5,215,918 (2021)

Liberia is an extraordinary country nestling on the west coast of Africa, bordering Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivôire. Our Liberian-based programs were located first in Foyo in the midst of northern jungles close to the border of Sierra Leone, and then in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and the country’s economic, financial and cultural centre.

Flying north from Monrovia with few landing strips sighted and nothing but canopies of green left us a little nervous, yet also anticipatory. Staying in the Samaritan’s Purse compound was a life-changing experience, where we were surrounded by mango trees that rained fruit every day during the tropical downpour. Underpinning the sounds of children laughing, learning and singing was a constant threat of black mambas, often seen and posing a significant and constant threat.

Waking to the aroma of corn bread, we strolled through the villages and were spoilt with the beautiful Liberian cuisine. Our days in the jungle began with prayer, before spending time with the children at Foya Free Pentecostal School, reading and telling stories. The children loved their story writing, and the launch of the Fifty-fifth Collection was filled with music, readings, certificates and special treats for the whole community. 

Once back in Monrovia we were in a different world, with more sophisticated school facilities, reliable electricity and the internet, but of course there were different challenges. The students at ELWA Academy in Paynesville already understand the concern about the polluted Atlantic Ocean and the black sand along the beaches caused by oil from passing ships. 
We are endebted to Samaritan’s Purse for their role in bringing this collection to life, introducing us to the teams, sharing the challenges and the joys, and making such a valuable contribution to the education of Liberian children. These stories from Liberia are now part of a pan-African resource.

The way the Liberian children value education was eloquently expressed by Hawa Blamah from the Foya Free Pentecostal Mission High School, who wrote:

When I see a teacher, I see an emancipator who releases the young from ignorance.

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