Bringing opposites together

Here we are with our goodbye gifts from CJPS

We are now drawing to the conclusion of this chapter of our trip, in Gbarnga with CJPS and BOCAP. What better way to spend it than at one of Liberia’s most beautiful natural wonders – Kpatawee waterfall.

Together with our friends from both organisations, we made the hour-long bumpy journey into the wilderness. The day certainly was the rejuvenation that we needed. We were all renewed in mind, body and spirit – hip-swinging to some Liberian tunes, and splashing around in the waterfall. To end was a warming ceremony that formally concluded the day, with gifts of brightly coloured African costumes and final remarks on our stay.

Smiling goodbyes with BOCAP, after their 'Conflict' drama

Amid the dancing, laughing and swimming was a moving, yet disturbing drama on the abuse and corruption, ravaged by the rebel soldiers on the young, in war-torn Liberia- a painfully recent memory for the people we now call friends. With superb acting, as usual, the BOCAP drama group gave a frighteningly life-like portrayal of what it was like for a young, innocent boy to be ripped from his world and dragged into a cycle of drug-abuse, alcoholism and extreme violence. This reminded the three of us of the comment made by our trusty driver, Collins, the previous night, as he reflected on the combination of fear and faith that was inherent in daily existence during the war.

I asked Collins whether or not he still held on to his faith during these times and he told me, “Oh yes. I thanked God each night that I still had my life; and each day after that.”

Yesterday we visited a few local schools and learnt more about the education system in Liberia. Here too we were reminded of how the war robbed the people of Liberia of so much. In classrooms now it is normal to see a wide range of ages all gathered in one class. Ages and year groups are completely irrelevant in Liberia as people are dedicated to learning and getting the education they may have missed out on.

Clare on Radio Gbarnga - reaching about 5000 people!

With the majesty of the waterfall as a backdrop to our day today, and reflecting on our week in Gbarnga, I felt so blessed to be part of this place and these people. I will always remember the vivid sense of a world where opposites come together in love and friendship: black and white, strangers and friends, peace and conflict, joy and sadness. What a beautiful tapestry to end our time in Gbarnga and a true reflection of our time here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s