IDP Diaries: “Fetching Firewood Might Kill Us But We Need The Extra Income”
IDPs like Hauwa who have families to feed but receive meagre aid are thrown in a conundrum. In this diary, she narrates her strong fears of being captured by insurgents while fetching firewood which she must sell to make ends meet.
When some of us go to the bush to fetch firewood, the rest stay home and pray. We know they might never come back and we hope for their return. Boko Haram would chase us away or capture unlucky ones. It is tiring because, at the same time, the children are crying. They are crying because of fear and hunger.
When we manage to get the firewood, we sell for about N100 ($0.25) which is just enough to buy water. We need food but we also need water to cook the food. Out of fear, we send our husbands to gather firewood sometimes. I used to have food when I wanted, back home before Boko Haram drove us out of our village.
When some of us go to the bush to fetch firewood, the rest of us stay home and pray. We know they might never come back and we hope for their return. Boko Haram would chase us away or capture unlucky ones. It is tiring because, at the same time, the children are crying. They are crying because of fear and hunger.
I am Hauwa Umar from Takkari. We were living peacefully with our cattle, donkeys, and goats. Everything was available, even guinea corn. Then they chased us out and we went to Cameroon. We lost our cattle, goats, donkeys; we didn’t have anything to eat. Then we eventually came here.
We have been here for four years but we had to wait for two years before we got registered in the camp. We have been suffering. The government officials here give us one measure of rice, one measure of guinea corn, and three measures of beans.
That has been our food since we came here four years ago. That is all they give us to eat with our children. The food is supposed to be for the whole month but it can only stretch for a couple of days. Sometimes we get something to eat and sometimes we don’t.
We want to return home, to our farms with food and livestock but we need to stay alive. We are safer here although we are always hungry and afraid. It is difficult to stay here but there is no peace in our homes.
(Additional reporting by Fatima Bukar and Yakura Kumshe)
Note: IDP Diaries is a first-person account by the subject themselves. The account has been translated for reading by HumAngle.
This is a multiple-part series; click here to read other IDP Diaries.
This report is a partnership between HumAngle Media and Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) under the ‘Accountability Journalism & Investigative Reporting for Deepening Democracy and Development’ project.
Support Our Journalism
There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.
To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.
Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.Donate Here