Liberia

Thanks For Investing Into the Lives of the Liberian Children!

Thanks for investing into the lives of the Liberian Children!

liberian_wowoh liberian_sponsors2013

Volunteers Make An Impact

The best way to predict the future of our children, is to simply get involved with the process in creating it ourselves! Thanks for believing and investing into the lives of the Liberian Children.

After a town meeting in my birth town of Fissibu I was introduced with the Hope 2 Liberia team. This is where the water training began. It was a joy to see town leaders embrace the training and desire to share this new safe drinking water with others. Before leaving, Hope 2 Liberia President Sam Wrisley promised 52 more water systems, which equaled the number of villages that made up the Fissibu area.  The reaction of the leaders was one of joy and true hope. Ironically, upon their return to Monrovia where they had cell service again, Hope 2 Liberia Board Member Dave Rawls called from the USA to let them know that a church in southern Indiana had just committed to buying 50 water systems. Praise the Lord, God truly provides! Thank you for your dedication, time and all that you do.

Thank you to the Water of Life organization. You are helping my fellow Liberians to develop safe and sustainable water sources for our communities. Water For Life's mission in helping communities in need develop safe and sustainable water sources is a beautiful mission. They are combining formal instruction with hands-on training teaching people how to construct and maintain their own local water resources. Their focus is not simply to provide safe drinking to those in need but to help people gain the knowledge and experience they need to help themselves and their communities. Thank you for your willingness to teach us and show us a better way. Your kindness and diligent patience with us we are so grateful.

Many thanks to our partner The Last Well organization based in Texas for helping to provide clean, safe and affordable drinking water to thousands of Liberians nationwide. We say thanks for visiting and investing in Liberia in 2013! We are excited already and can’t wait to partner with you in fulfilling your mission to provide safe and affordable drinking water to the entire nation of Liberia by the end of this decade. Thereby practically demonstrating the love of Christ to the poor!

We say a big thank you to our Double, Double Team from Texas US for visiting Liberia and contributing positively in changing the lives of the struggling Liberian people. We truly appreciate your time and resources invested in this country. God bless you richly! We are very excited and looking forward to what God has in store for 2014 at Change Agent Network for Liberia and the world. We are thankful for everything!

To all of our dynamic Louisiana based Travel to Impact Liberia Team members which include my home church members Trinity Bible Church, we say thank you so much for believing and investing in the vision to totally transform the next generation of Liberians. We are all one big family now! Your visit to Liberia in 2013, took us to a new height in our endeavors. God bless you richly! We are very excited and looking forward to 2014 at Change Agent Network for Liberia and the world. We are very thrilled about everything!

We have so many agents of change from a variety of age groups. Most of our Change For Change Fundraisers are led by American Students around the nation who have been proactive in collecting change and donating. We have so many wonderful friends at West Minster Christian Academy in Lafayette LA. I remember when I was catching up with them with updates on their projects in Liberia. I was recollecting how these wonderful students are some of our most reliable generous partners who have committed themselves to helping transform the educational future of the children of Liberia. We are very proud of them! These are some of the most amazing children in my life! They make me feel like a rock star whenever I visit their school campus. When I have a real bad day, all I have to do, is to simply pay them a visit and they would help change the whole story for the better.

We hope that you will consider to be an agent of change and volunteer. Let your imagination go wild and tell us what is something the Lord is laying on your heart? We would love to see you and/or your team come. We have so many projects that you can help contribute to as well as numerous opportunities to change the life of one child or individual at a time, one step at a time as we all together help to reshape the future of the next generation positively.

God bless you all richly!

Our Johnsonville Guest House in Liberia is Finally Completed!

The Guest House The Guest House The Guest House The Guest House The Guest House The Guest House The Guest HousePraise God! Our third guest house construction project is finally completed.

This guest house is called the Johnsonville Hidden Eye Guest House. It is located on the same piece of property where we have the Heart of Grace High School and other facilities.

Whenever you want to visit us in Liberia, accommodation is no longer a problem! We have safe and clean running water, fresh toilets, reliable electricity supply and very delicious meals all just for you.

Thanks to our partners at TBC in Lafayette Louisiana for making this a dream comes true for Liberia. We are very thrilled and God bless you all for your sacrifices! Merry Christmas!

Start Planning Your Trip To Liberia We Have Room For You and Your Team

To reserve a room it is $30.00USD per night. If you want to make a reservation for any of our guest houses in Liberia, we will be highly honored to serve you. Please feel free to contact us via E-mail at: info@canintl.org or phone numbers: +231-886-547-917, +231-886-708-251

Our Multipurpose Hall in Liberia Almost Completed!

Multipurpose Hall Multipurpose Hall Multipurpose Hall Multipurpose Hall Multipurpose HallRemember “he that waters, shall be watered himself”.

These are pictures highlighting about 80% completion of our multipurpose assembling hall at the Heart of Grace High School in Johnsonville, Liberia.  By the special grace and provision of God, we now have our own permanent place for hosting regular morning devotion services for the school and students, PTA meetings, community gathering, wedding programs and other activities that has to do with the gathering of a large of number of people.

We have started well therefore, we must finish well! It is not yet over. About 20% of more work to be done on this building. Please continue to keep us in your prayers and thoughts. Get involved with something bigger than all of us today and leave behind you a lasting legacy!

We want to sincerely thank you so much for your financial, moral, physical and spiritual support towards the progress made thus far on this important piece of project. May God bless you!

Thank you and God bless!

Eric Wowoh

 

 

 

 

150 Persons From CAN Attended The 2013 Global Leadership Summit

150 individuals from Change Agent Network-Liberia attended the 2013 Global Leadership Summit in Liberia.The founder and Executive of Change Agent Network {CAN} our own Eric Wowoh and 150 beneficiaries of CAN’s programs were given a special invitation to participate in the 2013 Leadership Conference by the local Liberian Organizing Committee of the Global Leadership Summit for 2013. Eric Wowoh was specifically invited to share his experiences and leadership skills with those who are currently serving in leadership positions and also local young emerging Liberian leaders.

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100 students from our Heart of Grace High School in the Monrovia area participated in this year's summit. The program was held at Executive Pavilion in Monrovia from the 5 through the 6 of December 2013. Out of about 1500 students, we sent our best 100 emerging leaders to the conference. GLS was as usual, absolutely impactful in the lives of both our students and staff of our schools in two counties. Many thanks to all of you who help to make this amazing program possible for our students and staff to attend in Liberia. We have started seeing lot of changes in lives of our local leaders already. What a great gift you have given to these promising emerging leaders of our world! God bless!  

This year’s Global leadership Summit in Liberia was held in two major counties and cities which are Montserrado County the city of Monrovia and Kakata City in Margibi County. It is our sincere hope and prayer that the Global Leadership Summit would reach out to more of our people in 2014 in faraway counties like Bong County in Central Liberia and Lofa County which is located in the northern part of the country. 

We believe that, the Global Leadership Summit is really what we need at this present critical moment to help prepare and properly shape our young emerging leaders for their future leadership challenges in a post war nation like Liberia.

Change Agent Network Builds New Guest Houses in Liberia

First Option Guest House

Come Be Our Guest

Our brand new guest house at the Heart of Grace High School in Lower Johnsonville community area in Liberia is almost completed. We are very excited about the visit of our Louisiana based Travel to Impact Liberia Team who will be in the country within the next  few weeks by the grace of God.

This group will be the very first people to stay at this beautiful guest house called the Hidden Eye Guest House. Many thanks to my home church in Lafayette Louisiana Trinity Bible Church, for helping to make this a real dream come true for the people of Liberia!  We are very grateful for everything and may God continue to bless the good works of theirs hands!

Now, we have the capacity to adequately deal with accommodation problems for any size of group wanting to visit us in Liberia. Thanks as usual for your continuous prayers and supports of this organization!

 Guest House Guest House Guest House

 

 

 

Three New Guest Houses Already Built in Liberia

In the last year and a half, we have built three different guest houses in Liberia:

  1. The first guest house that we built is called Hope Guest House which is located in Marshall, Margibi County Liberia. God willing, this is the same place where we are determining to build our Hope Academy High School and The National Hope Center of Liberia. These structures are being built on an eight acres of land. The space made available to us through our partner Hope2Liberia organization based in Muncie, Indiana USA.
  2. And then, the second one is called The Hidden Eye Guest House which is located in Gbarnga City, Bong County, Liberia situated on the same property with our newly constructed high school called Alexandria A. Andrews Academy.
  3. The very first of its kind, our third guest house has been built in the Johnsonville Community area is also called The Hidden Eye Guest House. This new guest facility is built on the same land along side the Heart of Grace High School Campus in City View, Lower Johnsonville Community area of Liberia.

 

Why Build Guest Houses?

One may ask the question why an organization like Change Agent Network that is heavily committed and involved with providing educational opportunities and human resource development programs to the less fortunate in society, is now in the business of constructing guest houses around the country?

The primary reason for building these guest houses at all of our locations in the country is to provide our local and international guests, partners and friends of our organization as well as the general public with a safe, comfortable and hospitable resting place. Providing them with a home away from home blended with a traditional Liberian flavor and standard!

Secondly, this is a part of our enterprise development strategy that is geared towards sustainability of our organization programs. That is, these guest houses would serve as local revenue generation schemes to help financially sustain our organization’s numerous educational and human resource development programs in Liberia.

What’s the difference between our guest houses and others?

Your comfort, joy, peace and security are the most important things to us! Meeting your needs and serving you with great smile and humility is our number one priority. Our guest houses are built and structured in a very special way that is unique for the hosting of mission teams, organization groups, field trips and students’ outing teams.

Start Planning Your Trip To Liberia We Have Room For You and Your Team

If you want to make a reservation for any of our guest houses in Liberia, we will be highly honored to serve you. Room rates start at $30 per night. Please feel free to contact us via E-mail at: info@canintl.org or phone numbers: +231-886-547-917, +231-886-708-251 

SOS MESSAGE FROM CHANGE AGENT NETWORK-LIBERIA

Heart of Grace High School is a tuition free institution which was built in 2008 to help provide educational opportunities to poor and needy students in post-war Liberia where the educational system was totally destroyed as the result of the 14 years of civil conflict.

This great educational opportunity was made possible for the children of Liberia through the grace of God and the generous contributions of many individuals and organizations in the US. See how happy and grateful these kids are, you just can’t imagine their in-depth feelings as they expressed how they feel indebted to you for this  unimaginable opportunity that have  been given to them. Little Jeantee Gondy expressed her feeling this way, “This is the best school I have ever seen in my entire life and I am very happy to be a part of this school”. Little Emmanuel Slontee Browne in the 9th grade class said “I am very grateful and wish to say thank you very much for this great help, even though you do not know us you make us feel like we are a real part of you God bless!”

On behalf of the Heart of Grace High School and Change Agent Network-Liberia, we want to thank you all who help to make this a real dream come true. Many thanks to you our partners, supporters, contributors, donors and friends of this worthy cause which is truly transforming lives in Liberia.

We Urgently Need Your Help to Complete the Construction this Multipurpose Building IMG_2304 (800x600)

Heart of Grace High School is situated in Lower Johnsonville, Montserrado County, Liberia. The school has over 1,500 students and 57 staff and administrators. The school currently lacks an assembly hall to host our early morning devotional or prayer programs and major activities including graduation ceremonies, Sunday church services, back-to-school programs and other community-led activities.

How You Can  Help?

The entire cost of constructing this all- important piece of project is $30,000USD. However, we have raised and spent about $15,000 out of $30,000 on this project already. Therefore, we asking you to kindly assist us in providing the remaining $15,000 United States Dollars to finally complete this work. It is easier when you have a lot of people pushing the wagon then one person doing all of the pushing by himself. Therefore, every cent and dollar counts in transforming the life of every boy and girl, one individual at a time and one step at a time!

Please be informed that this is our most pressing need right now. However, we will be sending you more comprehensive proposal of needs surrounding our various projects across the nation between now and the end of the year 2013 targeting implementation in 2014.

The construction of this multipurpose hall actually started in late July of 2013 with the intention of completing it before September and October 2013 which are the major raining months in Liberia. However, we are currently unable to financially fund this project at our local level in Liberia because our major fundraiser in the US who is Mr. Eric Willise Wowoh, is presently based in Liberia helping to supervise various projects across the nation.

Nevertheless, we are very optimistic that by the grace of God, this piece of project will be completed by the timeline set through your kind generous financial donations.

If You Don’t Help, What Would Be The Side-Effect?  

During our August 2013 Computer School graduation program, we stood helpless and with deep feelings of regret as we observed the kids move back and forth in the heavy down pour of rain. The number of students graduating on that day was about ninety three (93). As a result of the rainfall, the program was sadly disrupted. This happened because of the lack of a proper hall to host our program. The ceremony was held in an open field with the hope that it wouldn’t rain on that day due to the initial weather condition. Children along with there parents were mostly affected by the rainfall as all of our clothes and shoes were completely socked with rain water. This was also an embarrassment for the institution because both our guests, equipment and program participants were affected.  

Currently, there is a halt in the hosting of our regular Christian morning devotional prayer, worship announcement and exultation of God’s word to both community members and the school. We were forced to shut down this spiritual transformation program due to lack of funding to complete this building project.

To conclude, it is with the leading of God that we seek your kind gesture towards helping us complete this important and urgent piece of project!  It is our fervent hope and prayer that you would consider our humble request because we believe that this is a bridge that we must all cross over together.

We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible as time is not our friend at this moment. You can reach us via email: ericwillise@canintl.org or phone numbers: +231886547917 / +231886708251.

Remember “he that waters, shall be watered himself”.

Thanks and God bless!

Students In Bong County Liberia Take First Entrance Exams

AA Andrews Entrance Exams

Brand New School Opens Doors September 2013

Our new school in Gbarnga, Bong County Liberia called Alexandria A. Andrews Academy, gave her first entrance examination on Monday, July 15, 2013.

AA Andrews Entrance Exams

AA Andrews Entrance Exams

Here are some pictures of the Alexandria A. Andrews Academy school buildings in Gbarnga, Bong County Liberia, West Africa.

The Senior High School BuildingIMG_1034 (1024x768)Elementary School Building

The Entrance Examination in Liberia, is required by law to be given to students who have the desire to leave their former school in the coming school year to attend a new one like ours. 

This is done in compliance with the Liberian Ministry of Education Prerequisite. This is also done in preparation for the opening of the school to the general public for the next academic year 2013-2014 which begins in September 2013.

In total, above five hundred students took our first entrance exams last week. Entrance exams are only given to students from the 1st grade class through 12th. The real purpose of the entrance examinations is to help the school evaluate the student’s academic ability and determine proper class placement.

Alexandria A. Andrews Academy has scheduled three different entrance examinations to be given out on the following dates: The first entrance exams has already been conducted on July 15th, 2013 the second one will be on the 22nd of July and the very last one will be conducted on July 29th, 2013.

These different exams are given in order to deal with the huge influx of students who have the burning desire to attend our school next academic year 2013-2014. And also to give every student an opportunity to get admission into the school.

Thanks a million to all of you for your continual valuable support and prayers for this organization. We can’t express the joy and excitement on the faces of the poor parents and their children in this town about this new development right in their backyard.

Change Agent Network Extends its Development Programs to Lofa County, Liberia

This is a quick update specifically on our on-going school human resource development projects in Lofa County, Liberia. This school project started in 2012 with the donation of a five acres of land space from the village people from Fessibu Town for the construction of a multipurpose leaning center. LOFA SCHOOL PROJECT 2013

This new school project is located in a town called Fessibu within the Zorzor District area of Lofa County Republic of Liberia. Both Zorzor and Fessiibu towns, are just about 15 minutes drive apart from each other.

Construction work on the first building which is 100 X 70 ft in dimension was expected to be completed by December last year (2012). Unfortunately, we could not complete the building within this time frame due to financial constraints, the lack of water and bad land road conditions in the country which made it difficult to transport building materials across the nation.

However, the project is nearing completion. The roof and zinc or tent has been placed on. The remaining work is to plaster the entire building and put the ceiling up. We intend to complete this project by the end of 2013.

What we need at this moment, is 400 desks and blacks for our classrooms at this new school facility which is about 9-12 hours drive from the nation’s capital city of Monrovia.

This piece of property have a school facility running from Nursery through twelve grade.  There is also a public library and a computer training center The facility will be used by at least 2,000 persons including students, teachers, professionals and ordinary citizens for research, training, and capacity building programs as well as peace making and conflict resolution.

This project is very crucial to the work we are doing in Liberia. Lofa County is the second largest county in the country; comprising six of the sixteen tribal groups of Liberia. This is one of the second county in the country that was mostly affected by the 14 years civil war.

The completion of this project will go a long way in bringing hope and creating educational and employment opportunities for the local people in this under-resourced part of the world. We look  forward to your  continuous support  and  generous  contribution  as  we strive  to provide opportunities for  the  poor and oppress people of Liberia, one child at a time and one step at a time as we put hands together to build a nation.

WHY LOFA COUNTY?

THE FLAG OF LOFA COUNTY

When Liberia's civil war finally ended in 2003, there were no more than 1,000 schools in operation: over 50% of the country's schools had been destroyed. The post-war population was 2.5 million, but that has now increased to 3.5 MN. following the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees, who had been displaced in neighboring countries. About 1.75 MN. Of the population is under 15 years-old with 5%-6% suffering from HIV/AIDS. The challenges facing post-conflict Liberia are immense: with only 2,000 teachers, 62% of whom have no formal training, how do the politicians immediately meet the educational needs of the country's children without letting down a generation?

 Lofa is a county in the northernmost portion of the West African nation of Liberia. One of 15 counties that comprise the first-level of administrative division in the nation, it has six districtsVoinjama serves as the capital with the area of the county measuring 9,982 square kilometres (3,854 sq mi).[1] As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 270,114, making it the fourth most populous county in Liberia.[1]

Lofa's County Superintendent is Galakpai Kortimai.[2] The county is bordered by Bong County to the south and Gbarpolu County to the west. The northwestern parts of Lofa border the nation of Sierra Leone and the northeastern parts borderGuineaMount Wuteve, the highest mountain in Liberia, lies in the north-central part of the county.

THE MAP OF LIBERIA WITH THE LOCATION OF LOFA COUNTY HIGHLIGHTED

 As of the 1984 Census, the county had a population of 199,242.[1] Many people left the area as refugees in 1999 and the early 2000s as it became a main focus of fighting during the Liberian civil war. The Red Cross said that in January 2004 many people had begun to return from refugee camps in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone. At that time the county's population was estimated to be 34,310.[3] The largest city and county capital is Voinjama with a population of 4,945.Foya is the second largest city (population 1,760). Lofa produced one of the nations most respected leaders in the late vice president Dr. Harry F. Moniba who served from 1984 - 1990.

CAN Helping to Build More Bridges between Liberia and the World

CAN AND THE LASTWELLOver the past weekend of the May 25 through the 27 of 2013, we had the great privileged of attending a dinner night and vision discussion about Liberia with our partner organization called The Last Well based in Rockwall, Texas USA.

 The Last Well organization, is a Christ Centered nonprofit group that have committed itself to bringing clean, safe and pure drinking water to the entire nation of Liberia as well as helping to invest into the future of a struggling nation through educational and human resource development programs by the end of this decade.

 We are very honor to stand side by side with The Last Well in seeing this vision comes to fulfillment by His grace. To learn more about the The Last Well, please visit: http://thelastwell.org/

CAN AND THE LASTWELL CAN AND THE LASTWELL

 

 

 

 

ATTENDING THE PARTNERSHIP AND FUNDRAISING EVENT NIGHT IN TEXAS 

Thursday, April 18th 2013 was the last time we were in the Dallas area of Texas. We were in Rockwall specifically to help fundraise for the The Last Well. Honestly, It was a very humbling and an eye opening experience to attend that  fund raising event held in Rockwall, Texas.

Few pictures from the event: 

THE LASTWELL FUND RAISING NIGHT THE LASTWELL FUND RAISING NIGHT THE LASTWELL FUND RAISING NIGHT

 

Three New Schools Built In Gbarnga, Bong County, Liberia.


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DSCN0328Today, I want to update you on the progress of one of our on-going major educational and human development projects located in Gbarnga, Bong County Central Liberia, West Africa.

By the grace of God, in November of 2012, we were able to purchased 5 acres of land in this strategic part of the country primarily to be used as a center for educational opportunity, capacity building, heath care provision, mental, spiritual and infrastructural development for the suffering people of this county.

The first phase of this piece of project is the academic section. This new school will run from Nursery through grade 12. The school is called Alexandria A. Andrews Academy. And it is expected to be launched opened by the next academic year in Liberia which begins in September of 2013 .

DSCN0320DSCN0310DSCN0302Currently, we have finished with the junior and high school buildings and we are working towards completing the Nursery and Elementary school buildings. Please continue to pray for the successful completion of the third building as well as the administrative and auditorium buildings.

We are very excited about what God is doing at this moment in this place! And we are anxiously looking forward to working with the strong and determined people of this great county in moving Liberia forward in the right direction.

This entire new facility is called the New Breed Center. When fully completed, will be providing the following programs:

  1. Leadership Training (model after Christ)
  2. Vision Casting
  3. Business & Entrepreneurship
  4. Vocational Training, etc.

From our current pre-registration, we now have 1,500 students who are excited and anxiously waiting to start coming to school in September. They can't wait and the world can't wait!

In my opinion, education is the one only true gift that we can ever give to the children of today who are the future leaders of tomorrow. The reason being that, no one can steal, or rob them off that gift. Even when they die, they die with their gift and take it with them forever!

We are thrilled and very thankful to our dear friends, family members in Christ and partners in progress from the great county of Rockwall in the State of Texas USA for helping to bring hope through this incredible development and educational opportunity to the struggling people in this part of the world.

We are very grateful for everything you have done for us thus far! May God continue to bless you beyond human comprehension as you continue to use your life and resources to meet the needs of the disadvantage in our midst.

Some Facts About Liberia's Educational Crisis:

Liberia is the 2nd poorest country in the world. And She has one of the highest illiteracy rates as well. The Liberian Illiteracy rate is about 80%. With an estimated population of three and the half million people, this means that four out of five Liberians cannot read or write. The cost of education is expensive in Liberia. School tuition in most high schools is about $100 which averages out to be $9 per month. However due the 85% unemployment rate in Liberia, most parents or families cannot afford to send their children to school as the war average Liberian family earns less than $1 USD a day.

Educational opportunity for every Liberian child, is extremely important to the development of the future of that individual in particular and to the future of the country at large. This is simply because, education plays a key role in fighting and reducing poverty as well as child labor out of our world. That's the reason why we at Change Agent Network, eight years ago, decided to get involved with providing educational opportunities to the children of Liberia. Our goal is to reach all 16 counties of the country with qualitative and affordable educational programs to as many Liberians as we possibly can within the next five years.

Quick Facts About Gbarnga, Bong County Liberia:Map of Bong County

Gbarnga is the capital city of Bong County, Liberia, lying north east of Monrovia. Bong County is one of the over 13 political subdivisions of Liberia known as counties. During the First Liberian Civil War, it was the base for Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia. Cuttington College lies near the town and its campus was once home to the Africana Museum, now destroyed.

As of the 2008 census, Gbarnga has a population of 34,046. Of this: 16,080 were male and 17,966 female; it is the fourth most populous urban area in Liberia.
Gbarnga is the hometown of Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League.
The town is twinned with Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States.

Report on My Incredible Visit to Liberia 2012

Ms. Fran ClarkeFor some reason, it seemed like such a natural thing for me to do—travel to a remote jungle village in Lofa County, Liberia. Perhaps it is because I’ve been enthralled by the reality tv show ‘Tribal Wives’ and trekked alongside adventurers while watching National Geographic. Regardless, when the invitation came, it did not occur to me to not go.

Many immunizations later and with a suitcase packed with uncommon items like snake bite kits (do you know that snakebite is the leading cause of death in Liberia?!), peace flags, hundreds of Wet Ones and disinfectants, a lot of snack bars, twenty pounds of batteries and flashlights, three cameras and a recorder, and gifts for my ‘Sisters’ and I was ready to depart. Shuck...I was three pounds underweight! It is a long flight….seventeen hours on the airplane.

Immediately upon our arrival at Heart of Grace School (HOG) in Lower Johnsonville we were greeted with the most enthusiastic welcome I’ve ever received and, by a father with his five year old daughter The young child and her father at the schoolI quickly realized that he was telling us that her mother had died and was asking us to take her home with us. This was the first of very many times when my reality would be shaken and my heart torn open.

After a few days spent at HOG we began the nine-hour journey into the heart of the jungle on dirt roads with potholes large enough to swallow a bus.  We were told that those who break down often have to wait two weeks for help to arrive. Along the way we stopped to visit the sites of two additional CAN projects.

At one site, women had cleared the road in two weeks with axes and machetes. Notice that it goes uphill! When that job was finished they carried buckets of sand from the river to mix with mortar and mold into building tiles. Then they carried those on their heads to the site being cleared for the buildings.

I hardly noticed that it was 10:30pm and we were still traveling. Iron gates appeared out of nowhere, and Eric announced that this is where we would be staying for the night—the Pakistani Military Base! Well, last time I checked relations between Pakistan and U.S. weren’t too good! I didn’t have time to be scared, but the thought of being kidnapped did cross my mind! I wondered how much I would be worth and, I thought of how much I love my children. Once again, perceptions shattered. The men there couldn’t have been nicer or more gracious! We stayed for three nights, and left having made new friends and an expanded world view.

The next morning, we drove to Zuwulor Village. As we approached the village I got out of the vehicle and walked alone, across the river where women and children were doing the wash. It was the most sacred walk I have ever taken. It felt strangely familiar since I had studied photos from Eric’s trip many times.

Krubo (who I recognized from her photo) came running to me. During my first conversation with Yassah Ford, she gave me the African name, Krubo which means ‘leader’. My namesake was hugging and bringing me to her house. “What’s mine is yours,” she said in Loma dialect. After picture taking with her family, we continued walking until we found Yassah and other women. This was the moment I had long waited for. Hugs and squeals and then she put me on her back. The tradition is one of honoring. It means, “I will carry you anywhere. You are that important to me.” We exchanged a few gifts and then the dancing began!

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DSC09222Soon after, with a drummer and percussionists and more women joining, we danced our way to the open-air community building where I was greeted by the village chief and presented with the gourd and kola nuts, a tradition passed down from the ancestors, and the white chicken. It is a ritual of being honored and welcomed. Thankfully, my chicken was rather tame and had its feet tied! The celebration of drumming and dancing lasted for over six hours both days. This was the second celebration in the history of the village, the first being after the harvest of the peanut crops from our initial $700 investment.

Little known to me at the time, we are the first people who have come to help them since the fourteen year brutal war ended six years ago. Yes, it was a big celebration, and over six hundred people participated!

We presented Yassah’s Sisters with a palm oil press, cassava mill, three universal nut shellers, and thirty solar lanterns. This equipment will revolutionalize the processing of crops grown and substantially enhance their ability to cultivate sustainable livelihood.

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 We were gifted with beautiful gown of hand woven country cloth, indigenous to that region. What an honor that was! More gifts, more dancing, more drumming…I wanted to savor every moment of this incredible experience!

 We received beautiful gown of hand woven country cloth

Fran & EricA group picture of our team

The African heat was intense as we toured the various headquarters where crops of peanuts, rice and palm oil are stored until they can be brought to market. The degree of organization, skill, and resilience of these women is profound! Each group prepared a lovely display of their produce, complete with the money they’ve made thus far. They are so very grateful for the assistance of their American friends, happy to be given the opportunity to work to feed their families. Our women walk two and a half hours to the farm every day and then back again. Back at the village they then take care of gathering wood and water, and serving the needs of their families.

To date we now have four groups of women and one group of men, totaling 110. We accepted more women from a neighboring village who have been waiting for over a year, with their initial start up money of $700. As with the original group of twenty five, these women will put in place a pay-it-forward program so that other women from their community can benefit.

An extraordinary gift from the village chief was a donation of fifteen acres of land for future development. Our plans will be to build a school and clinic, A Place for Women where they can gather and heal, and a regional market where the women can sell produce. We have already begun to build a storage facility for the equipment and produce with an attached house for Yassah. The women of Yassah’s Sisters have far exceeded our expectations and we are determined to exceed theirs!

Another group of women that we are assisting in Lower Johnsonville are the City View Women’s Group, eighty women all eager to learn and work hard. They are not part of the agricultural cooperative. Instead, they learn skills of tailoring, tie dying, soap making, and bead making.

This culture thrives on community spirit. Anything they have is shared, and decisions are made with the good of the community as the primary goal. Nestled in between the obvious differences I found what we all share in common. Like mothers everywhere, the women of Liberia dedicate their lives to their families; they want food and education for their children.

When it was time to leave the village we were escorted with ‘royal’ procession. It is tradition for dancers to block the vehicle and for its occupants to throw money to the dancers. In such a short time, we had come to love each other. Departing was bittersweet and already I long to return. It is easy to absorb that we are one world, one people, one heart beating to a synchronistic universal rhythm.

Repeatedly, I heard the phrase “TIA….This is Africa”. Yes, this is Africa, a land of contrasts of great joy in the midst of profound poverty, natural beauty in the midst of squalor….a place where time has no meaning and schedules are non-existent. The people in Liberia are gracious beyond description and even though their need for basic necessities of life is overwhelming, it is rare that one will ask for anything.

War has torn apart their families, destroyed every aspect of their country—infrastructure of roads and bridges, education, medical—to name a few. In most areas, illiteracy is ninety percent, unemployment almost as high, poverty is rampant and disease takes lives unnecessarily. But, all of these hardships have not broken their spirit. There is a determination to work tirelessly and selflessly to rebuild the country through education of its children, the future leaders of the country.

The women of Yassah’s sisters are strong, determined, resilient, passionate, bright, and hard-working beyond comprehension. It is the women who brought peace to this country and it is the women who will rebuild it. They are grateful for the sun, the rain, for those of us who come to be among them, and for the hope that is in their hearts for a better life for their children. Always, they send blessings to us and our families. And I, having experienced the beauty of their spirit and goodness return home grateful for clean running water and for the opportunity to know and walk with them.

To get involved with this all-important women development program and how you can help, please click here: http://canintl.org/our-programs/yassahs-sisters-program/

 

The Construction of a Cafeteria and Medical Clinic in Johnsonville, Liberia.

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New Cafeteria and Medical Clinic

We bring you special greetings from the children at the Heart of Grace Nursery, Elementary, Junior and Senior High School in Johnsonville, Montserrado County, Liberia West Africa. Since they have no means of reaching you in person by themselves, they have asked me to help extend their heartfelt gratitude to you for your genuine love, support and prayers of their school and education in a tough environment like Liberia.

The school population has grown overtime. We now have about two thousand students as of March 2013 attending school free of charge. This is of course a sharp increment of five hundred additional students from the initial population of one thousand five hundred students we had in 2012. The cafeteria and medical clinic projects for the School, is very close to completion.

We currently do not provide food for these children to eat at school at all. And there is also no medical clinic in the entire community. Nothing less than five of our precious children come to school with either chronic Malaria or Fever every single day that we have to take to hospital at our own expense because the parents are just too poor to pay hospital bills for their children.

New Cafeteria and Medical Clinic BuildingMany thanks and appreciation to the students of the few schools in the great states of both Louisiana and Missouri for helping to build this new cafeteria and medical clinic for their fellow students in Liberia.

We are also very grateful to all of the wonderful and loving individuals, families, businesses and organizations out there that have assisted in some form or the other in making this a dream come true for the struggling children of post war Liberia! Please pray for the final completion of this worthy piece of project.

 These are the beautiful faces of thankfulness whose lives you are helping to change for the better in Liberia!

Students Thankful! (5) Students Thankful! (2) Students Thankful! (1)   

 

 

 

 

If we can raise the funds we need, these facilities and programs should be fully completed and ready for use by the children in June of 2013. Our financial goal is to raise $15,000 United States Dollars to enable us finish these projects so that the children can start eating in their new lunch room for the very first time ever in the history of this entire community of about 17,000 people.

Please go to the phone right now and call us to find out how you can help: 1-337-781-4208 or simply use our safe online donation button to make a contribution to this noble cause today: http://canintl.org/how-you-can-help/

Thanks for making a difference today in the lives of these precious children and may God bless you and your family as well for your kind gesture! 

For more information about the Heart of Grace Nursery, Elementary, Junior and Senior high school in Liberia, click here: http://canintl.org/our-programs/the-heart-of-grace-high-school/

Here are some pictures highlighting the progression of the construction works of the projects taken in March of 2013. 

Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 1 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 2 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 3 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 4 DSC02215 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 5 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 6 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 8 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 7 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 9 Cafeteria and Clinic Construction 10 New Cafeteria and Medical Clinic Building

Make A Difference In Rural Women's Lives in Liberia

Yassah's SistersIt is amazing that a small amount of money can make such a big impact! The women of Lofa County, Liberia celebrated their first harvest of peanuts and sale of palm oil, made possible by the generosity of people in Acadiana through the Yassah’s Sisters program. This beginning initiative was the result of our first investment of funds given to a group of 15 women. The hard work of these amazing women is matched with their dedication and conscientious fulfillment of responsibilities. Eric’s subsequent visit to check progress and plan for the next phase of the program was cause for a 2-day celebration—the first ever in the history of the village. Never before had these women had something to celebrate. Never before had they had a reason to have hope. Click to continue reading more…