December 12 – The day of our December outreach to the Eleko IDPs dawned bright and early. With the spike in the number of COVID 19 cases in the state, we made every effort to comply with NCDC’s guidelines. Although we knew how much all our volunteers wanted to be part of the visit, we had to make the difficult but necessary decision to make the journey with very few volunteers. The IDPs were also adviced beforehand to send a few representatives who would made up of men and women.
We set off at about 9.30am, making a stop to pick up Chief Jonah. An IDP himself, Chief Jonah has been our main contact person with the Eleko IDPs over the years. He was a traditional ruler in Chibok village before Boko Haram caused him to flee. He has continued to act as a leader/spokesperson for the approximately 300 people who fled alongside with him.
At 11.30am, our bus arrived the makeshift church which a generous pastor in the area makes available to the IDPs any time we pay a visit. The IDP representatives were waiting and after friendly banter helped us offload the drugs and food items we had brought. We went straight to the business of the day. One of our volunteers, Igeme, started off by giving an expert delivery on the importance of maintaining menstrual hygienic standards to the group of women who turned up. The idea was that they would educate other internally displaced women since all the women could not be there for the talk. Whilst Igeme interacted with the women, Henrietta, another volunteer, addressed the men. She talked to them about the pandemic and simple precautionary measures to take. Interestingly, the men participated. She appeared pleasantly surprised at their level of awareness and encouraged them to pass on any new knowledge they may have acquired to their brother IDPs.
With the end of the talks, our visit came to an end. The items donated items were left in the care of Chief Jonah and the other representatives to distribute. Our IDPs asked DHI to express their heartfelt gratitude to such generous donors and thanked us for our assistance over the years.
We left Eleko Beach at about 1pm wishing we could do more and yet fulfilled that our little had made our IDPs smile.
**Our gratitude goes to Cottage of Hope Empowerment and Rehabilitation, FoodBank, Standard Chartered Bank (Commercial Banking Section) Victoria Island, friends and relatives