Over 200 girls were kidnapped from a school in Borno. Till now we don’t know what has become of them really.
We have heard stories, rumours, possibilities. But we really don’t know.
I can imagine there must be an Amina among them. Or 4. Or 10. Amina isn’t a very rare name. But there is the one. The pretty one with big brown eyes and a dimpled smile. She must have dark velvet skin unmarred by the arid desert winds. She must have been spotted by one of the masked men and taken for his own whilst most others would be, as has been reported, sold cheaply into marriage in Chad. She must be afraid, but refusing to let him sense her fear.
She is only 11 years old.
She is wise beyond her years. Life in a war-torn zone like hers can make one wiser, harder, stronger.
And Amina is strong. She is strong, she doesn’t cower as the masked man hoists her over his shoulder and dumps her alongside the other girls she knows in the back of a rusty van. She is strong as she sees the terror in their eyes as the doors shut out the light to their freedom. She hears their tears; Fatima’s, Rekiya’s, the other Amina’s, Aisha’s and Memuna’s. Her friends.
She is strong as the masked man separates her from the group and takes her away from her friends and blindfolds her. She is strong as her eyes open to the dark of a rustic, bare room with a mat and a window higher than her reach. She is strong as he locks her in and goes away. She is strong as she waits.
She is strong as he returns at nightfall. She is strong as he unlocks the door and walks towards her. His mask is gone but she can’t see his face She is strong as she puts up a last fight for her dignity although she knows what is to become of her.
She is strong as she bleeds her first. She is strong as she bears his weight. She is strong as she becomes a woman long before she is done being a girl.
She is strong as night turns into day, and day into night on end. She hopes her friends are as strong.
She is strong because she has hope. It may seem pointless in the face of hopelessness. But she still has hope.
She is strong.