Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Today was the 3rd day of calm. However, we are still very alert and watchful. The kids and I have not left the compound for 6 days now. That doesn't bother me at all at this point. I have plenty of things to do in the house.

I heard that people fled to 13 areas within Jos which have become refugee camps. An estimated 30,000 people are at those camps. This is mind-boggling to me. The places they ran to do not have bags of rice, toilets, running water, blankets, etc. No one was expecting them. I have not heard how they are faring, but I can only imagine it's pretty rough.

There is a group of organizations in place to handle relief measures. They appear to be well-organized.

If a refugee could at least make it to a friend's home, he had a greater chance of eating something. Even if the supply were meager, it would certainly be shared.

Among our neighbors, we shared what little resources we had. After Bayo came in from Abuja, I sent Tobi around the compound to share some supplies with our neighbors. When he came back from one house, they had filled our basket with food. Tobi was glowing when he came inside: "Look what they gave us, Mom. It's like trick-or-treat!" This from a kid who has never been trick-or-treating in his life. (They don't know about that tradition over here, and I'm not about to start it!)

I can't stress enough that the little bit of mental stress we have gone through is nothing compared to what thousands of Nigerians have experienced.

Our accountant fled her burning home with her cell phone and the clothes on her back. She told Bayo: "Everything I've worked for is gone."

So far, we know of four of our women in the sewing program whose homes were torched.

One of our HIV+ widows is trying to raise four children by herself, and now her house and belongings are gone. Think of the hardships she has gone through: HIV diagnosis, widowhood, and now total destruction of all personal property. How do you pick yourself up after that?

For the most part, I have found the Nigerian population to be very resilient when faced with near impossible obstacles. Nigerians are also extremely generous. I have learned so much from watching how easily they give to one another. Many, many people will give sacrifically during this time.

Last week I read a short book called Escape from the Storm by Ivan Gorelkin about his family's incredible flight from Russia in 1984. The author included a quote from Aleksander Solzhenitsyn which has a lot to say about keeping things in proper perspective:

You hear strange and insignificant conversations: about...some
mother-in-law who, for some reason, does not get along with her
daughter-in-law; how neighbours in communal apartments...don't wipe their
feet; and how someone is in someone else's way at the office...

What about the main thing in life, all its riddles...?

...It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger
don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if
both arms can bend, if both eyes see and if both ears hear, then whom should you
envy? And why?

1 comment:

Ivy said...

Thank you for helping to put things in perspective, especially with that last quote. May you be carried by our mighty Lord today.