When a child is accused of being a witch, the accusation often stems from a relative, such as an uncle, grandmother, stepparent, a neighbor, someone from the village or the preacher. In fact, it’s very rare that the accusations come directly from the child’s parents. But, when the accusation has been thrown out there, there is no way back. The villagers will demand that the child either gets and exorcism, which will be done by the local village priests, or that the parents brings the child to a witchdoctor, who also has the magical powers to exorcise the witch within the child. But this costs a lot of money, and the believe in the supernatural is greatest within the poorest and most primitive areas. Therefore, the children often get tortured or killed. The parents cannot do anything against an entire village and the local occult groups, who all demands the child, either get tortured to death or exiled from the village. They risk their own lives if they let their accused child stay in their house. The parents also believe that the child is a witch, if it’s a priest who points the child out to be a witch.
The children get killed either by being decapitation, buried alive, burned alive or “simply” beaten and tortured to death. Remember that this kind of superstition isn’t and African thing. Back in the 1600’s we used to burn women alive at the stake, because we thought them to be witches. The accused woman (often an old demented woman) would be forced to announce their pact with the devil, and by torture forced to announce their fellow witch companions (Men and children were also burned at the stake). The last extra-judicial witch murder in Denmark was committed in the year 1800. The last illegal account of witch abuse happened in 1897, and the last witch accusation was in 1934! This shows that we in Denmark has believed in witches until very recent. So instead of pointing fingers, we should stand united to fight the superstition and help the poorest people in the world, because we’ve ones been where they are at. Why did we in Denmark get over this? And why does time stand still in the poor villages of Nigeria, where the superstition rules, as it did in Denmark in 1500-1600’s? There are two major reasons for this:
Ignorance, and poverty! Where there is extreme poverty, ignorance follows. Poverty is the reason why children doesn’t attend school, and when children don’t attend school, the development stops, and time stands still. It’s a package deal. Right now, Nigeria, is the country in Africa, with the least amount of children attending school. That is why DINNoedhjaelp’s greatest mission here in Nigeria, is educational work. We’ve got to fight the superstition through our educational and informative work. I will in another update get into how we do informative and educational work, here in Nigeria. Obviously, the children here at DINNoedhjaelp’s childrens center miss their families. They often talk about their siblings, cousins, grandparents and parents (or mom or dad, if one of them is deceased). It is our MOST important job, to make sure that the children keep contact with their families. Sometimes we bring the children on what we call “home visits”, and this is something that they look forward to. HOME VISITS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF OUR INFORMATIVE WORK! When a child that used to live a life as an outcast, accused of being a witch, almost tortured to death, children that wasn’t allowed to attend school because of the accusations towards them, children who were living in fear, and whom other children wouldn’t play with, when these children goes back to their families and villages, looking healthy and strong, speaks English very well and has gotten their confidence and hope back, it gives the whole village something to think about, and they acknowledge that they were wrong about their accusations and that they were ignorant. We prove to all of society that these children aren’t witches, but that the people who accused them, has been indoctrinated by either the priest, or other villagers. HOME VISITS IS PART OF STOPPING THE SUPERSTITION AND THE KILLING OF MORE CHILDREN. Yesterday, Rita (whom we save in the documentary “En dansker redder verden”) had to see her parents and siblings (her twin brother amongst others), for the first time in 6 months. Idiong and Essien (whom you’ll meet for the first time in the documentary “Heroes of hell”), sees their parents and siblings. All of the friends, who used to not want to play with Idiong, came running to give her a hug, and saw her as a rolemodel. Idiong stood there, with pride in her face, and told her parents, and the entire village, that she will one day return with an education, and teach the village that there is no such thing as witches, and that people will believe her. I’d wish you all could see her! THIS IS HOW WE GET RID OF SUPERSTITION! Yesterday we got another experience that we did not expect. Idiong’s, only 15 year old friend, had birthed a baby last night. So naturally I had to go see the little pookie J .