Visiting Help Liberia Foundation Community School in Buchanan Fills My Heart with Joy by Lena Marner

On April 9 this year, we – my husband Anders (his Bassa name is “Ah Bah,” meaning “our father”) and I (my Bassa name is “Ah Dey,” meaning “our mother” in Bassa) – had the opportunity to visit the school for the third time in one year. As always, when visiting the school, we felt very welcome. The children, staff and parent association greeted us with songs.

Doris Hills, Rita’s mother, making statement during the program (Photo by Lena)

Doris Hills, Rita’s mother, making statement during the program (Photo by Lena)

After the welcome songs and other activities, some parents, including Madam Doris Hills and Madam Mary Tugbeh, also gave speeches.  Doris is the mother of student Rita, a girl we are sponsoring in the school, while Mary is the grandmother of Augustine, a little boy we are also sponsoring in the school. What a moment of joy and happiness!

Along with us was a group of Swedish people whom we had brought with us to visit the school during the trip. Some of them had lived in Liberia long time ago and others were visiting Liberia for the first time ever.

Mary Tugbeh, Augustine’s grandmother, speaking at the program (photo by Lena)

Mary Tugbeh, Augustine’s grandmother, speaking at the program (photo by Lena)

At the end of the engagement with the children, the group accompanying us had the opportunity of sitting in a classroom to learn the spelling and pronunciations of their new Bassa names. This was a very special gift from the school to us Swedes, for giving something that means something is highly appreciated, and it is the most valuable of all gifts. I certainly know they were very happy about the visit to the school.

One of the most positive things with the school is seeing so many familiar faces. It is great to know that parents are involved in the school. Education and knowledge is one of the key things for a good life; another key thing for a good life is health.

Student Augustine (sponsored by us) saying a recitation at the program (Photo by Lena)

Student Augustine (sponsored by us) saying a recitation at the program (Photo by Lena)

It is amazing to see that even the small children understand the importance of education.  I observed on their part a huge willingness to learn, and this is a very, very good sign. There is a need for them to be encouraged and helped in whatever way possible.

And I understand the parents struggle to keep their children in school. It is not easy in a country that is in the process of rebuilding itself after years of civil wars when so much was destroyed.

The Swedish guests being taught their Bassa names (Photo by Lena)

The Swedish guests being taught their Bassa names (Photo by Lena)

Meeting the children, staff and parents at HLF School fills my heart with joy, and I am confident that these smart and kind children, who are the future of Liberia, will contribute to sustainable growth in Liberia, one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

We look forward to meeting them next time.  Until then, we say to them, “Study hard; have fun and take care.”

Staff member Andrew Garsuah teaching the guests their Bassa names (Photo by Lena)

Staff member Andrew Garsuah teaching the guests their Bassa names (Photo by Lena)

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