Hope is the catalyst that fires the will to live in the face of a catastrophe that threatens to drain it. For an individual like Hajara, who suffered a major tragedy, the will to live takes flight, as life itself becomes totally meaningless. Today we look back at one of the first stories we ever did, it was published around this time, 12 years ago.
Life, for Hajara, appeared to have come to a stand still when on February 21st, 2000; a group of Muslim rioters approached the compound where she lived with her husband and 9 other relatives. The rioters called her by name, “Mama Victor, we are going to kill you and your children.” As if to confirm their plan they also addressed her son by name, “David, today we are going to kill you.” David replied, “even if you kill me. I know where I am going;” those where his last words.
With almost lightening speed, the mob, wielding machetes, daggers, clubs, stones and other dangerous weapons attacked Hajara’s family and the other people living in the same compound with them. Everything happened so fast that within 5 minutes over 21 people were lying dead in the compound. Among the dead were Hajara’s husband, 4 of her children, her daughter-in-law, and her 2 grand daughters. With the help of two neighbors, Hajara escaped by the skin of her teeth with 2 of her children after they had received deep machete cuts.
Apart from being hospitalized with her youngest son Benjamin for a long time, Hajara was so traumatized by the experience she began to look at life differently. “I regarded the grass more valuable than me… I felt that even the soil was worth more than my life since it is at least useful for farming,” she said in an interview.
After her discharge from hospital she decided to take up paid employment, so she can fend for her two surviving children. She picked up a job where she was receiving a monthly wage of N5, 000, and spending about N3, 000 on transportation alone. With things not adding up, she sent her children, Benjamin and his sister Sarah to live with their uncle, so they would not have to forfeit their education.
When CBN heard of her predicament from a Christian brother, Evangelist Omale, who lived in Kaduna at the time, we arranged a meeting to find out how we could assist her. That visit led to her receiving a grant from Operation Blessing (OB – the Humanitarian Subsidiary of CBN) to start a provision store, and a poultry farm.
“How do you see me now?” Hajara asked our OB Manager, John Kalma, when he came for a visit to evaluate her progress, few weeks later. This simple question sounds ordinary but speaks volumes. Her question was borne out of excitement and a deep sense of appreciation occasioned by the rekindling of hope in a life she had once given up on.
Both businesses were now flourishing; she was making an average monthly income of N30, 000 and she could now take care of her family needs. “Now I can eat well, I can think well, and once again I am a happy woman… Besides the tons of appreciation I have for CBN and her partners, my prayer is that God will prosper me so I will be in a position to help anybody that would passed through this kind of experience.”
It is for such a time as this that Jesus counts on us to be His hands and feet for extending His compassion to the hurting, and restoring His light in the lives of those who have found themselves in such terrible predicaments; Hajara’s plight no doubt provided such an opportunity for us. For her, life had degenerated to the lowest ebb, despair had set in, and she reckoned her life worth less than dust. But through you, our partners in ministry, the love and compassion of Christ reached out to her, giving her life meaning again.
Thank you CBN partners!