The Refugee Journey
This series will take you on the journey of a refugee – from the decision to leave, the journey to safety, arriving at camp, and starting life over again. Everyone’s story is different and this journey is told from the perspective of 5 different families, all now living in Minawao camp Cameroon.
Part One: Leaving Home
Imagine what it would be like to flee your home. Taking with you only what you can carry. How long would you take to pack? What items would you bring? How would you explain this to your children? If your children are small, would you have to carry them? How much can you really take with you?
Every refugee story begins with leaving home.
Since 2009, Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency in Northern Nigeria, and their violence has spread to Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. They have burnt down villages, violently recruited men and boys, killed thousands, and are still operating today.
Lidiya, a 30-year-old mother of three, was living with her husband near the Nigeria-Cameroon border. They were farmers. Life was not easy and they struggled every day to feed and take care of their children. But they were happy. Living together as a family, they were happy.
Then one day Boko Haram attacked their village and their home. All they could do at the time was hide. For several days they remained hidden, until one day they were found. And Boko Haram took Lidiya’s husband. The attackers left and Lidiya escaped with her children. This is when she knew she would have to leave.
Separated from her husband, her children’s father, Lidiya knew with Boko Haram in her village that she had to leave. They had taken her village and her home, her livelihood, and most importantly, her husband.
We miss him a lot.
Lidiya and the children managed to flee the village and begin their journey to safety, but she has never seen her husband again since that day.