Isaac Monah recently returned from a trip to Liberia, where he continued work on the Dougbe River Presbyterian School project. Isaac met with local leaders in the town of Sayuo, where the school will be built, and in eight neighboring towns. He also talked with representatives of German Agro Action, a development program in southeast Liberia that has provided wood for an elementary school in the region and might also be a resource for us. And he met with Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Cote d’Ivoire, who offered to help us with the establishment of the farm that is a key part of our long-term financial plan.
Isaac’s report on his trip to Liberia
I left from Cleveland on June 26, flying from Cleveland to Atlanta, then to Paris, then to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa. I went with Dr. Scott McGraw.
We got to Africa on June 27, but one of my bags was left in Paris, so we had to wait around in Abidjan for one more day. I guess it was nice because it gave us time to adjust to the time zone. On the 28th we went to Tai National Park in Ivory Coast, where Scott does his studies on monkeys. I worked there for five years, and that is where I met Scott when he was a student, so it was nice to be back.
Scott could not enter Liberia because he didn’t have the right visa. I went on to Sayuo, Liberia, the town where the school will be built. It’s in the center of the 12 towns we’re planning to serve.
At a meeting in the town hall, we opened with prayer and then I told the town leaders why I was there. I started by saying “I am very glad to be here today. I know everyone knows me. I am your son, friend, brother. I am from Delhjegelah Town, and I grew up here so I am happy to be home again. I am here to talk to you about building a school in Sayuo for the 12 towns. This has been a big problem in our area for a long, long time. I am very sure everyone here tonight wanted to go to school, but you can’t do that if you don’t have anyone to live with in the city, to work for or to allow you to live with them. Today, after all these years, nothing has changed.
“I shared this news with my Noble Road Presbyterian Church. Since the church is a small church, we are asking for money from people and organizations. We don’t have a lot of money for this project, but by the grace of God we will be able to build this school and church. So in this light, we will need all the help we can get.
“We need this project so the children from this area can be able to go to school. I need 100 acres for the school. The children from the 12 towns will attend free for eight years, and then will pay school fees to keep the school running and allow the students to live there because some people cannot take children on the farms. Education is the best gift we can give our children now.”
They left me there and went to a meeting. When they came back they said they could give me 50 acres more, to make the land 150 acres, so the children from the 12 towns would not have to pay fees. They said there isn’t any company to work for in the area, so they can’t make money to pay the fees, so they agreed to give 150 acres to the project, thanking me for trying to help and also thanking all the people who are trying to make a difference in their children’s lives.
They showed me two places, but they said their big person was in town – Zwedru, the big city in Grand Gedeh County — and asked me to come back soon. I told them to send someone to the city to call me or the pastor, and they agreed.
There was an old lady that said “Isaac, do you know me?” I knew her but I had forgotten her name. She said, “Your nickname was boa constrictor. Belhe boh jenohoyao ow bohi ho dede means the big snake moves around. It means it’s looking for food.” She went on to say that when I was a child, when I got food, I always shared it with some family that had nothing for the day, and no one knew who I was going to share food with next. “So now this snake is big and trying to help us now. Please say hi to your family.”
Then I got a phone call from Zwedru, Liberia, saying the oldest man in Sayuo agreed with the plan.
Now I’m hoping to go back to Liberia with Pastor Francis Miller, who is the project’s mission director in Liberia.
While I was in Liberia I took a lot of pictures and met with some people who do building projects. A man in Sayuo has started a group to pray for the project.