In response, Tearfund’s partner CRUDAN came to Yola. They provided Matthew and the other villagers with roofing to rebuild their homes, with food and, crucially with cash. Tearfund, along with our partners are pioneering what is known as ‘cash transfers’ in this part of Nigeria. It is an effective response to desperate need allowing villagers to meet their most pressing needs themselves. Matthew explains to me that the money he received helped him to buy food for his family, but also seed, tools and a goat to restart his farm. It gave him a fresh start, but also dignity as he was in charge of the choices he made to restart his life.
Hope and Fear
I asked how he sees the future and you can see he is torn. Yes, he is optimistic that he can now feed and nurture his family, though this year’s crop was not a great one. His young daughter wanders by eating groundnut paste from the farm.
However the fear of more violence remains, despite the actions of the Nigerian army to push Boko Haram far back from their community. Matthew’s life as a smallholder farmer in a dry, dusty and remote part of the world is tough enough anyway, but the wanton violence and cruelty of Boko Haram have brought a different dimension of fear. And so we pray together for his family and his village, for peace and safety.
It’s hard to fathom the nihilism and despair that must fuel the sort of violence I have heard about here. The best that Tearfund and our partners can offer is not to curse the darkness of the situation but offer the blessing of lives and communities and even hearts rebuilt.
Nigel is the CEO of Tearfund.
Pray for Nigeria:
- Pray for peacemaking initiatives between Christians and Muslims throughout Nigeria, that they can raise a generation that doesn’t view their neighbours with suspicion.
- Pray for the work of CRUDAN as they offer hope to communities devastated by violence and destruction.
- And pray for the work of Tearfund’s partners in Nigeria as they help find non-violent solutions to the terrible violence and conflict faced by communities.