My friend Aminu got back from Cameroon yesterday to find some very distressing things “on the ground” in Gembu among the refugees who came from Tamnviya after their village was burned out (I wrote about this at Black Day on the Plateau and Black Day Update). He sent a report out late last night, so I have been trying to process it a bit from my vantage point here in Palmer Lake.
Here is what we understand to be the case thus far. There are twelve family units who have taken refuge in Gembu, comprising just over 100 people. Of immediate concern is the fact that they are not able to properly feed themselves. Food prices have sky-rocketed all over Nigeria, so there are others in this situation as well, but our friends are facing buying a bag of rice for 15,500 naira, where it used to be 8,000 naira; and a bag of maize for 14,500 naira when it used to be 5,000 naira. 5,000 naira is about CAD $21, so any way you do the math, we know that is an enormous hike – especially for people who have just lost everything.
They are mostly sleeping on cold floors with no mattresses and inadequate bedding. It is the beginning of rainy season there, and while the people are very glad for the rain because the lengthy dry season has been the source of many problems, it is getting very cold for them now. This is one of those issues where, if a solution does not present itself soon, it will lead to yet more dire consequences.
Other things, like having no school fees or educational materials, are also all problems for these people – many of whom have just recently come to the understanding that educating their children ought to be a high priority in their lives.
There are yet other issues looming in the future. Let me quote my friend Aminu here for a bit.
“What makes it even [more] scary is that, it starts raining since March but up till now many people have not started planting because the raining season is not in full gear. It seems like most people would find it hard to get necessary farm equipment like fertilizer, seeds, pesticides and the like. Not because they are expensive but they do not have money. The money they have is mostly spent on food stuffs . . . . “Furthermore, I am not looking at only the current situation but also next year. Without taking serious action now or this year, next year the situation will be worse.
“There are individuals and families who bought cows with the intention of selling them now in order to use the money in their farms but because of the long dry season we experienced this year they lost most those cows or they sold them less than the price the initial bought them. In a nutshell, this year comes with different challenges.”
Our friends have already written to their own government and other humanitarian agencies for help, but have received no response from them to this point. Some of the people among the Fulbe to whom they would normally look for help were also affected by the attack on the village. For instance, Aminu’s own father would normally be someone to whom they could turn to help for food and other things, but he and others like him lost their granaries in the attack.
There are funds that can be drawn from out of our Friends of the Fulbe Society account, and we have already released N150,000 (about CAD $650) for the Fulbe elders to distribute as best as they can. While this will undoubtedly help, more is certainly needed.
I invite you to pray for these poor people and their situation, that our God will provide for them.
As well, knowing that often the way God chooses to provide is through his people, if you wish to help in a more material way, here is where you may direct your funds.
Make cheques out to Wiesenthal Baptist Church, with a memo/note directing the funds to the Fulbe Ministry. Mail them to:
Wiesenthal Baptist Church
c/o Jan deKlerk
RR 2, Millet, AB
The church will then direct 100% of your money to aid these people (i.e., there will be no overhead deductions or anything of that nature from the church).
Thanks so much for your prayers and help in this urgent need. May God continue to bless through you.
PS – if you choose to help out through giving, you may wish to give me a note and let me know. This may help as we plan into the future. Thanks.