If you have been following our blog posts so far you know that we have been gathering stories from those affected by the rarely reported terror attacks in Nigeria’s northern states by the Boko Haram (just think ‘book harm’ – the name in their Hausa language means ‘Western education is forbidden’) and another group, the Fulani herdsmen.
The stories we are posting are, and will be, unedited. We have been told to change the names of those who have submitted their experiences for security reasons, hence this man's new name, 'Daniel'. I greatly admire anyone who can speak another language; writing in one? Awe-inspiring. This next story from a father of 8 is difficult to read. These are his words, retaining his punctuation and grammar, just as they came to us:
“My name is 'Daniel', am 42 years old, and I have 8 children I was a farmer before the attack in my community. I farm to feed my family members and I was able to take care of my immediate needs and that of my children, we were all living happily and was contented with what we had before the attack by the Islamic sect. My daughter was sick and died of starvation because we ran to the mountain that was close to where we live for safety there was no food and water on the mountain we saw a lot of children died during that time we could not help them, there was nothing we could do to help. I lost my brother and grandmother they were killed on that day of the attack my grandmother was burnt alive in the house they set fire on the house she was hiding she couldn’t run to the mountains for safety.
Am now back in my community with my family we can’t farm on our land that is far from our settlement because we are afraid of the Fulani herdsmen. Everything has change we have lost a lot of people living close to us, church members, friends and family the memory is still with us, some are soo [sic] traumatized by the shock of the attack they have lost their minds and are not stable. I pray God will bring healing to our land and restore all we have lost.”
These horrifying events cannot be justified no matter one’s opinion of Nigeria, politics, foreign aid, Christianity or Islam. That is obvious – no need to explain; furthermore, their plight is not so different from many others in the world. In all honesty what can anyone do? Not a whole lot. Corruption, political wrangling, bureaucratic finger pointing, stolen aid and volatile security have caused many philanthropic organizations to avoid Nigeria altogether.
But we have figured out how to do a little. We are among a very few organizations in this heart-and gut- wrenching series of stories that have been able to deliver food (starvation is a huge problem among those displaced), medical equipment (many have lost limbs at the hands of the terrorists, leaving them disabled) and clothing (remember that many had to flee in their pajamas in the middle of the night to escape), and we continue to do so with the resources you continue to give us. None of us are paid so all of it goes to them. Here are some photos – proof of aid from V4N reaching their intended recipients, in this case distribution of food in April of 2018 – that remind us why we do this: