TCHIOLEMÉ MALLAMA

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Seven of Tchiolemé’s children and one of his wives were kidnapped when Boko Haram attacked. His other wife left him because he had nothing to provide. They took his cows and goats, and the land where he used to grow onions is now too unsafe to farm. He currently lives as an internally displaced person (IDP), trying to support the daughter and granddaughter who live with him. He says Christians, Muslims and animists used to live together peacefully. Now, he feels like his community’s culture is lost. Few of their rituals and celebrations have survived their displacement. Christians and animists used to make traditional beer and sing together, songs of sadness and joy, of family histories and parents. They would improvise songs about current events. But now, they are too afraid of Boko Haram spies to lament their plight, and they are too afraid to sing.

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