Fairly long post – but please read to the end. 🙏🏾Thank you!
Lessons in Courage & Perseverance from Nyihemba, Benue Relief Visit
by Ier Jonathan-Ichaver
Wednesday, 03 May 2023 saw us leaving Makurdi early morning to visit IDPs in Nyihemba, Kwande LGA – a community near the beautiful Nigerian-Camerounian border mountains. Yet more of our beautiful people displaced by terrorist herders during the elections in February. Sigh. I was reluctant to make this trip this time. I am tired of the never-ending relief trips and the distress at seeing our people so afflicted – from state to state. When will all this stop? I dragged myself out of bed, joined an online prayer meeting where we prayed (yet again) for our government to do better and for the attacks to cease. I got ready and headed to our take-off point.
✅Thanks to Grooming Centre, we had relief materials for over 300 displaced persons.
✅Thanks to our pioneer Benue Programmes Manager from 13 years ago, Ahemen, and her company, 2T Markets, they had been procured, packaged and were ready for distribution.
✅Thanks to our friends at the Foundation for Justice, Development & Peace (FJDP) we had a truck and a driver to get us there with the items – a Hilux that could navigate the bad stretch of road between Gatie (near Prof Iyorchia Ayu’s village) and Ugbema – a road which has been up for rehabilitation by Rock Bridge construction under an N11.8billion rehabilitation contract awarded since 2019. It is 2 years behind schedule and work has been excruciatingly slow…but that is a story for another day.
✅Thanks to donors and friends like you who have donated to keep us going.
So with FJDP’s trusty truck, we got to Nyihemba after almost 4 hours on the road (Yes, Benue is a vast land) and met a crowd of women patiently waiting for us at the clan head’s house – he had graciously allowed them to wait there and also to discourage some mischievous youth from disrupting the distribution. I was with Ahemen, who had accompanied me on our first ever relief visit to Kwande LGA in 2010. 13 years ago. 13 years and we are still at it. Lord. When?
Once I got down from the truck and started talking to the women, I felt humbled and ashamed of myself. To be coming from my privileged space – for a few hours – and to meet these amazing women and their children living daily as displaced people with such quiet dignity and determination to survive and thrive. It was humbling and a privilege to see their resilient, fighting spirit. To see their faith. Their never- say-die spirit. Their courage to keep trying to provide for their families.
We spoke and reminded ourselves and them that they are not forgotten and that God has His eye on each of them. And that one day, all this madness will stop and the perpetrators and their sponsors brought to justice. But first, we must survive the attacks. They even applauded our words and kept thanking us for coming. I wanted to applaud and thank them. Their beauty and strength in the face of so much suffering made my heart ache but I was also strengthened. And encouraged by their courage and strong faith. And left having learnt to be courageous yet again. And persistent. And this is the lesson I wanted to share.
We can never let our hands grow weary. No matter how long it takes, we will defeat these terrorists and get in governments who truly care. We will keep working. Please let us not give up. It is always darkest before dawn. So I am here yet again praying that God will keep all our communities safe and raise up responsible governments all across our continent. And I am here again asking for your support for more outreaches like these – please donate to Sesor GTB 0170089727.
You could also consider signing up to give regularly to our work via https://paystack.com/pay/sesorangel – we are starting at N5,000 per month but you can give even more regularly by contacting our office on 0808 331 1198. Thank you for always repairing with us 🌹🌹🌹
05.05.2023, Makurdi, Benue State
Ms. Jonathan-Ichaver is Founder of Sesor Empowerment Foundation which has delivered relief to over 100,000 displaced persons across 12 states in Nigeria. She is also initiator of the ’48@48 Initiative by Friends of Ier Ichaver’ which is delivering 48 social impact initiatives across Kwande & Ushongo local government areas. She can be reached at email@example.com