I'm sorry for my absence. I know people are wondering about the status of things here. The actual fighting/riots lasted from Sunday, January 17 through Wed, January 20. Are things settled? On the surface, but not really. We have a heavy military presence with numerous checkpoints. We now have a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew which probably won't be relaxed for at least a month.
We were not directly affected, but now I'm starting to notice the residual effects. I feel iritable. I can't focus on projects that require thinking (like blogging). I need more space when the kids have their petty arguments, etc. While chatting with friends today, they all shared similar stories.
Many people in Jos were so horribly affected during the riots. The death toll varies according to which account you read. Over 500 people lost their lives. Approximately 20,000-25,000 people have been displaced because their homes were burnt.
When the 24 hour curfew went into effect, one of our houseworkers was with us at the time so she stayed with us for the duration. She later heard that her family home was completely burned; nothing was left. Her family got out in time and took refuge in the police barracks for five days.
Two of the ministry staff members had their homes torched. One of them lost her home in the 2008 crisis. They rebuilt in the same place (some of the blockwork was still standing) and moved back in the middle of 2009. Now the house is demolished once again. How was it possible that she was smiling on Monday?
One of our HIV+ women lives at the epicenter of where the riots started. Her home was burned in 2008. And you guessed it--it was burned again in 2010. She came for Bible study on Monday. She was smiling.
How can these people smile? And I don't mean a forced smile, I mean a radiant smile. Part of it is, they are just so grateful to be alive and to still be with their family members. Another part of it is: they're survivors. They rise above the problems around them. And still another part is their faith which sustains them.
There were some atrocities which are so terrible that I don't want to mention them here. If you do a Google search, you can find more than enough.
So, I'm dealing with a little residual stress from the whole experience. Let's put it in perspective: So what? We experienced absolutely nothing compared with many people. I, too, am resilient, and I will be a survivor like my Nigerian brothers and sisters.