Is Somebody Singing?
As a news correspondent, my job takes me to varied places-even where angels fear to tread. When I was told that my next assignment would take me to the Chibok village and environs, I mentally prepared myself. Carnage was not new to me. I had covered one of the bombings in Maiduguri a year ago. My family had their reservations about a young female reporter going into such difficult climes and for a while the TV station I worked for had given me a break from dangerous assignments. But now with the Boko Haram crises escalating, and the over two hundred girls kidnapped from Chibok still missing, they had reviewed their decision and those at the top considered me the best correspondent to cover the situation. So here, I was with my camera man and my light travel kit filled with basic supplies traveling in a rickety pick-up inot the unknown. On our journey down, I saw scattered spots of security personnel dotting the countryside. They looked bored or disillusioned. I wondered if the Ak-47 they carried was enough to deal with the threat this Boko Haram people represented.
Finally we got off and I shook the dust that had gathered on my clothes. We stopped at the school and took a few pictures and then headed off on foot to some of the surrounding villages.
I am not a blubberer but I couldn’t stop the tears that formed a pool in my eyes when I saw how the villages had been razed to the ground. There seemed to be scattered human remains here and there. I did not look closer for fear of what I would find. Who were these monsters that had destroyed the lives of innocent people? As we walked through the village, we did not see a single soul. It seemed bereft.
We got to a hut and a part of it had collapsed but I seemed to be hearing some movement inside. My cameraman and I edged closer to take a closer look. What we heard stunned us. I had to pinch myself. Was somebody actually singing here? Somebody was singing: “Mungode Ubangiji mungode kwarai kwarai.”
I was amazed. Surely it was impossible for someone to sing in such a place, let alone sing song of praises to God. We made our presence known to the woman and she came out to meet us, her face welcoming. She had a six month old baby on her back. My first question was to ask her why she was singing. She beamed as she answered: “God is so good to me. When the Boko
Haram people came my parents died and my husband ran away leaving me with my baby but I could not run because the baby was sick. But God healed my baby and spared our lives.”
I could only gaze at her in wonder. Apparently it was still possible to be joyful despite whatever loss a person had experienced. When coming for this assignment I had an idea on the angle I would write-the carnage, the devastation, the hopelessness. But this singing had changed all that. Her courage and resilience reminded me of Martin Luther’s famous words which I truly believed could be applied to Boko Haram. “We shall overcome someday.\”\’