Since the outbreak, the situation in my community is relatively okay. The number of confirmed cases in Liberia has gone a little over one hundred this week, with few deaths, but no one can predict what happens next. As a result, all schools are closed, and public gatherings are not allowed, including worship centers. The Liberian government has declared a state of emergency and we from the rural parts of the country cannot travel to the capital Monrovia, which is presently the hottest spot.
The ARI training has greatly impacted my family and our local community. Upon my return I immediately organized some community youth to share my ARI knowledge. We started a program called Farm for Education in which we are growing cassava and other crops. The goal is, after harvest, we will sell them to pay some of the school fees, because most of these youth are from a poverty-stricken background. I have a long-term plan to start a youth training center. We presently meet under a beautiful tree for our activities. This is the first step to my dream of youth development.
We meet under this beautiful tree for our youth activities / My community youth group after our weekly meeting
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have moved my family and other relatives to my village/farm. Here we can easily grow our own organic crops and there is absolutely no worry about food. We started producing rice, cassava, beans, and our local palm oil. Also, we can avoid getting in contact with crowds and we are practicing regular hand washing. A lot of people here are happy.
Cassava and peanuts in our Farm for Education Program / Water for hand washing
ARI training has changed my mindset about development. Upon my return to Liberia, I realized that the nature around us provides almost everything we need for development, according to our own definition as a local community. I appreciate and value what we have.
A crisis of this nature has the benefit of building a vibrant and strong personality at the end of it all. This is the third crisis I have experienced in my life since I was a teenager. First, there was the civil war, then the Ebola outbreak of 2014, and now COVID-19. In these times our minds, bodies, and spirits are developing to respond to emergencies. This will also cause us to think of our loved ones, as we don’t want to lose them. We want to hear from them to make sure they are alive. In times like these we are aware that life is fragile, therefore, it is meaningless to disregard people or lord over them. We will all realize that at some point in our lives we are all weak and need others.
May we all live to see the end of this!
Read more COVID-19 ARI Graduate response stories here.