Voyages & Découvertes

Hats off

Wednesday 24 December 2014 by Stephan Mardaga

Only two airlines give Liberia air transportation of which Brussels Airlines is one.

The director of Brussels Airlines asks me if I can be in the position to distribute boxes of Quaker oats to the needy children in the community where I live. He explains to me that the navigating personnel have agreed to contribute something to buy a good amount of oats for the purpose.

As I am affiliated with some families in the community I accept this proposal with delight. I contact the women I know in the community.

First, there is Comfort: a house cleaner, who lives nearby. Her husband has runaway and leaves 2 children on her. Comfort in addition, has her mother and sister living with her. Moreover, she lives in a humble house and once again, keeps two other family children; all living on her little monthly income.
Eva is a guitarist, a disadvantaged woman and a spinster, who also takes care of two destitute children. Eva is a custodian of a cell-phone tower and receives a peanut salary of about $75.00 a month.
Then comes Margaret, married and a mother of a little girl, Margaret takes care of a little shop located at a distance from the entrance of the compound where I live. She also keeps two other children whose parents live far away in the provincial area. In addition to these children, she has twins living with her.
To cap things off, a meeting in this respect is arranged on one Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. When I reach the venue, a special reception, is awaiting me.
Eva takes her guitar and the children start singing for me as a welcome treat. All the children are expectantly in a joyous mood as they know that they are going to receive gifts.
When my eyes behold these children smiling and singing with their small innocent voices, special emotion seized me, as this is the first time ever to engage in this type of collective donation. The cartoons are taken out and the boxes of oats are one by one shared among the children in an orderly manner. With the boxes of oats in their hands, the children start a new song exhibiting joy and gratitude.

Tenneh is a cleaner who works in my office. I know her for some years now. She is of acerbic character. Do not try to bother Tenneh, because she will set the record straight before you no matter who and what you are.
Her very old mother including two children lives with her, and like always the common social syndrome in the country she has no husband. Tenneh has irreproachable character and she has been bit by bit economized on her meagre salary to build a house. I strike a rendezvous with her in her yard and by the time I arrive there a table and a chair have been placed under a nearby shady tree opposite the house.
The children in the neighborhood have been asked to be around. She explains to the children as to why they are in her yard and why the benevolent is going to take photos of them.
Lo! There it is there are more children than the boxes of oats. Therefore Tenneh groups the children in small family units and starts sharing the boxes. However she does not stop asking some questions like ----where do you come from..? Ah yes, from such and such family…..where are your brothers and sisters? Okay arrange yourselves together. That’s good, take this box for yourselves; and so on and so forth. The distribution is finished, yet some children continue arriving at the place.

Quickly we get into the car and Tenneh wants us to go to another family which according to her is plagued by destitution. En route to the place, Tenneh explained to me about a nearby house that was struck by the Ebola virus. It is a community house in which several units of families live. The Ebola epidemics decimated all the parents and adults of that large community house. Miraculously, none of the children in the place was affected by the virus. And meanwhile, only one woman there who is finding some means to take care of all these orphans. The said woman seeks the assistance of cousins, aunts and nieces to control the children. I ask some questions; but in discreet and reserved manner. Tenneh explains the plan of the task to them and everyone understands it. But this time, there are only a few boxes of oats to give out, fortunately, I have brought some bags of rice with me.
The distribution is done and I did not commit myself by promising them of any future distribution. Well, we shall see if there will be any of such benevolence in the near future.

The Ebola epidemics have created a lot of victims and the area most massively hit is the country’s economy. The economy is flat on floor as several investing companies’ staff have packed and left the country.
Slowly and certainly, malnutrition has become an order of the day. In the midst of fear of the terrible disease and life uncertainty coupled with insecurity, Liberian people are once again confronted with evil days. It is the people who are to endure the outcomes of all these; and in a way, these should offer the country the strength to build its future.
Finally, a big pat on the backs of Air Brussels crews; and we give you the respect for identifying with Liberians in these trying times. You have given Liberian people hope and the feeling that the outside world has not forgotten them.


Distribution to Bendu Distribution with Eva Distribution with Tenneh01 Distribution with Tenneh Distribution with Tenneh Distribution with Manfred Distribution with Manfred Distribution with Manfred Distribution with Manfred Distribution with Manfred Distribution at work Distribution with Tenneh Distribution with Tenneh Distribution with Tenneh Distribution to Bendu

titre documents joints

24 December 2014
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