A harsh guerrilla group has been terrorizing some areas of Nigeria for some time now. The States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are those most affected by the attacks and for more than a year have been living in a state of emergency. A trip to the borders of the world to share the sufferings of the refugees.
According to the United nations, there are 700 thousand people who are forced to leave their homes due to the violence in the northeastern states of Nigeria. Precisely during the days of the massacre in Paris, Nigeria was again in the news, with the criminal escalations in the State of Borno due to the actions of the extremist group of Boko Haram. They even spoke of kamikaze children who were made to explode in two markets of the Country. The population is defenseless, while contradicting politcal analyses are given and very few reveal the heavy economic interests linked to the exploitation of the petroleum resources of the country. There is great expectations for the presidential elections in February.
In Nigeria the Focolare Movement is present with two centers, one in Onitsha (in the south of the Country) and one in Abuja, the capital: «After the first trip that we made to meet the people who were displaced by the internal warfare, we realized what the true situation is: the misery, diseases, hunger, lack of clothing, lack of shelter but especially the children with no hope for a future», George and Ruth, the persons responsible for the Movement in that African nation wrote to us. And so they organized a second trip, during the Christmas season inviting their friends, relatives, co-workers to join in: «We truly experienced the generosity of our people, in Focolare all kinds of God’s bounty arrived: money, food, clothes, medicines. We even received a car with a driver who was an expert and knew where to pass to avoid the dangerous areas». Three of us went on the trip: a focolarina who is a nurse, another person and the driver. Bearing many gifts «so as to bring the joy of Christmas to those people who more than anyone else resembled the Baby Jesus who did not even have a suitable place to be born».
The situation was precarious: the medicines were not enough for their many needs: «I am a professional nurse – Imma shared – I treated hundreds and hundreds of sick people: malnutrition, anemia, malaria and various illnesses. Then we helped the bishop to distribute food to more than 5000 refugees. It is a very painful situation, and everyday other refugees arrive».
«May this be the year of the Yes», Maria Voce wished for us in 2015, «a yes that is repeated an infinite number of times: yes to God who asks us for something unforseen, yes to that neighbour who needs our concrete love , yes to an unexpected suffering, yes to Jesus who is waiting to be welcomed by us in humanity, transforming suffering into joy, into life and resurrection».
But what does this mean in situations of darkness, that seem to be without hope, like in Nigeria? «For us this is the everyday reality – Ruth and George continue – in the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves in our Country. There are so many sources of Evil. In front of this situation we cannot remain indifferent. When we arrived there, where the people are suffering the most, we touched concretely that which Jesus repeats to us even today: “you did it to me”».
And, on behalf of the whole Focolare community of Nigeria, they would like to convey to us their gratitude for the prayers and support that has reached them in many ways, «above all in this moment, and also before and after the presidential and legislative elections».