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An association of Nigeria Peace Corps alumni and other friends of Nigeria who support the interests of the Nigerian people.

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New Website Instructions

The new Friends of Nigeria website is intended to be easy to use and self-instructing.  But sometimes what is obvious to one person is completely opaque to another, so here are step-by-step instructions of how to use the new website.  The new site is far more than simply a website.  It is backed by a membership database, it enables community dialogues, it allows members to join or renew their memberships, it accepts payments, and it allows members to sign up for events.  No wonder it can be complicated at times!  So here are some instructions on how to get started.  Once you have grown accustomed to the website interface, you will discover many other things you can do with it.  Feel free to suggest improvements or complain about things that ought to work better. 

Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Visit the new website at www.friendsofnigeria.org.  Until you log in, you are visiting the site as any member of the public would visit the site (should they be interested).  Explore the site some, and be critical.  If there are any things you object to or any things you think could be made better, please use the Contact Us page to lodge complaints or make suggestions.  Alternatively you can email Greg Jones at Gregory.j@comcast.net if you can’t even find the Contact Us page.

  2. After you have had a chance to see the site as the public will see it, log into the site.  To log in, hit the blue Login button on the upper right of any page.  Use your email address as the userid and hit the Forgot Password link.  That will bring up the Reset Password page, and you can create a new password.

  3. Once you are logged in, you will see that members can see pages that the public cannot.  Specifically a FAQ page and a Members Only menu entry that points to a series of pages that include various directories and discussion forums.  In addition the Info menu entry now includes a Board Blog and a Members Only Forum.  As a member you can subscribe to any of these forums or blogs so that you will receive a notice when a new post is added to the blog or forum.  You can comment on the Board Blog or you can create your own topic on the Members Only Forum.

  4. In addition to looking at or responding to various pages, you can update the information Friends of Nigeria has about you.  Your name should appear in blue at the upper right of any page.  Click on it, and you should see View Profile, Change Password, and Log out links.  Hit the View Profile link, and you should see a page that contains your membership information.  Ignore the Member since field, as that is when you were added to the Wild Apricot database, not when you joined Friends of Nigeria.  Peter Hansen, our longtime treasurer and database administrator saved lots of information, but not the date when people joined FON.

    Scroll down, and you will see what we have for your address, phone numbers, email, etc.  If any of that is wrong or missing, scroll back to the top and hit the gray Edit profile button.  Then you should be able to enter the correct information.  After you have entered your corrections or additions (or even added a photo of yourself), scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the gray Save button.  Or if you decide that you don’t want to make those updates, hit the gray Cancel button.  In the future, when your address or phone number changes, you can enter the changes directly, instead of contacting Peter Hansen with the information.  That way you will never miss an email or mailing from FON.

    Should you decide that you would prefer that some of your information be kept private, hit the Privacy link on the top of the Edit Profile page.  For each field in the database you have the choice of letting anybody (the public) see it, restricting it to only members of Friends of Nigeria, or not allowing any access at all.  Your privacy settings start with the default privacy settings that the database designers chose, but you can override those choices.

    You can also control your email subscriptions.  You can choose to receive event announcements or not and email blasts or not.  You can also choose the speed with which you will be notified of any new posts to blogs or new entries in forums.  The choices are immediately, daily, or weekly.  Again, you are in control, and if you decide you don’t really want daily updates to a forum, you can change it to be more frequent (immediately) or less frequent (weekly).

  5. Wild Apricot has features specifically designed for membership organizations such as FON.  You can join Friends of Nigeria online, if you have never been a member before.  You can renew your membership online, you can sign up for an event, and you can donate.  All of these actions require payment, and you can make payments on the website, either through PayPal or using your credit card.  Should you prefer writing out a check, you can request that an invoice be sent to you as well.

    Specifically, check out your Renewal Date in your Profile.  It is right below the bogus Member Since field and just above the gray button that says Renew until [some date].  If that date is in the near future or [heaven forbid!] sometime in the past, do renew your membership.  Those couples who are both members of FON have Family memberships.  Family memberships are accomplished through a concept called a bundle.  A bundle consists of a bundle administrator and bundle members.  In our case we limited the bundle members to 1.  We had no idea which member of the couple to make the bundle administrator.  Generally, we chose the first name in the couple, as Peter Hansen had stored the names.  We may be guilty of sexism, but I believe the male of the couple is most often the administrator.  Feel free to let us know if we chose the wrong person to act as the administrator for the family.

    Should you choose to make a donation at the same time as you are renewing your membership, you can do so by filling in the Contribution field just below the email address on the Membership renewal page.  Any number you put in the Contribution field will be multiplied by $1.00 and added to your renewal fee.  If you want to specify to the FON Board how to spend your contribution, fill in the Contribution Designation field just below.  Once you are confident that your demographic information is correct and the renewal [+ contribution] is OK, hit the gray Update and next button, either at the middle right of the top page or at the bottom of the membership information pages.

    You will then be presented a Review and Confirm page, together with payment options.  There are an array of gray buttons across the bottom of the page.  Invoice me will generate an invoice so that you can pay by check.  Pay online will present an interface to PayPal or credit card payments.  This is a standard PayPal interface, and after your payment is complete, you can return to the Friends of Nigeria website.

  6. By this time, you will probably be able to navigate the Donate process on your own.  Under the Actions menu heading, select Donate.  Alternately on the Home page there is a Donate link on the white bar just below the top level menu bar.  On the Donate page, you fill in the amount you wish to donate and designate how it is to be used.  Should you wish to split your donation between different designations, use the Comments field to say how much of your donation goes to each designation.  Then you fill in the code that is intended to defeat robots, and you go onto the payment process.  This is the standard PayPal or Credit Card interface.

  7. This website is intended to be an interactive website.  Thus you have the opportunity to comment on newsletter stories, Nigeria News articles, or Board Blog posts.  Instead of waiting 3 months for your Letter to the Editor to appear in the next newsletter, you can respond immediately to any of the above.  You also can comment on the Member Only Forum.  What’s more, you can initiate your own topics on the Member Only Forum.  Effectively the Member Only Forum is the replacement for the FON Google Group.  Anybody can post, anybody who subscribes will see all posts, and anybody can comment on other people’s posts.  We urge you to respond to the information that is presented on the website and to add your own information or opinions in the Member Only Forum so that our website becomes an exciting place to visit.

    Should you come across an article you think would be appropriate for Nigeria News, please email it to fon.nigeria.news@gmail.com.  The Nigeria News editor will consider it, and if it meets publishing standards, it will be posted to the Nigeria News page on the website.

  8. The website is also a repository for historical information.  All the available newsletters, going back to May, 1966 are available under News -> Newsletter Archive.  There is even a newsletter dated 1987 that predates the current incarnation of Friends of Nigeria.  It is amazing what our group of ~2000 volunteers, staff, and friends have generated over the years.

    In the past the facsimiles of the presentations given at FON meetings have been stored on our wiki, WikiFON.  But the wiki technology required changing PowerPoint presentations to simple text and pictures.  Now the presentations can be shown in almost their full original format.  Some fancy PowerPoint formatting sends the system for a loop, but most presentations can be put on the website with minimal changes.  Thus those who were unable to attend the meeting can see the gist of what was presented.  See Info -> Berkeley Meeting.  Especially interesting (IMHO) is Dr. Michael Watts’ presentation.  See https://watrial11.wildapricot.org/Dr-Michael-Watts.  He actually only presented the first 40 slides of his 88 slide presentation, as he ran out of time, but the slides he did not present are just as interesting as the ones he did present.  The audio of his presentation is available there as well, and listening to him talk while you see the slides is almost as good as being in Berkeley for the meeting.

  9. Let’s say you want to get in touch with a fellow member of your training group you have lost touch with.  Go to Members Only -> Members and Friends Directory.  Simply enter their name in the Search box, and your colleague should appear.  If not, you can try an advanced search.  Advanced Search presents a number of fields that you can fill in values for and search on those values.  Unfortunately, none of them are related to what we did as Peace Corps Volunteers.  But the training group, Peace Corps Town, years of service, and Peace Corps job are all part of the information displayed in the Members and Friends Directory, so entering any one of those fields in the Simple Search box will get you a list of all those in the directory who match your value.  So if you are interested in people who worked in Yola, simply enter Yola.  If you are interested in members of Training Group 06, enter 06.  If you are interested in those who worked in Rural Development, enter rural dev, and you will get 14 candidates.  If your colleague does not appear in the Members and Friends directory, try the Lost or Deceased directories, using the same techniques.

    Once you have found the directory listing for your colleague, click on their name.  All the Profile information that they choose to make available to FON members will appear.  If you like, even if they have kept their email private, you can send them a message by clicking on the gray Send message box at the top of the Member profile details page.  If you find that your colleague is in the Lost directory and if you find them via some other means, please do inform them of our new website, and urge them to sign up.

  10. News -> FON News allows you to see the FON Newsletter as it is being built.  Articles are released as they are received and edited.  They are available for comments and corrections, and as a result the article published in the printed newsletter (and the electronic version that becomes available under News -> Newsletter Archive when the newsletter is released) may be different, ideally better.  Maybe an article sparks a recollection on your part.  Sharing your recollection may spark others to have similar recollections, and ideally the result of all that sharing is a more intimate sharing of the times and experiences that shaped all our lives so powerfully 50+ years ago.  Since your reaction to the articles can be immediate, instead of having to wait 3 months for the next printed version, you may catch others who had similar reactions.  By the time those 3 months have gone by, the people reading your letter to the editor may have completely forgotten the original article or their reactions to it.  After all, we are no longer as sharp as we were back in Nigeria.  We still have members who are not participants in the online world, so we will continue to publish a printed newsletter.  But it will evolve as it is gradually released online.  Your comments will drive that evolution, and some comments may be included with the published article.  Be part of the process!

    To add a comment to a newsletter article, simply scroll to the bottom of the article and hit the add comment link.  If you are not logged in, you will be required to do so, as only FON members can comment on newsletter articles.  You will then be presented with a page containing the article you are commenting on, your name, a box where you can enter your comment, and a code box for entering the code at the bottom of the page that is designed to defeat robots.  There is a limit to the size of a comment (25,000 characters), but it is so large as to be immaterial.  The real limit is that the comment is limited to plain text.  You cannot enter links, pictures, or video.  If you have any such material, contact the newsletter editors, and they will help you out.  What you have may be the material for a follow-on article.  Or they can add the material to the original article post.  Either way, don’t accept any limitations you may encounter at first.  The website team will find a way to communicate your material to other members of FON.

  11. By going to Actions -> Meeting Registration, you can sign up for the next FON meeting in Washington, September 22-25.  The details of any planned events are displayed on Upcoming Meetings page.  You can see who is already registered by clicking on the # registrants link to the middle left.  Click on the gray Register button just underneath that.  Click on the Show details link at the bottom of the event block to see how much is being charged for which activities at the event. 

If you got this far, you are pretty adept at navigating websites.  From here on, you are on your own.  If you have questions, please use the Contact Us page.  Please do react to anything you see on the site, and make our FON community more interactive!

How best to read the online Newsletter?   (from Barbara Lee Purcell): 

I just tried to read the FON newsletter online.  It's possible as long as I am very cautious about how and where I move the cursor.  If I get too close to the edges of the page, the screen automatically jumps down from Page 1 to Page 3.  If I want to move to the bottom of Page 2, the screen automatically jumps over to the top of Page 1.  Very frustrating.  I expected to be able to scroll around through the text at will.  If I can't get better at viewing the online version more easily, I may decide to return to the hard copy version even though I will miss the color in the online version. 

Answer by Greg Jones:

The newsletters posted online are actually .pdf files.  It is better to download the .pdf and read it using the Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you don't have Adobe Acrobat, you can download it for free.  When you are viewing the newsletter online, you can go to the side and a number of icons for actions should appear at the top of the page.  One of them is an arrow pointing down underlined, which is the download icon.  Click on that, and it should ask you where you want to save the newsletter.  At least that is the way my browser (Google Chrome) works.  Other browsers will have a different interface, but the same basic functionality.  You shouldn't have any problems scrolling and paging within the document if you read the newsletter in Adobe Acrobat.

How do I find older obituaries? (from Albert Woodhull):

The only obituaries I could find on the website are recent ones. Is there a place where older ones might be archived?

Specifically, I was looking to find the obit for [a friend]. He passed away a few years ago. Post Peace Corps he ended up living close by, and I was in sporadic contact with him. I thought of writing an obituary, but then I think I saw one written by someone else in the FON newsletter, but I can't find that issue.  Is there a way of searching old FON newsletters?

Answer by Peter Hansen:

A Google search with a site: operator will restrict the search to the named website.  Site:friendsofnigeria.org will restrict the search to our website.  Try [friend's name] site:friendsofnigeria.org, and you should get the result you want.  The friend's listing in the deceased members and friends directory should also appear, but the newsletter that contains the obituary should be obvious.  A specific example would be [szyndler site:friendsofnigeria.org], which returns 2 responses:

Deceased Members FON_logo.gif Deceased Nigeria PCVs ...


Deceased Nigeria PCVs and Staff. Please send any corrections or additions to Peter Hansen at: pjhansen@ia.net. Yrs of. Last Name, First Name, Other Name ...

[PDF]Fall 2010 - Friends of Nigeria


Szyndler. Walter died on July 10,. 2010, at his home in Washington,. DC, of complications from gallblad- der surgery. He was 70 years old. Walter was a member ...

The above search process is not 100% accurate.  Therefore, we plan to add a column to the Deceased Members and Friends directory to specify the edition of the FON Newsletter that contains the obituary.  Anybody interested in helping out in this project should contact Steve Clapp.

How do I control how I receive the FON Newsletter, print or electronic? (from Eric Strauss):

Answer by Greg Jones:

Click on your name in the upper right corner of the HOME page.  A white box with 3 links will drop down.  Click on the View profile link.  A page with your profile information will appear.  At the top is your membership information.  Below that your demographic information and below that FON or Peace Corps specific information.  Click on Edit profile.  Scroll down a page or so, and you will see Website Newsletter with Yes or No checkboxes to the right.  Check Yes to stop the printed newsletter from being sent to you.  Unfortunately, we made it a multiple-choice selection, so you have to uncheck the No checkbox as well.

While you are there, please check your address, email, phone numbers, etc.  You can maintain these fields directly and avoid having FON send information to an obsolete address.

We won't actually send you the newsletter by email.  We will send you an email saying the newsletter is available on the website and a link to it.  You get it by following the link or going to the website and clicking on Info - Newsletter Archive and selecting the Current Newsletter.

FON Website FAQs

Instead of generating hypothetical questions, we will rely on the Actual Users to let us know when they are stumped or when they find they are having trouble getting something done.  Describe what your problem is and try to phrase it as a FAQ question.  Then email it to Mike Goodkind or Dick Holmquist.  They will populate the FAQs below and ask you if their answer really solves your problem.  We will evolve to a good set of FAQs.  Thanks for your participation in this effort.

1. Some Actual User's question? Some expert's answer.

2 Another Actual User's question? Another expert's answer.

3. Etc.

Finally, if the above do not resolve your problem, please email Mike Goodkind or Dick Holmquist.  If you are so disgusted with this site that you need to really let us know what is on your mind, use the Contact Us form.

Friends of Nigeria is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. 
Email:  fonigeria@gmail.com President phone: 978-562-3613

Mailing address: Friends of Nigeria, c/o Warren Keller, PO Box 8032, Berkeley, CA 94707

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