Africa

In photos: Life after Boko Haram

Updated 2:47 PM ET, Wed April 13, 2016
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Aid worker and photographer Fati Abubakar captures the portraits and stories of those living in Nigeria's Maiduguri -- the heart of Boko Haram territory -- in her Instagram and Facebook series, "Bits of Borno." The city is also her home town.

"The Boko Haram insurgency has left a toll on our community, and the impact has been physical, psychological and economic," she explains. "There is a lot of trauma, but there is resilience as well. With this series I want to capture the strength, struggles, joy, sadness and the human spirit as the crisis abates and people move on."
Click through the gallery to read more stories of Boko Haram's survivors
Fati Abubakar
"I don't know where my parents are. I don't know whether they died or are somewhere else after we all ran from our village. But some of my aunts are in another camp. I visit them occasionally. I live here in Kusheri (a new community that moved to Maiduguri). The Bulama (traditional leader) gave me a room. His family feeds me. I don't go to (formal) school but I have joined the other kids in the Islamic school in the neighborhood." Fati Abubakar
"I was an ex-soldier living in Bama when the Boko Haram terrorists came. They burned all of my property, my animals and killed my two sons. My son had married June 15th, 2013 and he was killed 1st September, two months after his wedding. We walked to Maiduguri and have been living here for some time now, but I struggle with food, clothing and a mattress to lay my head on. I still don't have food and I have a young 10-year-old and a wife to feed." Fati Abubakar
"Myself, my sons, their wives, and their children ran to Maiduguri. It's 16 of us in four rooms. We've left everything behind. We don't have money anymore. Not even food. I want my sons to find jobs so the family can survive." Fati Abubakar
"I am the Bulama for the compound we live in. We are about a hundred in number. Since we moved to this neighborhood from Yimimi, Konduga Local Community, we haven't received help, be it clothing, food or anything. They (NGOs) wrote our names (down) 10 weeks ago but we haven't seen them again. We sell charcoal to help pay rent. Its 1,000 Naira ($5) a room per month and the landlord has started saying there will be an increase in rent to 3,000 Naira ($15). Most of us might end up being evicted. That is what we are worried about." Fati Abubakar
"I come to the market at 6am and sit at my spot. I leave at 6pm. I check all of the women coming into Monday Market. We have to be strict. We have to ensure everyone passes by security checks. I'm dedicated to doing my job." Fati Abubakar
"Boko Haram attacked our village, Malari in Konduga Local Government, and killed my son. So my friend and I found a car and came to Maiduguri. We live with my other son, but he can't feed us all the time, so we beg on the street." Fati Abubakar
"I've a lot of problems with the university. It's seven of us in one room -- that's unhealthy. The water we fetch is also unhealthy. Then the mattresses we were given have all sorts of dirt on them. The toilet is terrible, it's a reservoir for infections. Lectures are 45 minutes per class because of the insurgency. Everyone wants to rush back home. We don't have even time with our tutors. And I'm a bookworm, I love studying, so that's an issue for me." Fati Abubakar
"The Boko Haram terrorists went away with two of my siblings and my brother was shot on our way to Maiduguri. Even after finding safety here, we have lots of problems. Food, rent. We've too (many) issues. And there's not much trade. I sew caps but sometimes you can't even buy the thread because there's no money. The government and NGO food distribution is yet to reach our neighborhood." Fati Abubakar
"She was so quiet it was disturbing," Abubakar recalls on meeting this anonymous subject. "I wonder what scars she came with. The mass relocation to Maiduguri during Boko Haram has brought a lot of the villagers to the town. And one wonders what they had to endure." Fati Abubakar
"(Boko Haram) didn't touch me because they said I was old. So they left with the other women in the town, I heard the women screaming. I didn't sleep for days. But I continued living in the neighborhood, selling groundnut. The (Boko Haram) boys used to come and buy the peanuts as they passed. Day and night I thought of ways to leave the town. Eventually I ran. It took me a week to walk from the village in Baga to Maiduguri." Fati Abubakar
"We used to live so peacefully with our elders, our neighbors, our families, before Boko Haram attacked our village. We had businesses and all of us were doing well, none of us had ever been idle. But then the terrorists chased us out and we ran to Maiduguri. We left with nothing but the clothes on our backs. We've lost everything and almost everyone: wives, children, parents. We don't know anyone, not a lot of people help with jobs. No one gives you a dime. We just sit under the tree, sew caps and go home. Occasionally we sell one and pay rent. We just hope to sell more caps to survive because all the (borders) for other businesses are closed and the terrorists will kill you at the borders if you attempt." Fati Abubakar