Our children stayed out of school.

Sophie Ngassa
Posted August 4, 2018 from Cameroon
I am sad because I am a potential refugee.
I feel very bad for all the kids that have been out of school in the English speaking regions of Cameroon.
We need help especially for women and children who are internally displaced.
We need help especially for women and children who are internally displaced. (1/1)

We have been waiting for the crisis to end. It has been a long period when everyone has been living hopefully expecting better days ahead. As parents we knew it will be over soon and our children will get to school. We wanted the crisis to come to an end. We wanted peace to reign. We all wanted the best out of our children.

Living through this devastating and hardship period, parents had discussions expressing different views: those who were ready to relocate their children to safer towns or villages and those who wanted to stay and patiently wait for the political matter to be resolved.

In most communities, the areas experiencing this crisis in Cameroon, children had not only been out of school for two academic school years or more but had also become internally displaced. As a result of the crisis, families in some areas had to seek refuge in the bushes and refugee camps. Some others migrated to safer cities within our nation that are not affected by the crisis.

As we waited for the “new independence day’, we were excited about the future, but also anxious and afraid.

We wanted to experience the growth and development associated with independence, and we wanted to uphold our distinctive identity and culture. We wanted to experience freedom someday, and we wanted the kind of life where no leader would be a dictator. We expected that kind of equal attention that a traditional African man would have for his two wives (as we were made to believe that polygamy was for good).

With bleeding hearts, we talked to our children and made them understand what was going on and the next most probable steps and possibilities to stay safe. Most believed that parents prevented their kids from going to school, but the truth is that the insecurity was unbearable and some schools were being burned down, causing fear, panic and trauma. We were made to believe that the school year will be cancelled or annulled and certificates would not be recognized for those years in any part of the world.

When it was back to school period, we prepared our children. Shopping was done in a lukewarm manner. We made and received calls from other parents to be informed about the current situation. Our children were happy that they will resume schooling. Some other optimistic parents did not do any preparation and their innocent children just kept calm in despair and tears.

On the reopening day in the crisis areas, some children left for school in their uniform and others in assorted dresses. You could see some other children running up to the road staring at their friends with eyes that said: “Where are you going to? Your life is in danger.”

After one month of timid schooling, some schools were set on fire. The children had to stay at home. Classes stopped abruptly. Education became a target for the crisis. Our children stayed out of school!

Teenage boys and girls had no other option than to get busy somehow. Some of them became petty traders; others learned life skills while waiting for peace to reign and the next school resumption. During this tempting period many girls got pregnant and boys developed deviant attitudes. Youths became exposed to all forms of assault and violence. Rape stories  became headline news. The sound of gunshots became like early morning bird sounds.

Some parents who could afford the cost, relocated immediately to other parts of the country with their family. Some left for good saying they will never return.

As days go by, the families that stayed back, like mine, keep on praying; little did we know that the uprising shall even get worse. As the tension and fear increases my thoughts are wondering in total confusion. It is hard to believe that as we are suffering in pain to stay alive, some other parts of our nation are in peace. I am traumatized by the videos and graphic images that flood our social media  daily in addition to hate speech and violence on line. Mondays have become a public holiday that is spent indoors keeping our ears fully alert for any strange sound.

During this summer holidays, when children from other peaceful areas discuss about the school year, those that were out of school are filled with sadness and sometimes depressed. We the parents are fearful of what the future might hold when things get back to normal. We feel the imbalance in our nation and the educational gap that our children are experiencing.

I write this story with tears running down my cheeks and my fingers shaking, as I can't count the number of time I got up from the floor to carefully shift the blinds to peep through the window after hearing load sounds from the road. Living near the main road that used to be a great advantage for easy movement has become a nightmare.

I ask my self, will I soon also become a refugee?

As discussions about seeking solutions to the crisis were going on, we have come to understand that dialogue is the key to the return of peace. Extremism and violence is not the solution. After interacting and engaging in talks on the issue, we learned that together we can build a secure and peaceful nation even when we have differences or misunderstandings.

Despite all the challenges faced, we are still prayerful and hopeful, that someday this crisis will come to an end and peace will reign again. We expect our government to have genuine, inclusive meaningful dialogue with the citizens. We hope that someday our children will acquire the best education they deserve in a comfortable learning environment.

 

 

This post was submitted in response to Share Your Story On Any Topic.

Comments 48

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Olutosin
Aug 04, 2018
Aug 04, 2018

My sister Ashia, the saddest part of this crisis is that the whole world is just watching and doing nothing. I pray for peace in Anglophone region of Cameroon. Also, the United Nations and other related organisations should come up to do something meaningful towards achieving lasting peace in Cameroon.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 07, 2018
Aug 07, 2018

My dear sis, thanks for sympathizing we us. The situation only gets worst. God please help us ! Sis Mi keep on paying.

Stephanie Mah
Aug 05, 2018
Aug 05, 2018

Hi ma Sophie,
I fear for our community,I fear for my Children, lfear for my siblings, I fear for my family, I fear for youth especially young boy because they are also the targets, we will Continu to pray for God to intaven,I belief that peace will reign again and our children will go back to school. Thanks for sharing.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 07, 2018
Aug 07, 2018

Dear Stephanie, We are living in fear. Too bad for us. Sorry for all young men and boys who have dies, most of all innocently. Our children need education.

jlanghus
Aug 05, 2018
Aug 05, 2018

Oh no:( What's this... sad-faced Sophie?! This can't be?!

Aw. My heart is bleeding. Have you thought about relocating your family to one of the peaceful areas? Do you see an end in sight, hon?

I do hope you have brighter days soon, love...

Take care, and please keep us posted.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 07, 2018
Aug 07, 2018

Dear sis Jill, this is how it feel now. the reality is painful. We are going through tough time in our Anglophone regions.
The end is still far because we will soon have presidential elections that will only make things worse. i will surely keep you posted. Thanks for much love and concern.
Yes! Right now i am making plane to relocate if it gets worse. Warm regards.

jlanghus
Aug 08, 2018
Aug 08, 2018

Oh no:-( I'm sooo sorry to hear that!

None of the candidates are any good, or it's a contrived election?

I'm glad you have a plan in place in case things get worse.

Hang in there. One way or the other, there are brighter days to come...

XO

sarah_2
Aug 05, 2018
Aug 05, 2018

So so sad sister Sophie.
Why won't they let the innocent children be???
Why depriving them from their greater tomorrow???
Why turning them into the monsters they don't wanna be???
I pray for peace in Cameron.
All the best

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 07, 2018
Aug 07, 2018

My dear sis, really sad! We are all victims at this moment. Thanks for your kind prayers. Amen!

Tarke Edith
Aug 06, 2018
Aug 06, 2018

Hello sister Sophie
What a terrible situation we are in right now sister ,parent and children has been push right to the wall
and now we are not still aware of what the future will look like, well let look up only to God thanks for sharing this sad story in the life of our children

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 07, 2018
Aug 07, 2018

Dear sis Edith, Ohhhh it is a pity that we are going through this. Pap God do something for us ohhhh. We have had enough of it.

Ndimofor Aretas
Aug 12, 2018
Aug 12, 2018

Dear Ma Sophie,

I can't say that I understand how you feel... but judging from the sad expression on your face, I can tell the degree of hurt you are feeling...

I have thought over and over about the fate of the students who have not been able to get decent education for the past 2 academic years and who see no hope for this one and I just breakdown.

I joined the teaching field because of the passion I have for sharing knowledge... who do I teach? Where are the infrastructures? where are the parents?... they are in the bushes... too afraid and frightened at the sound of even ordinary vehicles...

How do you start talking about education or back to school to widows, widowers, orphans and victims of the crisis...

And yet... I still cannot feel your pain... All I can say is that we should keep doing our best and God will do the rest... He knows it all...

Wipe your tears Mama....

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 15, 2018
Aug 15, 2018

Hello Aretas, We are experiencing very one of toughest times in our nation. It is a pity! What can i say more? Please God help us right now, we are in need of peace.

Damilola Fasoranti
Aug 14, 2018
Aug 14, 2018

May there be healing in hurting places and may the strength to overcome adversity be available to everyone in Anglophone Cameroon.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 15, 2018
Aug 15, 2018

Hi Damilola, Thanks for kind wishes. It is really a sad story that our children will grow up never to forget.

Jane Frances Mufua
Aug 24, 2018
Aug 24, 2018

Sophie it is a difficult moment for all of us. What ever the situation children should go to school. It is even more regrettable that those who suffer more are the vulnerable especially the poor as you rightly said. There is currently a campaign for school reopening lets join our voices to the campaign. How ever we should thrive to stay safe and to pray and hope that things should return to normal soon.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 15, 2018
Aug 15, 2018

Dear Jane, Thank you for commenting. We are doing our best to stay safe . But the crisis in on arise even though we are hopeful. I pay God almighty to heal our land,

Ngwa Damaris
Aug 14, 2018
Aug 14, 2018

My dear Sister. We are in this together and I trust it shall be well soon.After the rain always comes the sun

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 15, 2018
Aug 15, 2018

My dear sis Damaris, we are await the sunshine. Please stay safe.

ARREY - ECHI
Aug 16, 2018
Aug 16, 2018

The sad realities on the ground, written by someone going through this nightmare daily.
I fear for my family, my friends and just for the innocent and helpless caught in this senseless war; affecting only a part of the nation while the rest go like nothing is off.

Courage dear Sis Sophie and may you all please be safe.
Hugs, love and prayers.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 20, 2018
Aug 20, 2018

Hello darling sis Arrey, Ohhh it is a pity !!! We have been going through hell. worst of all the matters only gets worse.
Thank you very much for your love.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Aug 17, 2018
Aug 17, 2018

My sister Sophie,

This is heartbreaking. A mother naturally wants to protect her children, but what can a mother do when she needs protection, too. You are so brave! I am praying for you and your family's protection and safety.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 20, 2018
Aug 20, 2018

Dear sis Karen, you really understand my story. Thanks for your prayers. In crisis women and children are the most affected.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Aug 21, 2018
Aug 21, 2018

This is true, dear sister. How traumatic it is for the children and how tragic it is for their mothers. Please keep safe.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 22, 2018
Aug 22, 2018

I will, thanks dear sister.

Harris Namutebi
Aug 17, 2018
Aug 17, 2018

It's hard to find the right words to use looking at the crisis you have at hand. All I can do is pray that God takes care of you through these harder times.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 20, 2018
Aug 20, 2018

Dear Harris, Thank you. Please keep us in constant prayers. god will surely make a way for our nation.

obioma nwachukwu
Aug 17, 2018
Aug 17, 2018

Sophie dear, it is not easy to be in this type of situation but my prayers for you is that God will keep you and your family safe to see the end of this crisis soon

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 20, 2018
Aug 20, 2018

Dear sis Obioma, I say Amen and AMEN !!!
Thank you so much.

Tamarack Verrall
Aug 17, 2018
Aug 17, 2018

Dear Sophie,

It is because of you and other WorldPulse sisters in Cameroon that this horrible discrimination and violence against people in the Anglo area of your country is even known. What is being done to the children through these concerted acts, targeting schools, is criminal for a country that professes to follow international human rights. What shocks me is the silence of the rest of the world. I have looked at the international business connections between your country and mine. This is the promise of diplomatic relations I found: "Canada and Cameroon enjoy long standing and friendly bilateral relations. Economic prosperity, the promotion of democratic values, respect for human rights, good governance, official bilingualism and regional security are the pillars of the bilateral relations between the two countries. Canada encourages the concrete efforts that have been made by Cameroon in those areas". I wonder whether we can create international pressure from any of our countries doing business with yours by bringing this to the attention of the press: radio, TV, newspapers. The power we have within WorldPulse is that you sisters in Cameroon have made sure that we know. While we try to build support, please know my heart is with you and the children.

With love in sisterhood,
Tam

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 20, 2018
Aug 20, 2018

Dear Tam, thanks for your thoughtful comment.
Congrats for taking time to read about this. Yes! We are a special country with distinguished characteristics in Africa, but sadly we are unable to enjoy this privilege.
Thanks for your love and great concern.

Amie Newman
Aug 20, 2018
Aug 20, 2018

Sophie, I am crushed by your words; angry and devastated for you, your family, your community, your country. Yet amazingly your hope remains because that's what is needed to continue to breathe another breath, to fight, to lead your family through the darkness. I wish desperately for the crisis to end and for peace to return -- it's heartbreaking to hear about how children are forced to live each day without knowing what the future holds. Please know we are here to listen, to spread your message, and to make sure that no one ignores what's happening in Cameroon.

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 21, 2018
Aug 21, 2018

Dear Amie, Thanks for you touching words. Thanks for feeling for us too. We all have same prayer.
We really need some kind of help for our nation. The condition is really bad.

Tecenta Achiri
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Dear Sophie
It is sad that we live in fear and tension ..we watch our children die right before us
We see our young girls stray away and birth rates keep increasing by day so as HIV percentage rapidly increases
To think that things would get better by now but seemingly things are getting worse and the pain yet to be felt
WE NEED PEACE

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Dear Tecenta,
The reality is so sad. We keep on praying for a lasting solution and peace should reign again.

Fatima Wahab Babih
Aug 29, 2018
Aug 29, 2018

Dear Sophie,
This is so sad and touching! My heart bleeds for the children, who pay the highest price for the crisis created by our so-called leaders. Sadly, once these children cross the into deviant behaviors, pregnancy, and other activities, there is no turning back; as we saw in Sierra Leone, Liberia and other conflicts zones. In the end, the country ends up with a generation of uneducated and unskilled adults, which perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and social problems. Unfortunately, those who can stop it do not care, those who care cannot stop it, but we can pray for God's mercy and peace in Cameroon, and save the children and all innocent people who are suffering.
Peace my sister!

Sophie Ngassa
Sep 04, 2018
Sep 04, 2018

My dear sister Fatima, Thanks for concern and love. We keep on praying together.

Leku Sylvie Nakou
Sep 01, 2018
Sep 01, 2018

Hello ma Sophie,
Thanks for raising your voice and talk about the sociopolitical issues that we are facing in the North West and South West Regions. Peace must reign in Cameroon, and my brothers and sisters in the North West and South West Regions must go back to school, for education is a right and not a privilege in each child's life. Thus, we must raise our voices and press on for the back to school for our siblings and children. Thank you Mum

Sophie Ngassa
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Hello Leku,
We are still praying for peace to reign. Kids are still out of school, We should speak out> Thanks for joining.

Adanna
Sep 03, 2018
Sep 03, 2018

Dear Sister,

Sad news indeed. The educational gap can be quite depressing and the fear also is that this might start encouraging negative thoughts in the minds of these kids. You know what they say about "an idle mind is the devil's workshop."

I do pray and hope that peace will reign again so that these kids can go back to school.

Please continue to keep us updated. What affects one affects all of us.

Love,
Adanna

Sophie Ngassa
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Dear Sis Adanna,
Very sad till date ohhh. Thanks for your concern and prayers.

charlenegailtaruwona
Sep 19, 2018
Sep 19, 2018

Dear sis,
This is saddening but always be encouraged by this - that nothing is forever. There is always a season that brings forth change. My prayers with you.

Sophie Ngassa
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Hello sis, we want to see the end , We are have enough. Thanks for prayers.

Ngala Nadege
Sep 28, 2018
Sep 28, 2018

OMG !! Thank you for sharing. What is happening is really devastating but
#PeaceIsPossible

Sophie Ngassa
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Dear sis, It is very hurting. Too bad for us. We cry for peace to reign.

Seka
Oct 01, 2018
Oct 01, 2018

Salut ma soeur,
C'est triste comme situation que vous traversez, mais prenez courage et espérez toujours qu'un jour les choses vont changer. Cette situation se trouve dans plusieurs endroits ici en Afrique. Que faire si ce n'est que remettre tout entre les mains de Dieu qui est le maître des temps et des circonstances. Si longue soit la nuit le jour finit par arriver dit-on. Courage!

Sophie Ngassa
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Salut Seka. Merci bcp.

Evelyn Fonkem
Oct 06, 2018
Oct 06, 2018

We pray that peace should reign