Anthony Tamba is a volunteer correspondant for HBOA and is a frequent contributor. He went beyond the call of duty to bring us the following story. This simply shows his deep love and concern for the people of Africa.
Before going into the details of this story, I will first love to give thanks to God that created us all for giving me the strength and wisdom to write this story. My thanks also go out to the family of the Heart Beat of Africa for giving me the opportunity to share such a story with my African brothers and sisters around the world.
I initiated the interview by first introducing myself as a volunteer correspondent for The Heartbeat of Africa. Of course, the people knew nothing of the organization. This was not surprising since the people in this community do not have the bare necessities such as safe drinking water, bathrooms, and clinics. So, it is very unlikely that they would have access to things such as the internet.
To ease the difficulties they face, many youth are taking the initiative to help develop their surroundings, as well as Mama Liberia. The pictures below show hard working young men and women from a very remote area called Kerkelahun and Ndambu. The residents in these towns endure many difficulties and would greatly appreciate any offered assistance. One problem that residents encounter is that the area is not easily accessible via motor vehicle. Because of this, many of the residents needs are being neglected.
For this reason, the young men and women decided to abandon their farm works and began the difficult task of building a road so that the governmental organizations could have a way to deliver aide. Before they could start this project, they had a meeting that was represented with each community. Out of the thirty- three people that cited this meeting, ten of them were women and the rest were men. During the meeting, each individual was allowed to share their ideas concerning the development and execution of the project.
During the road rehabilitation exercise for the smooth operation of the two community’s project, two hundreds and ten person from the two different communities were in attendances. Ninety one of the attendees were women, and one hundreds and nineteen were men.
After the meeting, I interviewed the leader of the group and town chief for Ndambu, Mr. John Korehene. Mr. Korehene said that I was the first person to come to their community and show an interest in learning about their hardship and to also share their story with the world at large. Because of this, I was told that I am now considered a part of their community and am welcomed there at any time. On a side note, to show their sincere appreciation for the attention given to their plight, I was given a chicken as a way of thanking me. They were truly appreciative.
Note: The organization that I traveled with provided the community with two gallons of gasoline to further their project by means of reconditioning their damaged bridge. So, you see that even a little can mean an awful lot. Two gallons of gasoline was very beneficial to the people in the communities.
In a short interview, many of them complained of the difficulties they are facing in the various towns. James Jallah, also known as young boy chief, a strong man that is leading the towns’ project stated: “My brother I am very happy to see people like you coming to see our problems and our needs. I am also happy that you are taking photos to show it to your organization telling them that we cannot get anything in our community because we don’t have a road. I will also take you to our time ndambu so that you can also see the suffering we are going through. There you will be very sad for us.”
In the same interview, Patrick Kollie also came in and said, “We the young people this is the time for us to work together and improve our lifestyle.” He further explained, “We all are tired of war.” He commented on an unknown people saying, “The people came and fooled us and give us gun to spoil our country and to kill our mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers all because our eyes were not open. Now that we know the right from wrong so no one will do such thing again.”
I was very happy to be with them for an hour because it took about three hours to drive from Voinjama where I stay to go and get this information. The young guys were very happy to share information about their communities with me and asked me to go there at any time if I want to get any other information.
The picture above is showing you our beautiful and hard working African women also contributing to help the men. I was very happy on this day to see the young men and women working together to reconnections of their road. These women you are seeing walk about 45 minutes to get these rocks to bring them to the site where the men are working. I actually was given a tough time because these women never wanted me to take any photo of them.
One of the women named Klubo said: “He wants to take our photo so that he can go and make money out of it. So we should not allow him to take our photos. This was at the time the rocks were on their head. But the two men standing before them, tried to explain to them that we had no such intention of selling their pictures. This is how they were convinced to allow me to take their picture.
After the women saw me taking this photo, they told me that they hope this photo that I took will encourage organizations, and as well as the government, to come to their aide. Also during this time I spoke with a girl named Sattah. Sattah stated, “We the women of the two towns will not sit and see our men and brothers work on something that will help us in our towns and bring good people to help. We are really suffering. In this place, market itself we don’t have it here. We have to walk for one hour to go to the market. And as the result, when our husband is hungry, before you come back from the village, he will lose all his power, or even die. So I want you to tell the people that sent you to please help us. We are in need!” She further explained, “Even if we are going to Voinjama, we have to walk to the market. And we have to pay a lot of money. All because the road is not good.”
This photo is showing the town of Ndambu. After asking them to take us to the town, one of them was asked to lead us. In the town, we were met by children who had written “Papa built us a toilet” on a sheet of paper. They also requested that we get them a good school, safe drinking water and a clinic to help them stay safe. I was very impressed to see the children walking along with us singing a song entitled PAPA BUILT US A TOILET. I took it to mean that they were tired of getting sick every day. How very sad.
While singing this song, I asked one of the community members to show me where their toilet is located. What he showed me was a communal toilet for the entire community. He shared with me that, this was one of the major problems that they must contend with. He went on to state that “The place I am taking you is not what you are expecting.” When we reached our destination, the below photo was what I saw as a toilet. So, I asked him twice, “Is this the toilet you are talking about?” He responded yes and said this is where the entire community can use.
The toilet below is not far from the community. I believe animals like chickens, dogs, goats and others animals that are in this town, go there to eat their waste material. These animals then return to the community and place their mouth on clean dishes and drink from their water supplies. I suspect that this is a contributor to high incidences of water borne diseases and cases of diarrhea. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that they have no clinic and must walk 1 to 2 hours to the nearest clinic. Perhaps this is why the children are tired of being sick.
And he also told us this is why they wrote on that paper to give it to the children. So that we, the visitors, can see their needs, and that we can assist them in finding a solution.
I also would like to request that those who are reading this story to kindly give a helping hand through our coming organization The Heartbeat of Africa. I ask that you contribute whatever you are able to give to the poor people in Africa.
There are many problems our people are facing, especially for those of us living in the rural areas. And it is these remote places in particular that have the most difficulty in receiving aide due to their location. After I left the toilet and went back into the town, I went to where the women were cooking. There I saw six girls going to get water for cooking, drinking, and to wash their dishes and clothes. The little creek where the girls went to get water is the same water that is used by all in the community for drinking, cooking, and washing. Also, remember that this is the same water that the animals have access to.
When we got to the water site, one of the girls told me, “This is our drinking water and this water is very cold and it is a running water so a doesn’t do anything to us.” In essence she was saying that the water could not make them sick because it is running water. But for God’s sake, this is not water that people need to drink because it is not safe at all.
The rock you are seeing is also where they stand to wash their clothes. This is also where they collect their drinking and cooking water. It is sad to see our people resorting to utilizing a little creek that runs between the swamps for washing clothes and for cooking and drinking. It is true that our African people are truly suffering. Therefore, we are asking all of our partners and everyone who is reading this article to do what you can to help those individuals.
To the family of the Heartbeat of Africa, we are calling on everybody in and around the world to please support us in establishing this organization in Liberia and all of Africa. As members of this organization, it is our responsibility to be a voice for the underprivileged. We must speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves. As an organization, we will serve as the bridge between those willing to help and are uncertain of the process; and those most in need of the help.
The photo below shows the nearest clinic called Popalahun Clinic. This is where residents of the two towns must go in order to receive medical treatment. To get to Popalahun is about a 1 – 2 hours walk.
I actually visited the clinic and saw a lot of people seeking medical attention.
While observing the activity there, I noticed the dispenser writing on a paper and giving it to a female patient. I was very concerned with what was transpiring so I asked her what the dispenser gave her. She explained that it was a prescription for the drugs that she needed. She said that the facility did not have the drugs. She was told to go to Kolahun on a market day to purchase the needed medicine. It takes about an hour to get to Kolahun by car and two hours if one is walking.
Just imagine this woman is going to get drugs on a market day, which is Monday. So, while she may indeed be very ill, she must wait until Monday in order to purchase the needed drugs. In the meantime she must endure the illness. When Monday arrives she must find a way to make the journey to Kolahun. The prospect of such a long journey is daunting enough when one is well, it is even more so when one is ill. And to make matters worse, what if she cannot afford the trip or the drugs. Because of my concern for her, I gave her one hundred Liberian dollars for her to purchase the drugs.
Afterwards, I left to speak directly with the dispenser. I asked him how long the facility had it been since the facility had run out of the drugs? He told me that it had been about two weeks. He went on to say, “My brother, this is the major problem we are facing in this clinic. Sometimes when we run out of medicine and we inform the head office, they will always say that a supply is being shipped from the U.S. Is this what we will be waiting for? Our people are dying. I am not talking about myself, since five months ago I have not taken pay. But anyway, I am already inside. So, I can look at that and leave my people to die? Pay or no pay, or will help the people.” Again I asked, “When will the drugs come from the U.S. before our people get treated?” He said that he would know the day they call him for the drugs.
By this time it was getting late and so it was time for me to return home. Also, the people I traveled with were preparing to leave. So, this is how my day ended with my return to Voinjama to share this sad story. As I stated earlier, it is time for all of us to help our people. The people will be appreciative of any help that you can supply. It does not have to be money. It can be anything. As was demonstrated earlier, they were helped by receiving two gallons of gasoline. Whatever you can contribute would be helpful.
Before closing, on behave of The Heartbeat of Africa, I would love to recommend to those that are willing to help the poor people in Africa, to kindly support our organization The Heartbeat of Africa. When you help the organization, they will, in turn, assist those most in need. You will then see the kind of positive change that is possible when we all work together. We can change lives for the better.
For the Heartbeat of Africa, I am Anthony Tamba – Volunteer Correspondent