I met a friend at an event I attended recently. We sat together and chatted while we waited for the event to start. And then she asked me, suddenly, "Do you think the girls are coming back?" She asked in relation to the girls recently kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. It was a simple question but it dampened my mood that evening. All I could mutter was "I don't know men, I don't know."
Until she asked I had tried not to consciously think of the girls; that was my own way of dealing with the horror. But as the week wore on I found the question flittering in and out of my thoughts. The media has done its bit in creating the buzz needed to get the government to do something. It seemed to be working at the time but as with most social media driven campaigns (Remember #Childnotbride?) the hashtag grew tired and even more sad,
most people moved on.
During a conversation with another friend who happened to be from Maiduguri and still has family there, I asked the same question, "Do you think the girls are coming back?" Let me paraphrase what he said to me:
The girls have been coming back Naomi. They have. In the last couple of weeks, quite a number of them have been found, in twos, threes, in the bush at different times by farmers, people looking for firewood and so on. But because everyone is afraid, no one wants to be the one to say, "look, I found a Chibok girl" they get the girls to places where they can hitch a ride or find their way home, give them some money and leave them to their fate. But in recent weeks the numbers have reduced drastically. Sadly, some of the girls have gotten pregnant. So as a collective, they are not coming back but as individuals, most likely, maybe.
Bittersweet right? Grateful but still anxious, that's how I feel. But hey, while we hope for better days ahead and some more good news, I thought this might brighten someone's day, to know that some of the girls have and still are finding their way home.