A yearning, hunger, thirst or need for something that you do not have.
Nigeria has experienced recurring armed conflicts. These conflicts have caused many people to flee their homes and seven million people are estimated to currently be in need of humanitarian assistance. Many families are scattered, separated from loved ones who may be missing or dead, but the suffering and experiences of displaced people from North Eastern Nigeria are not often seen outside the country. These “internally displaced” long for safety, security, stability, reassurance, home, food, water, good health, work, education, future, and often most of all, loved ones.
In the escape from conflict, families often become scattered, children separated from parents, siblings separated from one another, husbands separated from wives. People end up in formal and informal camps, waiting: for news of their family and home, and longing to be reunited. Coping with this situation is extremely challenging. Many families in the camps believe ‘’nothing is worse than being in constant limbo’’.
Since the inception of the most recent conflict in North Eastern Nigeria, many humanitarian organizations are trying to assist people affected, and restoring family links has become on of the major activities. The following photographs document my visits to IDP camps in Nigeria. During these visits I spent time talking with people, listening to their stories and using photography to capture moments from their daily life. As I asked people about their situation, the strength of longing was profound. The vulnerability of children who have been separated from their families is particularly painful. Seeing newly arrived children approaching aid workers, drawing out phone numbers for their families from small handmade bags or hidden inside their toys, is heartbreaking.
Portraying other people’s anguish is never easy, and should never be easy. I hope the following photographs provide some small insights into the daily challenges parents and children experience as they try to find one another.