Monrovia, Liberia - As I am nearing the end of my time here once again, leaving next Monday to bring Moses to college in America, I am reflecting on the specialness of these two beings of light – and how “It’s a God-thing” as we all say here that we are connected. Victor Frankl discusses in one of my most treasured books ever, Man’s Search for Meaning, “…human beings’ motive is not money or even happiness, but for meaning. We are driven above all to understand the purpose of our lives. Once that is understood even the most miserable conditions cannot upend inner peace.”
Monrovia, Liberia - A Moses is Going to College in America Celebration! Over thirty people gathered tonight, Moses’ biological family and chosen family, to celebrate him and his amazing accomplishment of having been accepted to ten universities in America. He has chosen Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania where he will study computer science.
Monrovia, Liberia - Ten days ago, I shared the unbelievably awful news of the sudden death of a beautiful 6-year-old girl named Precious. She had just graduated from KII and was on her way to 1st grade with such great joy! A very big graduation celebration here in Liberia. That was June 29th. July 4th Precious died in the leading hospital in this country of yellow fever; no ability to help and no medicine here. My outrage and sadness has been tremendous, my heart so broken.
Then tonight I met hope manifested by her parents, Franklin and his wife Mary. And I was beyond blessed to meet their new baby daughter, Marylin – parents Mary and Franklin combined their names which is common here in Liberia.
When I first graduated from college and then graduate school, I opted to teach for several years in return at the time for the cancellation of my accumulated college debt. Armed with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education and counseling, I first went to work for Northwestern University’s Laboratory School in Evanston, IL in America. I had so wanted to take a post at an inner-city all black school on the south side of Chicago, but my father put his foot down with a firm NO – and for some reason I obeyed him. Looking back now, I wonder why…So, I went to the north side of Chicago to the largely affluent suburb of Evanston, which had an integrated population for many years, and economic extremes. My assignment was a special education class for “emotionally disturbed” children. OMG that label haunts me now. I had perhaps 10 students, primarily children of color. Despite big challenges, we loved each other as a family. Joy is my remembrance.
Monrovia, Liberia - I opened my email yesterday morning to find a message from my dear friend Franklin "I am now in tears mommy, my daughter graduated from K2 on June 29 and died July 4."
He took his daughter to the biggest government hospital here on Wednesday. She died Thursday morning. He told me it was yellow fever, a disease that is transmitted by an infected mosquito and easily prevented by a vaccination. Like malaria, yellow fever lives where poverty lives. Inflation is at a historic nearly 25% - where people can no longer afford to buy cold water or rice – where hospitals have no medicine.
The Foundation for Women cannot solve all the problems of the world. We can however bring some light to the darkness. This week we celebrated the first 8 months of operation of the Liberia Community Health Clinic, our first attempt at bringing quality healthcare to the 1000+ students at one of our partner schools.
Deborah Lindhom is the Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Women. For over 20 years she has lived and worked in Africa, India and the United States on issues of poverty, education and microcredit.