This essay on Liberia is written by:  Mr. Dan Machande -

The Villages, Florida USA. 

Mr. Dan Machande and two kids at the Heart of Grace school in Montserrado County, Monrovia - Liberia

I had the opportunity to travel to Liberia over the past couple weeks. To say that the experience was life changing, does not say enough. I was invited to go and work with Change Agent Network and Eric Willise Wowoh at Heart of Grace School. We went there to conduct a training for a group of pastors and school leaders. But what we received in return was much greater.

The trip began with us arriving into country to find out that Baby Judah had arrived at Heart of Grace. Baby Judah’s mother died during child birth and the family could not raise him. He had been living on coconut water and his outlook was bleak. Michelle Clarkson had arrived a week ahead of us to spend a semester teaching at Heart of Grace, but now found her plans changed as she became a caregiver for this little boy! I can only imagine the plans that God has for him and what he will accomplish.

We had the great opportunity to teach a group of school leaders and pastors from around Liberia. Some of the groups traveled 7-8 hours to be at Heart of Grace for the event. Over 3 days we were able to share with them and most importantly they shared with us. It was awesome and humbling to see such an enthusiastic group of leaders who all shared the same hope of providing a better future for Liberia’s Youth!

While at Heart of Grace we got to see the Liberian Youth Orchestra. This is the only orchestra in Liberia and is taught by an instructor from Michigan through online connections. She dials in every afternoon for 3 hours of instruction. The orchestra has kids on a waiting list to participate!

We also got to experience the education that the children are receiving. They educate Kindergarten through 12th grade. The kids are excited to be there and the campus is a center of activity all day long. Kids arrive at 6:45 in the morning and some are around until 10:00 at night! School itself is from 7:30-2:30. It is amazing to feel what is happening with Liberia’s youth.

The teachers and administrators of the school are incredible and support and love their students. The kids are in great hands from what I witnessed.

The financial poverty in Liberia is breathtaking. There are very few options for work. There is a lack of industry, there is no power grid, there is no water or sewer as we know it. There are a couple good roads followed by lots of roads that look like the pictures I posted. It is a hard life, but the people are incredible. I have never encountered a group that gave so much, prayed so much and made sure that everyone else is taken care of.

If you want to know more about my trip, reach out to me. I have many stories that will make you smile, make you cry, make you think and most importantly make you want to get involved.

I will conclude with some numbers. The average age in Liberia is 18. A well paid employee at a school will earn about $60-80 US per month.

What can you do? It costs a student $15 US for uniforms for a year; It costs $140 per year for a student to attend a school for a year; It costs $65,000 US to build a K-12 school that will provide a brighter future for Liberia. Those are small numbers to us, but life changing for our friends in Liberia. If you want to get more information, reach out to me or check out https://www.canintl.org/