I woke up that morning thinking that it was going to be one more typical day in my life. That changed however a few hours into the morning when Dr. Nkechi Asogwa the president of DHI asked me if I was free for the day to give a hand at the *IDP camp in Benin because they were short of volunteers.
Until then, I never knew there was an IDP camp in Benin. I was doing my youth service in Auchi at that time.
Since I was free, I decided to “lend a hand” thinking that I was giving myself. The whole idea of being “a volunteer” appealed to me. I had always loved humanitarian services. I felt proud of myself as I put on the customized t-shirt and joined the rest of the team as we journeyed to the camp.
On arrival, the first thing that struck me was the emptiness of the camp: a few tents, a so-called kitchen… at that point, the “little” I thought I had seem to me to be luxury. As we settled down to commence our work, women and children started trooping in, a deep look into their eyes would tell you how much trauma they had been made to endure.
Some of these kids have had to watch their fathers being brutally butchered (in the real sense of the word) to death, some of the girls and mothers had escaped from places where they were held hostage. The boys have escaped from the possibility of been initiated into the **Boko Haram sect.
The stories I heard that day brought the reality of life to me, hearing the news on television and seeing the survivors are two completely different things.
In the middle of their grief and trauma however, the children still laughed and played. The adults were a bit more sober…but the joy and interior freedom of these children made an everlasting impression on me.
I left the camp that day with more riches than I went in with.
I received a lot more than I gave.
I went in to console and I ended up being the one consoled.
Something that was the result of human cruelty gave rise to more kindness, more love, more joy, more self giving, more happiness in many more human hearts.
God truly knows how to bring out something good from every evil…but He does it through human beings like you and me, and I am glad to be one of the people he used that day.
From my experiences, I have learnt that every act of kindness is an investment, the one who gets the returns in the end is you.
So, please be good for your own sake.
Written by Bello Naseefat
*Internally Displaced Persons
**A terrorist group based in Nigeria, West Africa. Particularly Northern Nigeria.