Vol. 12


A Casualty of War

1967–1971; Anambra State, Nigeria

As a child growing up in a Nigerian home, I have heard my parents tell us a lot of stories from their past. At times I am saddened by some of the stories, and sometimes glad, but I never cease to learn one or two lessons from their stories. The story of Amazuilo,1 a woman from Nigeria, was an exceptional one, and was also one that I was deeply saddened by, but I learned a lesson I will keep for the rest of my life.

Amazuilo lived in southeast Nigeria and had seven children. During the time she was living in southeast Nigeria, Nigeria was in the middle of a war that broke out in 1967. Due to the severity of this war, the southeastern part of Nigeria was nearly destroyed. Education and health care were nonexistent at the time.

During this war, millions of people died, mainly women and children. Children were left hungry, which led to a disease known as kwashiorkor (severe protein malnutrition). Since the southeast was the epicenter of the war, many children became orphans due to the death of their parents. These were the conditions that Amazuilo was in.

While this war was going on, Amazuilo became pregnant with her seventh child. She was able to carry the pregnancy to term, but unfortunately, on the day of the birth, there were no doctors to deliver the child. With her husband and the help of a midwife, the baby boy was born. Things turned for the worse, though, because after the delivery, Amazuilo developed postpartum hemorrhage,2 which neither her husband nor the midwife knew how to treat. Since there was no transportation and there were very few functioning major hospitals in southeast Nigeria at the time, Amazuilo couldn’t get the treatment she needed, and she died in January of 1971. The baby was taken home, but died a few months later due to the war. There was a belief that his mother had taken him back.

Looking back, I see that Amazuilo, who was my paternal grandmother, was a great person that took care of her children to the best of her ability before her death. Her death could have been prevented, but because of the heavy involvement in the war by so many citizens, she wasn’t able to get the treatment she needed.3 From this story that my dad told me about his mother, I learned that war should be avoided, and steps should be taken to make sure it is avoided.

Diuto Mozie; North Carolina, USA


1. “Amazuilo” is pronounced ah-mah-zoo-EE-loh.

2. Postpartum hemorrhage is severe bleeding following delivery of a baby.

3. In the Igbo language “Amazuilo” means “you never know all your enemies.”



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


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