My siblings and I knew we wanted to do something charitable as we remembered our darling parents who had gone to be with the Lord several years ago. A friend had told me about an orphanage in Gwagalada (somewhere I still intend to visit) but then I realised there was an IDP camp right in my neighbourhood*. IDP stands for Internally displaced persons and sadly due to the insurgency in the North eastern part of Nigeria there are thousand of people who have made these camps their homes.
The camps are small and not fit for human habitation at all but somehow our brothers and sisters live there come rain come shine. We decided to go with a few friends and got some food, clothes as well as toys for the children. We knew they had a lot of needs so we made a random list; noodles, corn, disenfectant, milk, tea, shoes, clothes …just anything we thought they would find useful.
When we got there we met the chairman who was himself a refugee at the camp and he and the secretary showed us pictures of other people who had visited and told us their needs. In that particular camp there were well over a thousand people living in ramshakle makeshift homes. We met one lady who lived in her small makeshift home with 6 children. It was hard to take in that the space they all slept, cooked and lived in was smaller than my kitchen. Yet here she was smiling sweetly as she introduced us to her children.
Next we went to Aisha’s hut, she had her two week old son in her arms and her toddler was playing hide and seek between her legs. She told us her baby had been ill and had pus draining from his ears a few days ago but seemed find now. My husband who is Medical Doctor said those were signs of a bad infection and he examined the baby and gave her money for medication. The midwife explained that she had been with her during labour and told us that ” na inside heavy rain she deliver” . As we went around we noticed there was so much need in that one camp it didn’t seem like a few hours could make a difference. However, despite the awful conditions the children were so happy and one of them told my husband how he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up and they struck a bond, and the very next day my husband brought him a pair of shoes, he was estatic.
Through the whole trip my children and the other children who came with us were humbled and went back home grateful for what they had.
The need was so great and I intend to go back and do more…
* This particular IDP camp has now been closed but there are still others in the FCT around the country.