That’s why they attacked us... - An account of Boko Haram by Belen Rameriz

"That’s why they attacked us... because we opened schools for our children."
"They came in the morning, early in the morning. We were already awake and getting ready to go fishing. We’re fishers, doctor... That’s when we heard the screams. They went to the schools and burned them and then they slaughtered all the teachers.
That’s why we decided to leave. We didn’t want to wait for “the second round” of slaughtering. We crossed different branches of the lake by canoe and we walked through little islands, with our kids and little belongings. It took us 3 days to make it here. We don’t have anything here yet, but we know we’re safe. They won’t come here."
THIS IS HAPPENING PEOPLE. I don’t want you to leave your people, your world, or your belongings. I just want you to please know that THIS is happening in places that you will never think they existed.

I love and believe in my organization. If I keep working with MSF after more than 5 years it is because I see one thing: we’re really humanitarians! We’re here for the people, we use our donors money for the people, we don’t have big salaries, big cars and sleep in fancy hotels going from one meeting to the other.

We learned about the displaced population, went to assess the need, and intervened. No big talks, no big meetings, only the important and needing ones, and we were there giving medical care to vulnerable populations.

Last Sunday we were there setting a tent, Maelle and I left the Log Team do the hard work, and we went to play!

We found this group of women who invited us to join them. They told us the story about Boko Haram burning the village. I asked, "are you planning on going back there once it's safe?  Where are the kids going to go to school?" (Naïve me!!)

A woman told me, "NO, it won’t be safe there, they’re hiding in the bushes somewhere. Once the military people are leaving, they will go back.  You see doctor, we thought our kids should be educated, they should learn to read and write, not like us old people. So we work as a community and we build 6 schools for the 11 different islands, and Boko Haram came to attack us!! That’s why they attacked us, because we opened schools for our children."

Life for them is starting over, miles away from home. And they have the strength to push me on the swing they build for the kids to play, and laugh seeing the white doctor flying!!
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