Compound One — What could be an estimated US$ 200,000.00 project has been officially launched in Compound One, District One - Grand Bassa County by the United Bassa Organization, (UNIBOA) Minnesota chapter.
UNIBOA Project Manager, Mrs. Georgette Gray said her organization wants to achieve the success in collaboration with the people of Grand Bassa County and said it is an opportunity for individuals who hail from the county to put their fingerprint on the project that will last for a long time.
"If you travel around the world you will see rest stops all along the highway, so we just thought that with the beautiful work that the government has done by completing the Bassa highway ..., it's going to be a good thing to have a rest stop here and will be the first in the country," Mrs. Gray said.
When completed, the rest stop facility will comprise of a toilet, minimart, gas station, market booth and fruits and vegetable stands. It intends to impact the livelihood of Bassonains and provide a conducive travelling environment for travelers on the Buchanan-Monrovia highway.
Mrs. Gray assured that the contractor, Unity Construction Company, INC of full cooperation which means there might not be any delays on the contractor's part, but she disclosed that the project will be done 'on UNIBOA's watch'.
Said Mrs. Gray: "The estimated time depends on the amount of money coming in but we expect to complete the toilet within the next four to five months, so we hoping to be back here, maybe October or November this year when the rain is gone to open the toilet facility and by that time we will also be starting the minimart. The entire project might maybe be done in a year or two, but we are doing it in phases."
The UNIBOA project manager said for this year the target will be the completion of the toilet, minimart and market booths. Commenting on how funds will be generated to underwrite the project, the Project Manager said that several aspects of fund raising were considered when the initiative was designed. She said contributors to the project will have lifetime recognition as their names will be crafted on the building wall.
"One of the problems Liberians in the States have had is that they make contributions and they can't see the results, but our goal is to make sure people see the result to this. If you pay a US$150.00 we are going to put your name on this building so we telling people that you can be in any part of the world and contribute if it takes you 20 years to come back to Liberia, God's willing this facility exist, you will come here and you will see your name on the marble stone mounted on the building," Mrs. Gray said.
Mrs. Gray further mentioned that UNIBOA members are working hard to raise money by having events, selling food just to make the project a reality, but stressed that the organization needs the contribution of people here in Liberia. According to Mrs. Gray, the Project solicits sponsorship packages starting at US$500.00 while a contribution of US$150.00 will have the name of a deceased relative engraved on the memorial wall.
Disappointed due to the absence of prominent Bassonians and government officials from the county who were invited and failed to show up, Mrs. Gray said she and other Liberians travelled from the United States just to make the program a success because the project is for the county and they were looking forward to seeing some of the officials at the program.
"We wanted them here, but we also understand that they are busy; they have other schedules. We're only appealing to those that we contacted that they can also contact us so that they can contribute, this is for the county and we want to prove to our people that we can start things and complete it," Mrs. Gray said.
Amongst the host of individuals invited at the launch of the project that did not turn up were Sen. Gbehzongar Findley and the entire Bassa Legislative caucus, Gender Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell, County Superintendent, Etweeda Cooper and local officials.
However, District One Statutory Superintendent, Samuel P. Karmenjay said the community over the past three years has played a major role in making sure the project is successful. He said the community was able to provide the one acre of land for the project by working with the county administration and even help to indentify the contractor.
Mr. Karmenjay committed to making show that the community protects the materials for the project and the community will play its role in ensuring the project is a success. The Statutory Superintendent is hopeful that when the project is completed it will give a facelift to the community, provide employment for some youth and will provide means for the local people to sell their farm produce.
UNIBOA Minnesota headed by A. Kelvin Gray as its President, has over 150 members who have envisioned the need to impact the lives of Bassonains and the prospect of realizing the rest stop project will certainly be milestone in the existence of the organization. The organization boasts of hundreds of members across the United States with state base chapters as well.