By Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times:
"DOZENS of heavily armed terrorists rolled into the sleepy little town one night in a convoy of trucks, buses and vans. They made their way to the girls’ boarding school.
The high school girls, asleep in their dormitory, awoke to gunfire. The attackers stormed the school, set it on fire, and, residents said, then herded several hundred terrified girls into the vehicles — and drove off and vanished.
That was April 15 in northern Nigeria.
These girls, ages 15 to 18 and Christians and Muslims alike, knew the risks of seeking an education, and schools in the area had closed in March for fear of terror attacks. But this school had reopened so that the girls — the stars of their families and villages — could take their final exams. They were expected to move on to become teachers, doctors, lawyers.
Instead, they reportedly are being auctioned off for $12 each to become “wives” of militants. About 50 girls escaped, but the police say that 276 are still missing — and the Nigerian government has done next to nothing to recover the girls."
#BringBackOurGirls is the movement for raising awareness of these missing young women. It's May 6th. They have been missing for 21 days. Twenty one sleepless nights, terrifying days--and God knows what else.
As a human being, I can't not recognize and realize the utter horror the parents of these children must feel. But I am literally on the other side of the world--my helplessness is seemingly complete.
And yet, tonight I was invited to join a group in a day of fasting and prayer for these girls. I was given a name, Hauwa Takai, to pray for. Hauwa is a child who has been kidnapped and sold into slavery, she is a person with hopes and dreams not unlike my daughter who sleeps safely in the next room.
Perhaps Hauwa dreams of becoming a scientist like my daughter. Perhaps she dreams of flying, traveling, healing, learning, loving and being loved in return. Perhaps Hauwa is looking up at the sky at this moment and hoping that this hell will be over soon. Who knows how many times she has breathed this wish in the last twenty-one days. And just maybe, she feels a tiny gleam of hope that her prayer will not go unanswered another day.
So I must pray. I must join my heart with hers and her mother's and father's and I write her name on my arm in permanent marker so I won't forget that she is breathing and hoping that her freedom is at hand.
If you would like to join us in a day of fasting and prayer (or whatever personal ritual you choose) please join us here: Bring Back Our Girls Day of Fasting & Prayer.