The co-founder of the Nigeria-based NGO Land of Hope, Anja Ringgren Lovén, has taken to the social media account to commemorate ten years since she arrived in Nigeria and started to work for the betterment of the children in the various communities of Nigeria. At the same time, she took the opportunity to reflect on how the situation has developed in the last decades.
Anja Loven observed that On March 20 2013, I travelled to Nigeria for the first time, and today is March 20, 2023. Ten years ago today, I stood in Copenhagen Airport with a ticket to take me to Nigeria.
She recollected in a social media post that she remembers how excited and nervous she was all at the same time. She confessed that she was alone at the time of her travel and did not know what to expect. She wrote on her social media profile, All I knew was that children were accused of being witches, and I wanted to understand why. She asserted that now she knows why, and what baffles me the most is not the words of those practising superstition for their selfish greed.
What baffles me the most today is the silence of the authorities supposed to protect children. 10 years ago, I did not know I would be targeted from many angles. People accused me of being a mermaid due to my tattoos. People accused me of taking advantage of children for fame and glory. They accused me of so many nasty and evil things.
10 years ago, Anja Ringgren Lovén took the children to a small local market to buy food. While there, she overheard a woman selling fish saying, “look at the white woman with all her witch children”. The woman did not know that I have taught the children never to forget that the greatest mental freedom is not to give a shit about what anyone else thinks of you. Today those same children the woman in the market called “witch children” are university students.