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United we can do more for girls in Africa

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I just spoke with one of my daughters on the phone and she said something and I looked at the photos on my "love wall" in my study. On the wall are photos of students at Camphor Mission school in Liberia and another of three girls about age 8 or 9. In their culture they have been told that their role is to have babies. If a girl's father has not been killed in the rebel war or by AIDS, he is uneducated and works at whatever he can do to earn $2.00 a day to feed his family. Women are not given the right to learn about birth control, so if a girl starts having babies at age 14 or so, she will have about 10 children, if she survives childbirth. The statistics say, that if a girl goes to school until age 14 or so, she won't have that first baby until maybe age 18, so will have many less children. She also will be educated and have some skills, like reading, writing and math, which she may use at a job to earn money.

One of the Staff men at Camphor Mission school told me that if he gets two cups of rice a day, same for his family, he can survive. Rice currently cost about $50.00 for a 100 pound sack and will make about 100 meals (these are facts). His one meal a day cost .50 per serving. If he and his wife have two children, that's the $2.00 a day cost.

In the US girls are encouraged to make something of themselves and plan to support themselves by getting a good education. The same thing SHOULD be true for girls everywhere, don't you think?

I don't want to depress you, but when a Methodist team went to Liberia in 2005, when they were riding in the van one day, they saw a young woman standing on the edge of the road. She was bare from the waist up and had a white stripe painted from the top of her head to her waistline. When asked, the driver told our team member, "Oh, that means that she is for sale. There are too many children in her family and the income her father will get for her, will feed the family for awhile."

Change in the world, including the US, will happen only when the girl child is treated EQUALLY and encouraged to grow and lead.

Here is a photo of one program operating in Liberia, where young mothers from local villages, are taken to Camphor Mission school daily, fed one nuturious meal and taught health, literacy, sewing and other skills, so they can earn money and help support their family. The second photo shows their father, husband, brother, boy friend or whoever was willing to come to school to see what the young women were doing. It is very encouraging to me and Frido Kinkolenge, who runs the program for the Methodist church. More later.

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Lisa's picture

Thank you!

Thanks William for continuing to share about your important work with the Camphor Mission school in Liberia. I just took a look at your blog (http://africandiscoveries.blogspot.com/). How did you get involved with the school? How do children find their way to the school? What do you think are the biggest problems the Camphor Mission school faces in helping to educate children in that area of Liberia?

Thanks again,

Lisa

William's picture

schools in Liberia

Hi Lisa,

We belong to the United Methodist Church and the church has supported Mission Stations in Africa for a hundred years. Two of the three major hospitals in Liberia were built and are supported by the Methodist Church.

At the graduation ceremony we attended at Camphor Mission school, the Vice President of Liberia gave the graduation speech. He told the students that if they are willing to sacrifice today, to get an education, they won't need to sacrifice tomorrow, because they will have a job. He is an Alumni of Camphor Mission school.

At the school, which we of the Oregon/Idaho Conference painted while we were there this summer, one meal is provided and classes go through 9th grade. The teachers are paid $33.00-50.00 (US) per month, depending on whether they are college graduates or not, plus housing. The administration wants to expand the school through 12th. grade, but can't afford to build the additional housing for more teachers. In fact, with the value of the US dollar (gasoline cost $5.50 per gallon when we were there), they are always behind in paying the teachers (terrible). There are no texbooks, other than a few different Methodist Teams have taken to the school. We took over 400 books on our trip, for different age/reading groups, so each student would have their own book. We also painted the blackboards with a special paint, so the teacher's curriculum written in chalk would show up.

There is no electricity, no toilets (students must use the bushes), still the number of parents urging their children to walk miles each way, through the jungle, to get an education has increased. The enrollment in 2005 was 250, now it is 350.

Several years ago, through donations, four bore-wells were dug, so the campus has cleaner water.

There is a financial squeeze going on: inflation of necessary goods (it takes a gallon of gasoline to run a generator for one hour), the cost of rice has doubled in the past year, the cost to run a van to get people to a hospital a hundred miles away (many of them women in labor with complications) and more. People who give financially are still giving, but the same amount. Agencies don't have as much to give to support public schools or health clinics.

I don't want to sound discouraged, Lisa. Progress is being made, but it's being made by the people themselves. For instance, they have started raising food on campus, make their own palm oil (the hand process is too slow to make it profitable to sell some), do with only the essentials.

I met many intelligent people, staff and students, who deserve a good education. When it comes to girls, the drop out rate is much higher than for boys. Those girls who graduate Camphor Mission school, have a gap in their education. If their parents can afford to send them (usually boys go) to public high school, where a tuition is charged, those students can go to college (again Methodist) on scholorships. What needs to change is the opportunity for girls to stay in school, somehow complete high school, go on to college, to become the good leaders Liberia needs.

Love, prayer, awareness and some money. There are over 300 million citizens in the US, so if 100 million gave one dollar a month, all the needs of Africa could be taken care of. Stick a dollar a month in a jar, skip a lunch a month and put five dollars in a jar and donate the money to a reputable organization.
peace and love,
William

Lisa's picture

The long road ahead...

There is always more work to do, isn't there? It sounds like Camphor Mission school, in spite of it's hardships, is making strides in educating children in Liberia and is blessed to have so many generous people (and Oregonians at that!) contributing to its success.

Best wishes,

Lisa

William's picture

united we can do more

Hi Lisa,

I had a letter composed, hit the wrong key and whoosh, gone. Isn't the Internet wonderful?

There are people in many organizations who share with those who need it. In the Oregon/Idado Conference of the United Methodist Church, our one dollar, five dollar donations add up to many thousands per year. Since putting a face and name on the word poverty, I've moderated my spending and an instead sharing more of our income with others. Yesterday, I bought about $15.00 worth of canned goods for our local food bank (an outreach of our church).

I'm saving money from pop can returns and change I get, in a jar and when there is $20.00 in there I send it to my brothers and sisters in Africa. If someone handed me a check for the airfare ($3,000.00) I would return tomorrow to do all I could to encourage and help them. Before I left our pastor told me the trip would change my life. She was right. I no longer focus on myself and my needs, but on those who don't even have enough food. The cost of my trip was money well spent. My only regret was that I didn't do this when I was 30 or 40.
Take good to yourself, Lisa. Did you watch the video about Ann Cotton?
peace and joy,
William

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