And I must say that my experience this time after perhaps 20 visits to this country is unique. There is DESPERATION in capital letters everywhere, beyond what I have ever experienced.
Ebola is over everyone prays, but where is the promised help for the survivors? Who will take care of the 2000+ orphans?
The economy is devastated. So many businesses left the country due to the crisis and have yet to return. So many market women are struggling to make enough money to feed their families and get their children in school.
The education system is a mess. Schools closed for more than six months before reopening in March of this year. One school year was then completed for many in just a few months. My son Moses spent just March-July in the 9th grade before getting promoted to the 10th grade beginning in September. When I receive written correspondence from Moses via email or text, I read as a perhaps 3rd grader would write in America.
Individual loans given to FFWL clients as well as to friends of the organization, friends of mine, are not being repaid in a timely basis. This is affecting the amount of capital we have available to help restart the economy, to get women back into business.
Yes there are bright spots. I attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Sinkor last week. The nearly 40 members of that organization are reaching out to help Ebola survivors, though only “small, small” as one says in Liberia when the need is so big. A start!
I continue to work on the documentary film project. I have done in-depth interviews with several people here who have survived the unbelievably – war, poverty, Ebola – and continue to find hope for themselves and their country. Very inspiring!
I hosted a celebration dinner here last Saturday evening, to thank God and our FFW team for all they accomplished in helping people stay safe during the crisis. I brought FFW USA t-shirts for everyone, a tangible way of demonstrating to people here that people in America are standing next to them, are praying for them, are caring about them.
But is that the case? We launched out FFW Ebola Recovery Program the middle of October which we hope to complete by Thanksgiving in the US. Our goal is $50,000 so we can say Yes! to every request for support we receive here, to play a significant role in getting beyond the present crisis-caused reality. To date we have received a little more than one-fourth of that goal.
Please, I beg you, as we also say here in Liberia, please make a donation of any amount to this fund. We want your name on the list of supporters as much as we want your financial support. We want to let the people of Liberia know that people in American do care, that they are standing with them. We want the list to be very long – not just a few of us who always give. If each of you reading this would make a commitment of any amount, and then ask 5 of your friends or colleagues to do the same – we would certainly achieve our goal! www.foundationforwomen.org
With love and gratitude from treasured members of our human family here in Liberia,