29 August 2017
By Ann Schulte, SHCJ
The Hall of the Federal College of Education, Lagos, was full as we entered, and with help, managed to get some chairs to sit on in the very back row. The two of us, Srs. Ebele Onochie, and myself, Ann Schulte, had come to support Sr. (Dr) Chika Eze, as the programme named her, as being one of the “Lead Paper Presenters” at the Conference of the Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria 2017.
We met the tail end of the paper by the Key Speaker, Dr. Ian Martin, from the University of San Diego, USA. At that point, he was speaking about a comparative survey that was being done by 16 countries, and urging that some counsellors in Nigeria might join this survey. We noticed Sr. Chika Eze sitting at the high table on the stage, as the lead speaker for this first day, 22nd August, 2017.
Next on the Programme was the Awards Ceremony, and when Sr. Chika’s name was read out, they asked that all Catholics present should go up in solidarity, so Srs. Ebele and Ann went up. Sr. Chika welcomed us as Sisters of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and introduced us as her Sisters supporting her! On Sr. Chika’s plaque were the words: “In appreciation as a Lead Paper Presenter at the 2017 International Conference of Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria.”
After a prolonged lunch break and the giving out of a snack to everyone, during which we took some photos, Sr. Chika was called to present her paper, which was concerned with, as the Programme put it, “ Counsellor Relationship with the other staff.”
By now Sr. Sylvia Enendu, SHCJ and Sr. Gladys Odigwe, FSP a Pauline Sister, who was a student of Sr. Chika’s in Nairobi, had joined us in the back row!
Sr. Chika gave a very interesting and informative paper, using many practical examples of situations in school, that the counselors can meet in relation to their students, the Administration, other teachers, and parents, talking from experience on how to deal with such situations. Many wanted to ask her questions afterwards, bringing up their own problems, but time could only allow for a few to be answered, which were very well responded to by Sr. Chika.