I graduated from SCI in 2011. After 6 years of a great and lovely experience, I applied to the university. Speaking of lovely experiences, I'll come to that later but firstly I decided to take the course (Integrated Science Education) instead of waiting at home.
The form for Integrated Science Education at my school was available and I saw this as an opportunity to get into the higher institution and decided to make the most of it by taking it instead of sitting at home and waiting on JAMB. I initially applied through JAMB in 2012 to the same school but I really didn't meet up the cut off mark. A lot of us don't understand that JAMB isn't the only way into the University and tend to while away a lot of time writing and re-writing it over and over again without much luck.
Sometimes I find it hard to cope with things around here in school because I have never schooled here before "This is my first time schooling here".
I grew up in Kano. From birth till 11, I lived in Kano, then moved to Zaria where I lived for 1 year before coming down to Stephens Children Home.
I got to know about SCI in 2005 through someone that knew the mission then. His name is E. S. Bala and he was the Chairman of my church at the time. He got to know about this mission and took 2 of my junior ones but my mum later pleaded that he should add one more or us because the burden on her of taking care of us was just too much at the moment. I know you'll be wondering what burden could make a mother let her children be taken care of by a mission so I'll tell you.
It all started in 2004, in the state of Kano, Nigeria. I decided to have my siesta and was already asleep when my brother suddenly came in an woke me up that our dad is calling everybody. So I woke up and went out to the parlour. My dad confirmed if everybody was around and yes, everyone was around. My eldest brother, our two cousins who were staying with us (one had a baby), my immediate elder brother, our third born, me, my two younger brothers , my younger sister, my mum and dad. We were 12 in all.
My dad led us in a prayer and after the prayer he admonished us that no matter what happens, what we can do now is to keep on praying.
He then told our eldest brother to take me, and my two younger ones to the barracks after which he'll come back to take the rest of us at home to the barracks. He went inside to put on his cloth and my mum also went in to put on her clothes but then, we started hearing the rioters shouting and chanting "Allahu akbar". They kept banging at our door with their weapons (machetes, axes, daggers, sticks, sickles), trying to get inside even though our neighbours told them that nobody was in the house.
We later found out that one of our neighbours who was my fathers friend had actually locked our gate from outside in attempt to deceive the rioters that we had already left and nobody was at home but even with the padlock being locked from outside, they broke into the house.
While the rioters were trying to break into the house, my father had instructed us to try escaping and led us to the backyard where we started trying but the chair we were climbing on in order to go over the fence broke. It was only my immediate elder brother and one of my cousins that were able to get over the fence. So the rest of us rushed into the house and my dad locked us inside. We were watching from the window as my brother was killed by the rioters because he didn't want them to kill my dad.
They were actually after my dad thinking he was a pastor. They kept saying they are here to kill Pastor. My mum and brother were begging them. My brother was also trying to stop them but they were too much and they overpowered and killed him. They flung my mother out of the house then they came in and killed my dad.
After killing my father they came inside and broke the door. They then ordered us out of the house with the intention of stealing our properties. (They usually burn the houses but since our house was in-between Muslim houses they couldn't burn it down)
One of our neighours told us to enter a house where our mum later came in to join. She didn't see us leaving because her face was already bloodied and was bleeding from being stoned by rioters throwing stones from the top of the fence. In tears, she asked us what happened, and we told her they had killed our father.
Now, we couldn't return home because it was no more safe for us.
Our neighbour, (the one who locked us in) came to look for us. After finding us, he escorted us to the barracks but didn't get as far as the barracks because he might be lynched along the way. We then stayed at the barracks for two days after which the soldiers took us where we can get a vehicle to Zaria since we didn't know anyone else in Kano and didn't have any place to stay. We finally left for our grand fathers place in Zaria and lived there with him.
This is when my mum started the struggle to take care of us and it wasn't easy at all. She initially didn't have a source of income but later got a job, sweeping. I was in primary school at this time and had lost hope of attending secondary school since my mum's income wouldn't suffice for taking care of the fees but thank God we got to know about SCI and were taken in.
When I got down here (SCI), initially things were not as nice as I wanted them because I really didn't know anybody and things seemed strange. I later got to understand the environment and things got better. Actually, when we arrived, a staff spoke to us and encouraged us to live as brothers and sisters, that we were victims of the terror wrought on our parents by the Islamists.
We were told to ask for whatever we want whenever we needed them and the matrons around would try their best to meet them. Since then things have been smooth albeit not the best but glory to God Almighty for this great opportunity.
I am currently a Diploma 2 Integrated Science Education student in a tertiary institution in the northern region of Nigeria and I have so much joy in my heart now.
There is still more to be done and as we continue to pray for the mission let also remember that we still need your support in kind and cash where necessary. It is a great and laudable task that Stephens Children Home has taken up.