Despite being thrown in at the deep end at every turn, we find ourselves enjoying our time in Gbarnga so much so that with three days left in the Liberian interior, we don’t want to leave!
For most of the time we have spent in Gbarnga, we have been working with the Bong County Awareness Program (BOCAP), a partner of CJPS. They are an incredibly inspirational collective, led by the colourful, enigmatic Phillip McKay, supported by the sage-like Moses and the determined Quita. Their direct head-on approach to raising awareness of issues such as HIV/AIDs and their mobilisation of the community en masse is admirable. We were fortunate enough to partake in such an event only two days ago.
Spurred on by the cultural troupe, dressed in traditional Liberian clothing (a debatable point, one outfit resembling the uniform of a matador) all three of us – Josh, Clare and Vicky – joined the professional dancers, so as to draw in the crowds, illuminating ourselves in a beautiful spectacle. We succeeded, in the sense that the crowds did indeed flock to see our performance, allowing BOCAP to broadcast their messages to as big an audience as possible.
The commitment of BOCAP to their cause fuels their passion which is communicated in every phrase, every speech and every campaign. They are all natural orators, they seek out opportunities to promote their cause, they are all willing to stand up and be counted. “Development” is their mantra; they strive for a better Liberia. An embodiment of this vision is seen in the youth that come to the BOCAP centre on a daily basis, volunteering with the project, after school hours. It is certain that we have established genuine friendships and were helped to do so by the practice sessions for the unique dance and drama road shows that BOCAP, for us, will always be remembered by.
Over the next few days, we will continue to enthral the people of Gbarnga with our incredible BAFTA worthy performances and will also be appearing on a radio talk show, discussing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDs. It is our hope to get BOCAP involved in CAFOD’s Pass It On peace campaign while on our Kpatawee waterfall adventure this Saturday!
Find out more about Pass it On! here>>> http://passiton.cafod.org.uk/