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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I wanted to sit down and tell you about our weekend. I wanted talk about moving a cubic yard of dirt from the back end of Michael's truck to the new garden boxes that I put together. I hauled dirt while Michael put the lawnmower back together and worked on getting metal cloth on the chicken coop. I wanted to tell you about how we put the chickens in a small pen outside so they could feel grass under their feet and sun on their beaks. I wanted to tell about the funny moment when Foghorn flew up to the top of the pen and Michael said "NO! Foghorn, NO!" like she was a dog. Then I wanted to complain about tree pollen and how it's pretty much done me in and I am now in the market for a new allergy med. It just doesn't seem fair that someone who wants to be outside can't be outside.

Then I realized it's been one year since 300 girls where abducted from their school in Nigeria. One year and those girls are still missing. Those girls, if they are still alive, have all had a birthday. Each one is a year older. Each one has a mother and father who have spent the last year wondering where their little girl is, if she's at least being kept warm and fed. At the very least. Because we know in reality, that girl has been forced into a religion other than her own, raped and brutalized, forced to marry and enslaved. It's 2015 and we still live in a world where slavery exists and women have less value than livestock. My sinus headache from allergies doesn't even make a mark compared to the scars on these girls. I am at once shamed by my minor complaints and how shallow they sound when voiced out loud. It makes me feel gross and disappointed with myself because I remember a year ago. I remember jumping up and on the hashtag bandwagon to Bring Back Our Girls. I remember at the time wanting to stay vigilant about this. I did not want these girls to be forgotten.  

Time passes. In the year since those girls were taken, I have traveled the Dakotas, lost my Dad, ridden over a thousand miles on the scooter,  gone on a number of adventures, witnessed a good friend's wedding, bought chickens and started a new garden. One year. All of that in just one year all while forgetting my promise to keep this story alive. It was weeks after the girls were taken before the news here even started to cover any of it and I was so angry that it was not front page news from day one. Now, even I have allowed this story to become a footnote. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling helpless and insignificant. I am sure those feelings of helplessness and insignificance pales in comparison to how helpless and insignificant the parents of those girls are feeling a year later with still no word of where their child is. 

I forgot that while my year was spinning forward in a mixture of love, sadness, laughter and joy, the year for the missing Nigerian school girls just stopped. I broke my promise to them with my complacency. I broke my promise to them by forgetting that even though I can't do much, I can keep the conversation about how these young girls matter alive. Because at the end of the day, all lives matter regardless of race or gender. All lives matter.

Bring Back Our Girls!