Love in Action in Liberia: Summer 2013
Aug 2013 06

Compassion Corps’ work originally began in Morocco, but over the years, we have had the privilege of expanding our reach and bringing on new partners in additional countries. One such country – Liberia – has become especially dear to our hearts since we began work there in 2008. With the exception of 2009, this 24-member 2013 team marked the 5th consecutive year of Compassion Corps’ short-term work in this war-ravaged nation. For the past four years, we have invested heavily in teacher training, which has proven to be one of the biggest needs as Liberia’s infrastructure is recovering from the effects of war. In addition to working with Liberian teachers, this year’s activities also included a few firsts for us:  the first year of inter-school competitions, the first experience with running a free medical clinic in Liberia, the first major water projects installed and dedicated, and the first steps toward vocational training for women.

Having a large team made logistics more complex, but the group embraced each challenge we faced – including the poor road conditions, which are not uncommon to Liberia during the summer (rainy season). Our itinerary was intense and we were able to accomplish an unusually large number of tasks in just 2 short weeks. But the team members would agree that the “glory” of this year’s Liberia trip was not in the number of things done, but rather in the number of people who were blessed in the process of mutual cooperation. People were cared for and our hearts were filled as we worked hand in hand with our partners to address the needs of Liberia’s many orphans, impoverished children, and widows.

It was truly an honor to work alongside indigenous Liberian leaders, who have taken steps to establish and grow their own projects of compassion, such as schools, orphanages, women’s centers, and clinics. They are the real heroes, serving in the context of countless ongoing hardships, but we were thrilled to have been a small part of the great work they are already doing. In fact, we made an intentional effort during this trip to interview and record the stories and testimonies of our partners. Many of them have lived through years of violence and injustice and are now the ones rebuilding what is left of a war-torn nation. We are excited to share their stories with you soon, so stay tuned for future blogs and videos featuring the inspiring accounts of our dear friends in Liberia!

For now, though, we’d like to update you with a brief overview of a few of the things we were able to accomplish during this recent trip. While this is not an exhaustive list, this Report on the Liberia 2013 Trip will offer you a general idea of some of the exciting projects that are happening there.

1st Stop:  GANTA, Nimba County

  • Inspected the newly completed well on the site of Trumpet Baptist Central Church & School grounds – this clean water initiative for the benefit of campus & community was funded by Compassion Corps’ Wheels for Wells Teams
  • Purchased and installed a generator for use by the church and school
  • Provided funding for a student scholarship program for 31 students
  • Completed training for 50 local school teachers & for another 50 school teachers and administrators at Cocopa Rubber Plantation
  • Supplied power & hand tools for a vocational training center & materials for construction of 6 school bulletin boards
  • Taught computer tech & other classes at a rural college
  • Replaced the ceilings in an orphanage dormitory & gave buildings a fresh coat of paint; flip flops & new bed pillows for each child were lovingly provided by the women & girls of Canton Baptist Church & Media Presbyterian Church
  • Recruited and trained a competent young woman leader to help CC with administration of the coffee business as well as the student sponsorship programs
  • Conducted competitions between Trumpet Early Foundation School and Full Gospel Foundation Elementary & Junior HS

 

2nd Stop:  MARTHA’s CHILDREN’S HOME in White Plains

  • Helped finalize a contract to enable a move for Martha Kpawolokpala, her staff and 64 orphaned children and all of their belongings to nearby UMC Retreat Center (their current home is soon to be demolished due to advancing road construction)
  • Outfitted each child & adult’s beds with new sheets and pillows (big THANKS goes out to those who donated, sewed and prepared bedding & decorative wall hangings: Ann Schoen of Media Presbyterian Church, the Young at Heart ladies, the children of Grace Bible Fellowship Church,the ladies at Media Presbyterian Church, Linwood United Methodist Church and the women of Grace Bible Fellowship Church)
  • Prepared the new facility by completing helpful tasks, such as cleaning, doing repairs on the well, septic tank & kitchen, & building a 100-yard-long fence around the property
  • Conducted teacher training at Jesus Christ Community Public School (Martha’s school that also serves the local community) & helped to beautify the school property by painting the school buildings & planting a garden in the school courtyard
  • Ran fun children’s programs and competitions
  • Gave the children gifts of pillowcase dresses (made lovingly by the ladies of Media Presbyterian Church and by the ladies of Canton Baptist Temple in Ohio), t-shirts and soccer jerseys (provided by a soccer club in the Ridley School District)
  • Gathered updated information and photographs as part of CC’s student sponsorship program

 

3rd Stop:  HEALTHLINE Clinic in Barnersville, a suburb of Monrovia

  • Participated in a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the new well that has been installed on the clinic’s property (thank you, Wheels for Wells teams!)
  • Helped Healthline put on a community clinic and children’s activity day, during which  over 200 patients were given check-ups and prescribed meds and multivitamins (another 200 or more patients were seen the following day)
  • Outfitted the clinic with additional medical supplies as well as administrative tools, including a computer
  • Offered computer tech assistance and training as Healthline prepares to open a local cyber café (as an income-generating project for the clinic)
  • Resourced a local soccer program in the community by providing coaches with training books, cones, and other supplies

 

4th stop:  HAWEH ACADEMY in New Georgia, a suburb of Monrovia

  • Conducted teacher training for about 30 teachers from Haweh Academy as well as from the James Kin Freeman School
  • Ran children’s activities and competitions & helped celebrate at commencement programs
  • Distributed school supplies, painted classrooms, and helped build new bulletin boards and chalkboards
  • Repaired computers and set up of Haweh’s computer lab; inventoried supplies and assessed needs for a new science lab
  • Conducted research for a potential student scholarship program at this location

 

5th Stop:  LIGHTHOUSE Baptist Church, Congotown, Monrovia

  • Held championship round for the competing student teams at Lighthouse BC (congrats to Haweh Academy for winning 1st place!)
  • Helped to clean & decorate the church in preparation for LBC’s anniversary parade & celebration
  • At the celebration, attended the ribbon cutting and dedication of a new water system (which includes 6 spigots) for the church and community’s use (thanks, Wheels for Wells riders, donors and sponsors who made this long-hoped for provision possible)
  • Donated funds  as well as sewing machines, fabric & sewing supplies, and power tools toward the development of the new children’s center and vocational training center projects
  • Provided a printer, books, and other resources for church leadership
  • Conducted research on potential sources of coffee and cocoa as well as the possibility of establishing a CC guesthouse and purchasing vehicles for future team use

 

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