the combined efforts of all Fantsuam staff and volunteers, past and present, who had taken Fantsuam from its modest origins in Bayan Loco to where it is today, with its grand plans for the future. Although this was a journey of 1,000 steps it was clear that the first steps had been taken. It was just a few more steps in the same direction that the organisation had been taking from its foundation in 1996, that would enable Fantsuam to reach the dream.
Our progress took us to the next projects – the ecodome and the straw brick maker - the latter currently being trialled to use the huge quantities of tall grasses that populate any uncultivated areas and are simply discarded each year. Where economic resources are as scarce as they are in this part, it is crucial to make use of any and all of the natural resources whether they be grasses, water or the abundance of fruits that, once the season is over, are simply left to rot on the ground. Projects for dried mango chips are also on the cards, but once again, for another day.