Our Girls Return to their Families

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari applauds as he welcomes a group of Chibok girls, who were held captive for three years by the millitant group Boko Haram, in Abuja, Nigeria, May 7, 2017. Bayo Omoboriowo/Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY ATTENTION EDITORS – FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. – RTS15KIL

Freed Nigerian Schoolgirls Reunite With Their Families After 3 Years

4:53 PM ET

(ABUJA, Nigeria) — The 82 Nigerian schoolgirls recently released after more than three years in Boko Haram captivity reunited with their families Saturday as anxious parents looked for signs of how deeply the extremists had changed their daughters’ lives.

Brightly dressed families rushed through the crowd in the capital, Abuja, and embraced. One small group sank to their knees, with a woman raising her hands as if praising in church. Some danced. Others were in tears.

“I am really happy today, I am Christmas and new year, I am very happy and I thank God,” said mother Godiya Joshua, whose daughter Esther was among those freed.

This month’s release was the largest liberation of hostages since 276 Chibok schoolgirls were abducted from their boarding school in 2014. Five commanders from the extremist group were exchanged for the girls’ freedom, and Nigeria’s government has said it would make further exchanges to bring the 113 remaining schoolgirls home.

“Our joy is never complete until we see the complete 113, because one Chibok girl matters to all Chibok people,” said a parent of one of the freed schoolgirls, Yahi Bwata.

Many of the girls, most of them Christians, were forced to marry extremists and have had children. Some have been radicalized and have refused to return. It is feared that some have been used in suicide bombings.

The mass abduction in April 2014 brought international attention to Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency in northern Nigeria, and it launched a global Bring Back Our Girls campaign that drew the backing of some celebrities, including former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. Thousands have been kidnapped during the extremists’ eight-year insurgency, and more than 20,000 have been killed.

The release of the 82 schoolgirls this month came after an initial group of 21 girls was released in October. Nigeria’s government has acknowledged negotiating with Boko Haram for their release, with mediation help from the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The two groups of freed schoolgirls reunited earlier Saturday, Nigeria’s Channels TV reported, showing the young women laughing and embracing.

Since the latest release, many families in the remote Chibok community had been waiting for word on whether their daughters were among them. A government list of names circulated, and parents were asked to confirm the freed girls’ identities through photos.

Both groups of freed girls have been in government care in the capital as part of a nine-month reintegration program that President Muhammadu Buhari has said he will oversee personally. But human rights groups have criticized the government for keeping the young women so long in the capital, far from their homes.


Associated Press writer Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed.

I thought we could all use some good news.

There are still girls missing, and this isn’t over yet.  For some of these girls, in many ways, it may never be totally over — any one who has survived abuse, or knows someone who did, will understand that — but they are home, and back where they belong.

My prayers got to them, their families and, especially, to the girls who are still missing, even the ones who have been brainwashed and have chosen to stay.  I pray for them perhaps most of all.

Please help me in keeping a spotlight shined on Boko Haram’s crimes, until all Our Girls are home.



An Homage to Grandmothers

Mother's Day is for our grandmothers, mothers and Mother Earth

Mother’s Day is for our grandmothers, mothers and Mother Earth

It is not Mother’s Day today, but I will have a nice surprise for you tomorrow.Today, I look to my two grandmothers. Grandma Caroline was my bingo partner and served us high tea every afternoon. I was nine when she passed. I never lost a bingo game with her or her friends. Consequently, my grands have never lost a game either. Her home is no longer standing but it had huge ceilings and the furniture seem so large. At one point, I was able to walk under the dining room table without hitting my head. She had a closet off of the parlor that held the toy box. I have a closet here which holds the toys. I remember her smile. I remember the strong courageous woman who came over to America for a chance at a better world. I am proud to call her my grandmother and I miss her very much.

My maternal grandmother was Marie. Her friends called her Mame. I called her Grammy. I had her until I was sixteen as opposed to being only nine when I lost Grandma Caroline. I spent summers with Grammy and Grandpa Fanta here in Cleveland. They both spoke perfect English and grandma was a good cook. As I went from toddler to teen, it was her love which kept me going in a straight line. I have missed her so for 40 years Neither were able to control the wild child within me, but they helped me to see that I was just regular and being myself was a wonderful accomplishment.

Grandmother Marie Fants

Grandmother Marie Fanta

Grandma Caroline and myself

   Grandmother Caroline Salter and myself

The Sound of my Name

” Over and over
I call her back to me—-
her flowered bathrobe
with pink trim around the collar
glasses a little crooked
hair wispy white.
Scuffling blue terrycloth slippers
she turns toward me,
grasping the counter edge for balance,
and speaks my name
with more love than anyone
ever squeezed into one word.
Over and over
I listen to the sound of my name—
the memory of her, speaking my name.”
—–Dilys Morris

The Peace Dove dwells within everyone you have loved and lost. It is just for a time and then we will join them.

The Peace Dove dwells within everyone you have loved and lost. It is just for a time and then we will join them.

A Quick Message

The bridge from grandma's house

The bridge from grandma’s house

I would like to take a moment to say I am home and before going to bed, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday and a joyous day with your families and friends. It has been a real pleasure to “meet” all of you and you. Your blogs and comments brighten my days.

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays