Grand Bassa County — Assistant Town Chief Emmanuel Kekulah of Compound Three's Beigh Town, a town deep inside the jungle of Grand Bassa County, never thought he would have lived to see a day when just a broad farm to market road would be laid to connect his town to other towns and villages in the county.
Kekulah didn't even fathom that Beigh Town inhabitants would transport their farm produces on such road or their children walking on that road to go to school distance away. This is gradually becoming a reality before his eyes.
"Our children have to be between 12 and 15 years before we can allow them to go to school because it is more than three hours thirty minute away. Our smaller children cannot walk that kind of distance; therefore, they are not going to school," he told our reporter, who caught up with him on Friday, July 6 in that part of the county.
Kekulah, however, expressed joy at the presence of Power of Nickel Liberia, a local NGO, which is manually fixing their road after which it intends to also build a 12-classroom elementary and junior high school for the kids.
As a way of complementing the efforts of Nickel Liberia, able-bodied men from the town and surroundings have joined in to help broaden their road so it can be connected with another feeder road.
As road works continue, Nickel Liberia is simultaneously also molding 7,000 bricks for the school construction.
Our reporter joined others to walk through swamps, crossed monkey bridges on a narrow footpath in a dense and dark forest to get to Beigh town.
According to her, she didn't believe there was human settlement in such area because of the distance and living condition of folks in other villages she had passed on their way.
She saw deep inside the forest, men felling trees and clearing bushes, making for themselves a broader road.
"We saw that many little kids are out of schools in almost all of the villages because they have to walk for three to four hours to attend the nearby school. During market days, you would feel sorry for dwellers only living of farming, because they would have to walk for hours on this narrow path before getting their produce to the main road for sale," Amos W. Torgber, executive director, Power of a Nickel Liberia, told this newspaper.
According to him, they saw the dying need of the inhabitants and decided to help, working along with them.
On how his small NGO raises money to fund such project(s), Torgber stated that they place some boxes at the entrances of schools and grade school students voluntarily drop in their nickels and other denominations to support their projects. After two weeks, they collect whatever has been dropped in the boxes. It's that money Nickel Liberia uses to buy feed the men working on the road. They also use portion of it to purchase gasoline for the power saw felling the bigger trees.
"This is why we are called the Power of a Nickel, because the nickels we collect are used for our project. We also have members and friends, who help us with money or items to support our work."
He stated that they would be glad if the government and partners, including UNDP, UNICEF and other NGOs can come in to support their efforts.
Torgber told Frontpage Africa that they have decided to build the school in Barkon Town, because it is the largest in the area and is somewhere in the middle of the other towns and villages.
According to him the blueprint of the 12-classroom school complex, includes a dining hall, teachers living quarters, a mini clinic, and recreation center.
He disclosed that this would cost an estimated US$700,000 to finish all the buildings earmarked to be constructed and since they are fully funded, they intend to do it stage by stage beginning with school first.
Mr. Joseph G. Nadeh, Commissioner of Ble-Zee Administrative District 3 B, Gbar-win Chiefdom, said there are 52 towns and villages in the district in that part of Compound 3.
"Just imagine a person carrying a bag of cassava on his or her head for market or a bag of cement for the school project for three or more hours, much to talk about people toting a sick person for hours to the nearby clinic in a hammock. Sometimes, the person dies on the road, so this is a serious problem for citizens living here, this is why we were happy for Nickel Liberia, which is doing visible things to better our lives," the District Commissioner Nedeh stated.
He stressed the importance of the road project as it will ease the transportation of farm produces to the market and ease the movement of people.
Commissioner Nedeh called on the Ministry of Public Works, county politicians, development partners and kind hearted Liberians to come in and help Nickel Liberia and their men to complete the road project.