Rise Above the Tide of Insurgency: The testimony of Maria

A decade plus of protracted conflict in Northeast Nigeria has had an quantifiable atrocious impacts that has since resonated throughout the region, the country and the world at large. Albeit the conflict shows no sign of abetting, CHAD’s crises responses contributed to the plethora of positive to the people who have been affected by the armed conflict. While the testimonies remains countless, One of the survivors whose one of the beneficiaries of CHAD’s case management and Psychosocial support programme shares her story  of how she had been affected by the conflict and how her resilience was built under the psychosocial support programme of CHAD International.

“My Name is Maria, and I’m from Gwoza Local Government Area, Borno State. Boko-Haram Invaded my community and displaced everyone. I was 16 years then. We had very few Muslim in our village and constantly receive threats from neighboring villages till one Sunday afternoon when were in mission house near one mountain area in my village, we saw them coming from a distance and in a group with different types of guns, teargas and other sophisticated weapons. Before we knew it, our village was already surrounded. They started shooting randomly. Many people were killed mostly the worshippers who were still in the church, abducted ones are uncountable on that very day in my community including my Sister’s 3 children who were nowhere to be found till date.

I was able to escape, though luckily to me I hide inside a cave as they chased me from distance. Despite them shooting inside the cave, my life was spared by God. I spent 4 days inside the lonely cave full of darkness and without food. When I finally came out, I met my sister and other people inside a forest where they were taking refuge. Inside the forest, we only ate nuts and fruits; we drank water from stream that contained decomposed dead bodies.

During this time, most of our people were converted to Islam just to save their lives. We spent 4 weeks inside the forest before trekking to Mozogo in Cameroon where we met thousands of others who recently arrived just like us. The governor of the area visited us in the area and asked those who want to register as a citizen to do while those who want to go can still go back to Nigeria if they want. Few of us left Cameroon and trekked back to Nigeria where we finally saw ourselves at Mubbi in Adamawa state and form there we proceeded to Yola where we stayed temporally.

It was the period of election when governor Kashim sent a bus to come and convey Borno people living in Yola to back and cast their vote in Borno state. On our arrival, we were kept in Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) camp inside Maiduguri.  It was inside the camp that we came in contact with CHAD Int’l. They met us while we explained our conditions to them. They provided us with food, cooking utensils, and dignitary kits that contained many items. Honestly they became a family to us. They enrolled us into Psychosocial support (PSS) activities organized by CHAD Int’l. The activities were fun as it made me to forget my past experiences and suffering, I regained my normalcy. Their activities triggered me to become an aid worker just like them.

As month’s counts, in 2017 during Psychosocial Support (PSS) section with CHAD, a man called me out and told me that he knew me and my family that he recently saw my parents in Cameroon and they are still alive. I couldn’t hold the tears of my joy on that faithful evening. I quickly reported this development to the PSS facilitator who took me to CHAD office on the next day where my issue was discussed with the Executive Director of CHAD International. She gave me a huge amount of money as well referred me to CHAD Int’l Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) team who conducted tracing till my parents came back to Nigeria. On their arrival, they came with nothing not even a food item as they stayed with me inside the camp. After some days, CHAD’s staff came to visit me again and saw that thing were not normal, they invited me back to their office where they supported me and my parents with food items and non-food items. Within that week, the CHAD’s Director during her field visit to the camp came to our tent. She saw me and my parents, after answering some few questions from her, she asked me to see her in her office on the next day. Finally she gave me a job to enable me support myself and my family. That is the work am doing till date.

Honestly I don’t know where I will start to thank CHAD’s Director and her staff for not only helping me and my family but for other mighty work and lives they are saving on a daily basis. In them I saw through love in humanity”. mA#q@O