When Baraka K. went to sell porridge at the market she could never imagine how transmuting that Monday morning was going to be. She was only 11 years old, the fourth in a family of 8 children, and bubbly with hope in her Nigerian border village of Damasak.
Then suddenly hell broke loose, “I heard the sound of guns and everyone was shouting and running. I run home. I, mum and some of my siblings hurried towards the river and to swim to safety in Niger,” she recalls. But that was not to be. They found men from the militant group with guns waiting at the river banks. “They told us not to go to Niger, but to go back to the village. They took us to a very big house. Children and everyone in that house was crying. I cried too.”
The captives were told not to think of escaping, for anyone who tried to do so would be shot dead. After one day the fighters were tired and they went off to sleep. “Mum, I and some of my sisters took a chance to run away, swim across the river to Gagamari. Dad and my brother stayed behind, but thankfully they too escaped and joined us two months later” the girl who is now 13 recounts.
She says life in Gagamari was full of suffering. People were crowded and there was not enough to eat, let alone living with the constant fear of possible attack. As a family, they found a truck driver, paid him some money and he ferried them to a camp they had heard was taking in refugees. “Here is better. Our village in Damasak is a good place but still those men can come back. This place is safer,” she explains flanked by her mum, a brother and sisters.
Like most children that World Vision works with at the camp, she says Niger is much hotter than where they came from. Playing makes her happy. “The games here are quite different from the kind I used to play with my sisters back home, but I love them and I am always happy to go the child friendly space”
You have the power to help children like Baraka in Diffa Niger, by supporting our emergency response efforts in the Lake Chad Basin region. http://wvi.org/lake-chad-response