Well, in case you haven't heard it yet, our fair city of Jos has been embroiled in violence since Sunday afternoon. At first we thought it was an isolated incident that would blow over, but rather, the situation continued to escalate. It got so bad that a citywide 24-hour curfew was announced about 9 a.m. today. That's serious.
I won't go into the background of the violence on this blog, but if you Google "Jos Nigeria violence 2010," you'll find plenty of reading material.
This is the third time our family has had an experience like this (2001, 2008, 2010). So how do we handle it?
Watching videos in our house is generally a once a week occurence, but on riot days, my default mode is movies for the kids. After David and Lily had watched their fourth movie, I told them to go run around outside for awhile. When Bayo saw them outside he said, "Go back in the house and watch another movie!"
With puzzled looks, they said, "OK, Dad."
Aren't there other things to do in the house besides watching movies? Well yes, but the movies tend to drown out the gunshots, which is what I want.
Tobi spent the whole day playing computer games with the other compound boys.
Bayo has all kinds of on-line assignments to get done, but he's had a hard time focussing with all the extra-curricular activity going on.
I feel like I should somehow be productive on these riot days. Generally, I find that I can't really do mental tasks on days like this. My main focus is to be creative in the kitchen. With a 24 hour curfew that means I can't buy anything. Whatever I'm going to feed my family has to come from whatever I can find in the house right now. By the way, I'm cooking for 5 extra people now besides my own family.
What do I have on hand:
4 lbs. of meat
canned pizza sauce (homemade)
I have a few bits and pieces of other things, but nothing substantial. Just knowing that I can bake bread for about 3 weeks straight brings me solace. Also, we have an orange tree which will help take care of our need for fruit. I figure I can feed my household for about 10-14 days. They wouldn't be thrilled with all of it, but it would be edible. How does meat and oatmeal sound?
Anyway, we believe this curfew will be lifted within the next day or two, and then we will be able to buy more supplies. I do enjoy the challenge of making the most of every single item in my kitchen and providing balanced meals for my household at the same time.
However, while I look at this as a creative challenge, I know there are thousands of people who were caught unaware today with just a few meager provisions in their homes. Many people buy their food provisions daily. Many people (laborers, taxi drivers) work for a daily wage. If you don't work, you don't eat. People who earn a salary are paid between the 25th-30th of the month. That means both money and food supplies are very low for many people right now.
Then there are those people who fled their homes today to take refuge in public places. Will there be food and water for them there? Generally not.
Bayo says hunger will force this violence to come to an end soon.
Meanwhile, we hope, pray and wait.