FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

23 February 2014

Liberia: Man Raises Family Under Gabriel Tucker Bridge in Monrovia

Monrovia — A jobless man, Robert Y. Bailey, alias "Survival", is now raising his family under the Gabriel Tucker Bridge in Slipway, Monrovia because he has no money to rent an apartment.

Following their eviction from the former Euro bank down Crown Hill in Monrovia a few years ago, Bailey and his wife Beatrice, including their son, now live under the bridge.

They have been living there for the past two years. They hardly eat alone because they want to raise money to rent an apartment. Beatrice, who sells cold water in Monrovia to make ends meet, is also expecting another baby.

In an interview with FrontPageAfrica Saturday, the couple said they share their abode with dangerous reptiles that disturb them at night. They cleared a section under the bridge and use a mosquito net to construct a makeshift room and use a larger space for their business.

Despite the pains and challenges of living under the bridge with snakes and cats, Beatrice told FrontPageAfrica that she would not abandon Bailey because she loved and married him seven years ago when things were rosy for them.

"I cannot leave my husband because of this condition. I love him so much", an elated Beatrice told FrontPageAfrica.

She said her husband raised US$ 100 from the sale of alcohol, which she uses to buy and sell cold water. She makes profit between LD$500 daily, while her husband is jobless because he could not find work to do.

"We have not lost hope yet. We believe things will one day get better when God answers our prayers," Beatrice hopes that someday God will remember them.

She said her family wants her to dump her husband because of his condition, but she refused, insisting that marriage is for better and for worse. "My parents had not been happy with the place I sleep and they are demanding I leave my husband, but, I have repeatedly refused," she added.

Beatrice, who hails from Kakata, Margibi County, told said because of her obstinacy, her family has abandoned her. Recalling his predicament, Mr. Bailey said he was an employee of a rubber company, which is now moribund and when the company closed down, he became jobless.

He explained that when the construction of the King Zulu Bridge in the Vai Town vicinity started a few years ago, he was hired as a laborer but was sacked when he returned from his late sister's burial.

He was out of a job again and the area where he was living in Monrovia was eventually demolished by former Monrovia City Mayor Mary Broh and because he cannot afford to rent an apartment or a single room, he and his family live under the bridge.

Bailey also said that he wants to go back to his village in Margibi County, but he does not know where it is actually located. I was born and raised in Monrovia and never visited my village before. According to him, his parents live in Paynesville and they have no money to assist him rent a house.

He noted that his parents are quite old and needed his help, but he cannot assist them because of his circumstances. He lamented that during the night snakes, cats and rats usually disturb them and attempt to enter their net. He said he warned them off with sticks and stones.

"The rats embarrass me and my family mostly at night when the area is silent," he added. He said: "I am not a handicap in any form, and my only problem is getting a job that will enable me raise money to get accommodation and raise my family properly".

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