Imagine the thrillSenongo Akpemfelt when he and his family discovered a trove of slide film taken by their mother, Emily, during her work as a missionary and nurse in Nigeria during the 1960s and ’70s.
“I had no idea most of this stuff was there,” Akpem said about the images. “We knew this stuff was around, but I had no idea of the depth of it.”
A family friend in Nigeria collected the film and had it developed in the United States. Since then, Akpem has started to edit the film, scanning images and uploading them to a website he started calledLost Nigeria.
The images tell the story of his mother’s journey to Nigeria in the early 1960s, when she left her home in California to work as a missionary nurse at the Benue Leprosy Settlement. While there, she fell in love with a Nigerian reverend doctor and had three children—two daughters and a son, Senongo, the youngest born in 1979. The family moved back to the United States soon thereafter and lived between Michigan, California and Nigeria over the next decade.