Young boy, wise man

May 11, 2017
By World Vision; Edited by Leanna Cappiello

In crisis or conflict, children's drawings tell the tale of what they have lived through. They also reveal how kids look back at their land of origin. Drawings can reveal problems they've had to face, such as insecurity, fear and anxiety stemming from exposure to traumatic events. Although many of the drawings depict fear and terror, there is also an element of hope for their future and gratitude for the help they received.

The drawings from children attending the child-friendly space near Garden, established by World Vision about a year ago, confirm this. Behind each drawing is a story, and Goni's was no exception.

 A teenage refugee, Goni was shy to share his story at first, but eventually opened up about how his village was attacked. "We heard gun fire from the north of our village... all my family members including my father were at home. We had to flee the house," the boy recalls.

From then on, Goni and his family migrated often, spending weeks or months hopping from settlement to settlement. Like many children, Goni describes his life back home, before the crisis. "Back home, I used to farm corn, attend Koranic school, ferry stuff at the local market using a two-wheeled trolley," he says, while inking a new drawing, "and I played a game called "langa' (hopping on one leg) with my friends."

With his work, Goni earned, 2 000 Naira (US $5.00) and spent his earnings on clothes and shoes, giving the rest to his mother.

Goni ensures the house chores are done daily. He fetches water, cooks and searches for firewood in the bush. It's late by the time he is done with his chores.

Goni's dream is to go back to his normal life back home and later become the wise man of the village, "Because a wise man has a lot of respect, everybody consults him, and my father is one," he says.

Salisou, a staff of the child-friendly space says, "The child friendly space allows children like Goni to forget the atrocities they witnessed during the attacks. Because here they play games that allow them to relax and stop having nightmares."

Goni, while working on a new drawing, explains how it depicts his life at the camp. "I have drawn an ambulance, a water truck, our home and my friend Mohamadou and I holding hands. The ambulance takes the sick from the camp to Diffa, and the water truck brings safe water to the camp, for us to drink, and use for cooking and washing."

Goni is one of the 1.4 million who have been through so much, yet cultivates gratitude for the help received. This summons hope for his future.

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