Monthly Archives: March 2013

Elisabeth and Team Arrive in Liberia, Spend First Day at School

The four-person European delegation, which was expected to visit our school, has finally arrived in Liberia and has already visited the school, interacting with students, staff and parents.

Child presenting white kola nuts to welcome the guests traditionally

Child presenting white kola nuts to welcome the guests traditionally

The delegation, headed by Elisabeth Thorne, arrived in the country on Sunday, March 24, 2013. The other three persons are Marianne Scharcz, Lena Marner and Anders Marner. Elisabeth and Marianne spent a night in Monrovia and came to Buchanan on Monday, March 25, while Lena and Anders came on Tuesday because they had some problem connected with their luggage.

Hence, Elisabeth and Marianne’s first day at the school was Tuesday, March 26, while Lena and Anders’ first day was Wednesday, March 27.

Staff members posing with the visitors

Staff members posing with the visitors

On the first day, the following things were done:

1. The school, through one of the students (a little girl), traditionally welcomed Elisabeth and Marianne, presenting them with two white kola nuts placed in a white plate. Some parents were also present. The kola nuts represent peace and purity of heart. This took less than five minutes.

2. Following this, we all entered the school building for a special welcoming program in honoring of the visitors. Students, staffers and parents were in attendance. Songs were sung, recitations were done, speeches were made, etc. Parents thanked the guests for visiting the school, and asked them to help the school and the children in whatever way they can.

Marianne speaking to the kids

Marianne speaking to the kids

3. After the welcoming program, we took a tour of the inside of the building, showing our guests the classrooms, the storerooms and the office.

4. After the tour, the administration of the school had a special meeting with the visitors. During the meeting, the staffers were formally introduced, the progress the school has made since its establishment in 2005 was highlighted, the problems it faces were pinpointed and the goals it has set thus far were made known.

Elisabeth and Marianne dancing a Swedish song for the kids

Elisabeth and Marianne dancing a Swedish song for the kids

5. Following the meeting, another program, this time, a more interactive one, was held. Elisabeth and Marianne talked about their country, Sweden, and the students and staff asked questions – plenty of questions. And the two were willing to answer them. The kids sang. Elisabeth and Marianne also sang some Swedish songs and danced.

6. When we completed the interactive session, the students and the staff assembled in front of the school building for the visitor to present the gifts they brought for the school.

Marianne and Elisabeth posing with students on the school's  future-home site

Marianne and Elisabeth posing with students on the school’s future-home site

7. Following that, the staff and a few of the students went with Elisabeth and Marianne to the school’s own land on which it is planning to build a modern school building for the kids.

8. After visiting the site, the guests and the staff went back on the campus to have lunch – rice and fried potato greens. It was delicious!

Elisabeth and Marianne eating potato greens and rice

Elisabeth and Marianne eating potato greens and rice

It is said that “every good thing must come to an end,” so it was with the first day. After we had had lunch, we all went back to our various places. Of course, the next day’s activities were on our minds.

All in all, we all – the visitors, the staff, the parents and the kids – had a wonderful time together on the first day.

Watch out for the article and the photos for Day Two soon.

Pictures from the day (click to see larger images)

HLF School To Receive Foreign Guests

Our school, Help Liberia Foundation Community School, will next week receive a four-person delegation from Europe.

The visiting guests, headed by Elisabeth Thorne who is a psychologist and psychotherapist, are all coming from Sweden and will be in Liberia for about two weeks, from March 24 – April 7.

Elisabeth Thorne

Elisabeth Thorne

Paul and Elisabeth have been communicating about this visit since December 2012, and it is wonderful to know that it will be a reality.

Elisabeth once lived in Liberia, specifically in Buchanan, for ten years when she was a child. That was a long time ago – long before the war started. She had been thinking about how to give back to Buchanan and, then, luckily, she heard about our school through some friends who are already assisting the school in some ways and she, too, has decided to help.

She has been working with the treatment of traumatized people and children of traumatized parents for many years in Sweden.

Those coming with Elisabeth are Lena Marner, Elisabeth’s sister; Anders, Lena’s husband; and Marianne, a friend of theirs, who also works with children in Sweden.

More information later.