issue XII • Fall 2012
Take a Look Around You by varlee sheriff
t really feels good to take a bit of time and observe things around you: the people living next door, the neighboring community, the new things in your environment and even the old ones. This is exactly what my experience was during my time on a guided tour with the environmentalist Mr. James Makor in July 2012. I learn and hear so much about Liberia; the many changes we have and continue to go through, and how beautiful and hopeful our environment is. When we went to visit the West Point Community, I had the chance to experience the health and living conditions there. The poor sanitary condition, the poor health and living condition made it clear to me that if nothing is done and done quickly, sooner or later the community and communities along our coast will be swept away by the sea. The sea is slowly eroding our coastline. We saw more evidence of this when we extended our tour to the Hotel Africa community and observed a similar situation. We saw that most of the villas used to house those who didn’t like it in the hotel have been swept away by the sea.
sea erosion is a gabion, which is a square-meter box of coated wires imbedded with a cloth-like plastic and rocks. It allows for the slowing of the flow of water through it. We were lucky enough to have a look at some gabions beneath a bridge we crossed on the way to Hotel Africa. We can easily contact those that did the work under that bridge for assistance in building new gabions. This will greatly affect our control of the sea erosion. Also, we had the chance on the second day of our tour to visit the Waste Management Site located on the Monrovia-Gbarnga highway in the Whein Town community. It is being operated by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC). This site points us to the solution of proper waste management. Again, we will only need additional assistance to improve and increase the site and to build new ones. If we do so, we will have control over our waste, leading us to a safer environment for habitation. The implications of the environmental degradation that we saw is that people are gradually loosing their homes; the land is being eroded and if we don’t do anything to help stop this, the land we see around us today will be lost to the sea. This is devastating because we are seeing this happen, but are slow to act, and people would rather focus on themselves and what suits them, regardless of what that may mean to the community now and in the future. What we can do is to be sensitive to this, advocate for the environment, and provide practical teachings for the communities.
Another thing we observed was the problem of improper disposal of our wastes. All over our communities, the waste floats here and there. In the markets such as Red Light, Waterside, and Douala, there is no proper sanitation. Besides the markets, the garbage collection tanks are full, one of which I saw at the Parker Paint junction while heading to the waste management site in Whein Town community, and now a downtown west point is now the sea the garbage is being poured around them. People normally ignore these problems because they are not too vis- There are many such issues that we face daily. If we turn to these little probible and they are not causing immediate disasters, but they continuously lems that will cause us greater harm in the future if they are not paid attensignal warnings and are problems that need serious attention now before tion to now, figure out what we can do about them, and then begin doing they get worse. This was a great learning experience for me and I will be those things right away, I bet we will have a better story to tell soon. very happy to explore other sectors of our environment, the problems and what can be done to solve them. Varlee Sheriff is a Future Guardian of Peace with everyday gandhis, a graduate of Ricks Institute, and will be attending college in the United States. As I stated earlier, Liberia’s environment is very hopeful in that, with the above listed problems, the solutions are at hand. One possible solution for
The Palaver Hut • Issue xII • fall 2012
Table of Contents Take a Look Around You
1 2 In This Issue 3 FGP Learn Ecology 4 My Experience 5 The Need of the People 6 Environmental Tour in Monrovia 7 Environmental Assessment 8 Ecology in Buchanan 9 Learning About Our Resources 10 Voinjama's Community Project 10 Cultivating Young Leaders 11 The Fight to Forgive by varlee sheriff by ana brush
by lassana kanneh by mahawa komala by morris kamara by weedor kumi by akoi mawolo
by esther kpaku by vicky jallah
by ezekiel mavolo
everyday gandhis team film update
2 • everyday gandhis • fall 2012
In This Issue It’s been a full summer for the Future Guardians of Peace in Liberia, full of graduations, community, workshops, and educational tours. We’d like to congratulate four of our Future Guardians on their High School graduations: Lassana Kanneh, Varlee Sherriff, Ezekiel Mavolo and Akoi Mawolo. This was a tremendous step on your educational path and we look forward to the great work you will do with the knowledge gained. This is an exceptional issue of our newsletter because of the stories and photos that were gathered throughout the summer. Community service projects and permaculture work were a couple of the activities that the Future Guardians and friends put together and participated in. One of the most influential activities was the two-day environmental education tour with Liberian environmentalist and poet James Makor, which many of the articles focus on because of the significant impact it had on all who attended. You can also learn more about our educational scholarship fund and the updates on our new film, THE FIGHT TO FORGIVE, inside. Please take note that everyday gandhis’ now has a new address as our main USA office has changed locations. The new address is: 10500 Ford Street, # 627, Mendocino, CA 95460. As we head into fall and the season of change, the adventures of the summer remain such exciting and happy memories. We hope you enjoy these reports and join us in supporting their education and expanding our outreach to others like them who are eager to commit themselves to long-term peace and environmental restoration in Liberia. Wishing you the best, Ana Brush Media Coordinator
Future Guardians of Peace Learn Ecology by lassana kanneh
ur journey for a two-week Permaculture Design Course to Nyumbani village, Kenya, East Africa this last December 2011 was another great experience for myself and the other people from Liberia. Some of us had never traveled on a plane before, but we were happily seated with lots of expectations and excitement. We finally arrived in Nairobi at 5:30 a.m. the day before the Permaculture course began. We the Future Guardians of Peace, along with one of everyday gandhis’ Liberia staff Mulbah Richards, and a few school friends completed a two-day ecological tour with James Makor from July 21-22, 2012. James Makor is an environmentalist with Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU). According to the SAMFU self-initiative publication, “SAMFU was established in the year 1987 as a non-governmental organization in the Republic of Liberia by a Liberian Catholic priest and a few environmentalists on the subject of the natural and cultural bequest of the Liberian society.” We, the Future Guardians of Peace, have known James Makor since the everyday gandhis’ 2008 Permaculture training held in Voinjama, northern Liberia. James Makor is a great and lovely lecturer. Our two-day study with him was very essential as we all learned new ideas about beach erosion, the importance of Mangrove swamps, and pollution through hands-on activities. We explored different parts of Monrovia as a team and our first stop was West Point community on the coast of Monrovia to observe what beach erosion has done to the community and its inhabitants. West Point community is considered one of the poorest and most populated communities in Monrovia. There we spoke to one of the residents, the Chief of all Kru fishermen at the Kru beach, Amos Sieh Snowie. Mr. Snowie said that during the 1990’s the West Point community had experienced beach erosion, which destroyed structures and lives since the community developed with its huge population. In continuation, we moved on to the Hotel Africa community to observe what similar beach erosion has led the community into. We observed that a lot of higher constructed buildings and facilities have been damaged from erosion over the years. At the site, James Makor told us about a suitable method to stop erosion. The method uses the Gabion system, the best solution to this type of erosion problems, which is made up of manufactured plastic, sand and rocks that are then compacted into the gabion bag and placed around the coastline. He further told us that the method of the Gabion system came from military uses.
example, I was informed by some workers at the site that the wastes are covered with red clay in order to stop the smell and kill flies. It was astonishing to observe how large the quantity of waste is that is taken from all parts of Monrovia. The waste is maintained at this site to avoid health hazards to the community. This system of compacting with clay used for the process of the waste is only done in South Africa and Liberia, but in Liberia we don’t use the recycling method. The red clay is sustainably mined and then taken by trucks from banks along the highway outside of Monrovia. After the two-day tour, I reflected on my observations and the long and short-term implications of environmental degradation. I saw that humans cause this generally and it seems to happen in areas where the government does not take action. The lack of action from government will continue to increase these problems we are now facing and causing for ourselves. One major role that the government of Liberia can play is to educate the general public through lower and higher learning institutions, the Media, and the rule of law. For my part as a Future Guardian of Peace, I hope to continue to learn and volunteer my service through public awareness and restore Liberia to a level that will brighten our future. All in all, I am very impressed to have experienced such a significant tour with James Makor and my comrades, which has improved my personal talent. Thank you everyday gandhis for the different possibilities regarding the peace process in Liberia. Environmental degradation has been a huge threat to the Liberian people’s living standard and to the peace and stability of the country. The lack of environmental education in the Liberian society has set the state back through the act of massive mining and deforestation and the miss management of waste. We, as young people, can change this and create a sustainable, healthy future for Liberia. Lassana Kanneh is a Future Guardian of Peace with everyday gandhis, a graduate of William Booth High School, and will be attending college in the United States.
After visiting the Hotel Africa Community, we went to another important site where we all saw Mangrove trees in the swampland. We were told by James Makor that mangroves are vital to organisms that reside in the water and they are serving as an environment which provides food and shelter. Mangroves are halophytes, plants that thrive in salty conditions, which gives them the ability to grow where other plants cannot. Mangroves conserve water quality and decrease pollution by filtering suspended materials and assimilating dissolved nutrients. The next day, we made it to the Whein Town waste disposal site. The site was another immense place to have learned new ideas. For
coming together around the issues
everyday gandhis • fall 2012 • 3
My Experience by mahawa komala
participated in a two-day tour with the Future Guardians of Peace and everyday gandhis in the city of Monrovia. We saw many places including the West Point community, Hotel Africa, Boulevard road, and Whein town community, located on the Margibi highway. On the first day we went to West Point community, which is one of the most terrible communities in the entire city because of thievery, murders, gangs, and prostitution. There I learned about sea erosion, the causes of erosion, possible solutions, and the importance of sanitation. I was surprised by the bad condition that the environment was in and I want to help create awareness for the citizens of the community about erosion and sanitation.
The West Point community is in need of serious help in said areas. With this point, I come to recommend to our government, NGOs and individuals willing to help the citizens of West Point that the provision of a source for safe drinking water (like a hand pump), sanitation, and most important, the awareness about these conditions will help to improve this community. We cannot just provide services without teaching the community members how to manage all of these issues and the solutions that are put in place because then it would be meaningless. Mahawa Komala is an active participant in the projects by the Future Guardians of Peace.
We then traveled to the Hotel Africa community, located on the Bomi highway. When we arrived, we went behind the Five Star Hotel, which used to be one of the most beautiful hotels in Liberia. It was the first time I saw this hotel even though I had heard a lot about it because to used to be very fancy before the war and it was a place that government officials and investors would go to stay. Here, I learned about how a gabion can be placed at the seafront to prevent the sea from eroding the land and how this can last for a long period of time. The next day we went to an area called Whein town. That day was my first time visiting the community. It is such a beautiful community and I learned about recycling; the process through which waste materials are converted into useable ones. I feel that this is important because it reduces the amount of waste that goes into the dump and creates new materials to use. It would help Liberia to recycle because there is so much plastic and paper in our environment. Recycling would help us to clean it up. I had a wonderful time being with my friends, taking a tour around Monrovia, and learning so much about these different communities. Of all the issues we saw, I focused on sanitation, with specific attention to the West Point community. West Point is to be paid attention to because of its precarious and bad condition. These qualities are seen in the lack of organization of their health, their unsafe drinking water (they have no hand pump, they only drink from old wells that contain unpurified water), no availability of toilet facilities, which makes the habit of using the beach as their toilets popular. In addition, there is limited space for people to walk around as the houses are so close together in the community, there is no playground for the children and they use the same beach they toilet on for playing. This gives rise to sicknesses because they always come in contact with germs. Malaria is one of the main sicknesses the community faces as the result of mosquitoes. In such condition, when any member of the community experiences Malaria, they are taken to the nearby pharmacy. The situation gets worse as these pharmacies lack enough quality drugs for sale. If the sanitation were solved and facilities were built for the community, I believe that this would help lower the cases of malaria. a home now eroded
4 • everyday gandhis • fall 2012
The Need of the People by morris kamara
he Future Guardians of Peace met with James Makor on the July 19, 2012 at his place of work. James Makor is part of the Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU), which is a local nongovernmental organization that works in Liberia. A Liberian Catholic priest and two young environmental activists founded SAMFU in 1987. It was founded out of love for the natural and cultural heritages of Liberia and the desire to help preserve them. SAMFU has three core programs: the Marine Species Conservation Program, the Forest and Human Rights Program, and the Peace building and Community Development Program.
If the government can help the people, they will be able to improve and peace will continue. Cleaning up West Point will help to lower the cases of Malaria because when the environment is not clean, there is stagnant water where the mosquitos and then the people are bitten by the mosquitoes. Diarrhea is another cause of unsanitary conditions that happen when waste is not disposed of and the environment unhealthy for living. Also, when the water is polluted, the fish and other sea life are affected. The people who catch the fish are then eating unhealthy food. We need to talk to the people about the causes of their situation and educate them about the possible solutions.
On Saturday July 21, 2012 we went with James Makor to the West Point neighborhood on the beach where people live and fish. It is located in the center of Monrovia. The people who live in the West Point neighborhood are Kru and Fanti people who love water and fishing. On the beach, there is a lot of trash and waste from human beings.
The most important cause of the problems we saw at West Point is the lack of education. People think they don’t have a reason to care about their environment, so they destroy it. They don’t realize that if their environment is healthy, they too will be healthy. That’s why education is important. Pollution and helping people to care about the environment are two different things that need to be addressed. Telling people about their problem is one thing, but educating them about the problem is another thing. The role that I and other individuals can play is to help the community by educating people about how to care for their environment and how to take care of their own health. We can do this by having workshops with the people of west point community, leading clean-up campaigns and letting NGOs know about the situation.
Pollution has a detrimental effect on ecosystems and the environment. One of the main causes of pollution is the high rate of energy usage by modern, growing populations. Waste is a product of things that are used by human beings. All animals and plants produce some kind of waste. Human waste can be food waste (toileting) and also chemical waste, garbage and other pollutants. The beach where children play and people fish at the West Point community is covered in human waste that just sits there, which is very unhealthy for the people and the environment. What I observed is that the long-term implication of environmental degradation at West Point is that the waves will continue to wash the land and community away. I feel bad about this because there are people living there and they feel they have to use the sea as their toilet, for fishing, and to play in. I want to ask the government to help the people of West Point by putting in gabions along the beach to protect people and the land from the waves.
west point fishing community
I enjoyed being on the trip with James Makor because I learned something that I had never been taught about in school. I believe things like this should be taught in school because then we can know how to better our country and preserve the environment. I would like to tell the people of Liberia and the Ministry of Health that education about these problems in West Point Community is important so that we can find solutions to keep the environment and the people healthy. Morris Kamara is a Future Guardian of Peace with everyday gandhis and a sponsored student at Ricks Institute.
everyday gandhis • fall 2012 • 5
Environmental Tour in Monrovia by weeder m. kumi
n July 21-22, 2012 we had a wonderful tour in Monrovia with one of Liberia’s conservationists; Brother James Makor, who works for a non-governmental organization in Liberia called Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU). Although it was my first time on such a meaningful tour, meeting with James Makor has been part of the Future Guardians of Peace and everyday gandhis-Liberia community outreach program in schools. The tour focused on the following topics: beach erosion, the importance of mangroves, and pollution. First we visited the West Point community in Monrovia. At this community, we spoke to one of the inhabitants, Amos Sieh Snowie, the Kru Fishermen chief at the Kru beach. He explained to us about the damages erosion has caused particularly to the West Point community in Monrovia during the 1990’s. Erosion is caused naturally by the continual waves of the ocean and it starts most often during the wet season. Mr. Makor said during those days, other non-governmental organizations like UNICEF helped to put some structures in place by putting rocks along the coast in order to avoid the erosion that causes many problems in the community. But, now all of those rocks have been washed away. However, along with the erosion issue, the WestPoint community is unhygienic and does not have proper sanitation. The residents have no access to toilets and safe drinking water. To continue our tour, we moved to the Hotel Africa community and experienced more erosion that took place years ago and has caused damage to higher housing along the coast. We were told by James Makor that the appropriate approach to stop erosion is by using the Gabion bag method. He told us that although the placing of rocks along the coast is important, the best approach is the use of the Gabion bag. The Gabion bag is made up of thick plastic and wire and can be used with rocks and sand. The Gabion bags have served military proposes for years against enemy’s attacks, which gave people the idea to use it to avoid erosion, according to James Makor in our dialogue. Such Gabion bags were shown to us under one of the United Nations Quick Impact project bridges on our way back to central Monrovia. Mr. Makor also explained to us about the different kinds of Sea Turtles: the Leatherback turtle, the Hawsbill turtle, the Kemp’s Ridley turtle, the Loggerhead turtle, The Green turtle, and the Olive Ridley turtle. He told us how they lay their eggs in the sand in order to heat them up for hatching. Their eggs spend 40 to 65 days beneath the sand before they can hatch. Some of the problems that sea turtles face is poaching by humans who live and fish on the coast of Liberia. One solution to this problem is that people like us can spread awareness about this issue and the government can create a coast guard that would keep people from killing the turtles. We can also educate the public, especially those who live and fish on the coast of Liberia. If the poachers are hungry, what other sources of food do they have? Other sources of food poachers have are rice and fish. On our way back to Monrovia, we made a stop at the Tubman Boulevard road to view the Mangrove Swamp. During my observation at the site, I experienced and learned that people damage the Mangroves by cutting off the stems to have firewood to cook or dry fish. Mangroves
6 • everyday gandhis • fall 2012
are very essential because they serve as an environment for many smaller species and they help to hold water in certain places, which helps with erosion. To bring our tour to a close, we visited the Solid Waste Disposal Site outside of Monrovia, Whein Town Landfill. The site was another great learning experience for me. It was unbelievable to see ¼ of the waste from Monrovia compacted with red-clay in order to keep away the smell and flies. The waste is treated in a modern method to prevent any harm to the land and the people without recycling. It is very important for the waste to be treated in order to prevent harm to the community. The landfill site does need to be improved by adding a recycling program so that unwanted things can be reused. I have several recommendations for the government and people of Liberia about the issues we saw. First, I am asking the government of Liberia and non-governmental organizations to please help provide the Gabion bags or large boulders to places in the Monrovia areas, like West Point and Hotel Africa communities in order to stop erosion. To help air pollution, there should be laws made by the government of Liberia to avoid smoky vehicles in the streets and there should be public awareness about the issue of air pollution. To help land and water pollution, we as individuals need to understand how to manage our waste, the government should provide trash cans and waste disposal sites, and factories should be monitored so that toxic materials do not go into our rivers. I feel that my role in this is to provide awareness through community service activities that are self-initiated. During the two days environmental tour, one of the most importance topics I learned about is the use of Gabions to prevent erosion. The whole tour was a great experience for me because I had never learned or seen anything like what we learned and saw on this tour. I am hoping to have such opportunities again to explore more ideas about the causes and management of beach erosion, mangrove swamps, and pollution. I am very grateful to the Future Guardians of Peace and everyday gandhis for the possibility to brighten my skills as a young female who believes she can offer service to her community. Weedor M. Kumi is an active participant in the projects by the Future Guardians of Peace.
examining coastal erosion
Community Environmental Assessment by akoi mawolo
he Future Guardians of Peace had the opportunity to take a two-day tour to different parts of Monrovia with Mr. James Makor who works with Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU).
Mr. James Makor, who served as the facilitator of the tour, discussed topics like coastal erosion and gave us a wider knowledge on some of the problems and solutions. We visited a very poor, slum community called West Point in Monrovia and met some community members who explained to us how sea erosion is affecting their community because houses have been swept away. One of the elders in the community told us that before the 1990s, the government placed rocks along the coast that would help protect the area. After a few years, the sand covered all of those rocks and as a result, when the sea comes with force, he said that the water enters their houses. From there we went to one of the historical areas of Liberia, Hotel Africa (also in Monrovia), a five star hotel before the war where wealthy people would spend their time. During the war it was destroyed, then it became a community for people without homes and where people used to sit along the coast before, it is presently being swept away, even though there were rocks that were put in as protection there also. That day we saw a lot of examples that cause coastal erosion. One good example was sand mining, which happens on almost all the beaches around Monrovia. The sand is used for the construction of harbors and ports. Often, it is homeless or unemployed people who do the mining, especially ex-combatants. Other examples of things that contribute to coastal erosion are construction of artificial structures, offshore dredging, and the building of dams on various rivers. We then went to see and learn about the ecological importance of mangrove swamps and Mr. Makor gave us some details about how the mangroves preserve water quality and reduce pollution by filtering suspended materials and assimilating dissolved nutrients. The mangrove tree has the ability to grow where no other tree can, thereby making significant contributions that benefit the environment and communities. They help to protect against flooding and they provide a habitat for crayfish and shrimp. Shrimp is an important export and income source for some people. Lastly we discussed pollution and some of the causes of pollution. Pollution is caused by the improper disposal of waste materials. This pollutes our environment. Red light is one good
where our waste goes
observing the gabions
example of improper disposal of community waste product because there is no system in place for people to dispose of it. Instead, it gets burnt or thrown on the ground. In conclusion, if the West Point community is not helped by anyone, they will be swept out to sea. The people do not have any other place to go, so they will be forced to stay where they are, even though they may find it difficult to live there. The government can play a role by protecting their citizens, providing safe drinking water, food and housing that will help the community lead a better life. As individuals, we can help educate others on how to live in a safe environment. I am asking the government of Liberia to please see the need of the people who live in the West Point community. The best thing that we can do is to create awareness in the community through workshops and community clean up days. Akoi Mawolo is a Future Guardian of Peace with everyday gandhis, and a graduate of William Booth High School.
everyday gandhis • fall 2012 • 7
Ecology in Buchanan by esther kpaku
was excited about the trip to Buchanan because it was my first time visiting that part of Liberia. The purpose of the trip was to gain knowledge about sea erosion and the effects that it has on the coastline. We also learned different ways that we as individuals can commit to cleaning our environment. Of course I saw many amazing things along the road and in Buchanan itself including, a brand new coal mine built by the government, bridges from Monrovia to Buchanan and in Buchanan itself, a store that was uplifted by the waves of the sea, and the environments where the miners are living. I learned about the history of sea erosion in the city of Buchanan from Mr. Abraham Kollie, the head of the Save My Future Foundation. According to Mr. Kollie, in Buchanan “the Atlantic Street has been gradu-
Liberia. Liberians didn’t know the use of iron ore during the mining of the Bong Range, which was why they threw away resources that were valuable. As Liberians, we should develop wiser methods to manage our resources, and research it before throwing anything away. Mr. Kollie was educating us on things that we did not know about our country so that we can be able to improve in the future. It made me feel very bad to know that we wasted so many resources. As an individual I can commit to peace and a clean environment by picking up trash in my community. I can learn and teach others to recycle soda cans, bottles, paper, etc. Through doing this, I and my community will be using fewer resources that are needed elsewhere to produce other products. I will also encourage others and myself to not
documenting erosion in buchanan
ally wiped out due to the sea erosion.” I saw that the sea is almost hitting the coal mine. In three to five years, the sea will probably wash away the entire Atlantic Street and the inhabitants will soon become homeless people if nothing is done. In order to protect the inhabitants of Atlantic Street from sea erosion, the government needs to use Gabions to stop the eroding of the street. Mr. Kollie also talked about the iron ore mining, which he said, “during the mining of the Bong Range, lots of iron ore was thrown away by the Liberian people. Now Liberians know that the ore they thought was not good is still useful. It is through a newly modernized company who has given the Liberians the idea.” This idea is important because we need to be wise about our resources, and we need to learn not to send our resources to other countries because they are useful here in
8 • everyday gandhis • fall 2012
burn trash. With those commitments I believe that Liberia can be a clean and healthy environment for everybody. If we refuse to clean our own environment, then we’ll end up burying ourselves in trash in the future and there will be many different kinds of sicknesses and diseases because of the trash. I want my country to be a clean place to live, and I want Liberia to continue to develop more educated people so that we, as students, can make a change in the future for our country. So why not start with education first? Esther Kpaku is a Future Guardian of Peace with everyday gandhis and a sponsored student at Ricks Institute.
Learning About Our Resources by vicky jallah
was fortunate to partake in the second ecology tour through Buchanan with James Makor of SAMFU. Approximately three hours from Monrovia, Buchanan is located on the coast of Liberia. It was the second developed city in Liberia before the war because of the important seaport it has. Companies operating in Liberia carry all of their resources and minerals (iron ore, log, and diamond, gold and so on) through this port. In doing so, Buchanan was built in order to provide housing and recreation from the mining site while awaiting the arrival of ships or for vacations. It was common for most miners to send for their families to come and spend a little time with them in Buchanan.
From this experience, I learned about the waste of resources in our country and I learned about sea erosion and the damage caused by the sea, which makes the people homeless. All of the things I saw were amazing and exciting to me as a young student who can make a difference. I can make a difference by creating awareness and letting the government of Liberia and her people know through the writing of this article. Vicky Jallah is an active participant in the projects by the Future Guardians of Peace.
Our journey as a team in Buchanan led us to the Atlantic Street. This street has nearly been swept away because of the sea erosion. The sea crashes against the coal and in the next few years to come, the entire street will be gone. One of the possible solutions for this is using gabions to secure the land. During our research in the Buchanan area, we went to the beach and saw stores, houses and trees that had been destroyed by the water and can no longer allow for people to live there. On our way to the coconut plantation, a man told us that Liberian people throw resources away and those people are working for the company called LAMCO. LAMCO is a company that mines iron ore and diamonds in Liberia. At the coconut plantation, we had discussions about the iron ore, James Makor told us that “the new company called Metal Steel, has assured Liberians that the iron ore that was thrown away in the eighties is now useful”. ezekiel mavolo, the documenter
enjoying our trip
everyday gandhis • fall 2012 • 9
Voinjama Community Project
Cultivating Young Leaders
by ezekiel mavolo
everyday gandhis team
We realized that the rocket stove has an essential role to play in our homes, environment and country. It helps us to economize our forests and trees, keep animals safe by not cutting down their habitat, and helps to minimize climate change because it cuts down on the usage of firewood in our homes. A rocket stove can also help us to bring in income because we can use some wood for building and selling. We want to teach about how to make this stove and why it is important in schools where the World Food Programme (W.F.P.) is supplying food for students monthly.
Our former child soldiers and war-affected youth have never stopped fighting. They fight for forgiveness, they fight for long-lasting peace, and they will fight for a better life for themselves and their communities. We can offer these resilient learners a way to rebuild their lives and make amends to their communities by becoming leaders and examples for others. Our scholarship program is unique in many ways:
e the Future Guardians of Peace have seen it necessary to go and share our little knowledge we have gained from the permaculture training we took in Kenya with our communities. Many people in Liberia do not have the opportunity to seek the knowledge we have now. During the training in Kenya, we learnt different things from many people. One of the things we learnt was how to build a rocket stove.
Another aspect of this project is to share our ideas on permaculture, for example: how to preserve the forest by using a rocket stove, how to make a Kitchen Garden, Gray Water system, ally cropping and so on. We think this will make the schools able to provide additional food to supplement the food being supplied by the W.F.P every month. Second to that, we feel it is wise to have a peace house located in Voinjama near to the former EGP Compound for future use. Having this building will mean so much to us in terms of coming back to share about what we have taught and learned and serve the community.
Here is what we need to make this happen: • Metal Plates (3) . . . . $ 35.00 • Transportation . . . . $ 275.00 • Wheelbarrow . . . . . .$ 50.00 • Shovels (6) . . . . . . . $ 60.00 • Cutlasses (5) . . . . . . $ 50.00 • Gloves (12) . . . . . . .$ 60.00 • Hoes (6) . . . . . . . . .$ 35.00
n 2006, everyday gandhis promised a group of former child soldiers and war-affected youth in Liberia that we would help them heal from war and acquire an education. Going to school may sound like a simple task to many of us in the western world, but for these youth, many obstacles had to be overcome to return to civilian life. Now as young adults, they still face many challenges in order to finish high-school and continue to university.
• Our carefully selected group of scholarship recipients are closely monitored and supported by loving adults from their community. • We are making a special effort to find and support young women who have been affected by the war as there is currently very little assistance for young women. • In addition to schooling, they receive training in a variety of life skills, including peacebuilding, permaculture, photography, trauma healing and traditional culture. • During vacation time they do community service and ongoing outreach to others like themselves through workshops, soccer peace games, and photography. 100% of your tax-deductible contribution will be used for school fees, living costs, vocational training, and community education projects. Through education and community service they will benefit others and continue to thrive! Please join us in supporting their education by making a contribution to the everyday gandhis Scholarship Fund – cultivating young leaders through education and community service. You can make a donation online at: www.everydaygandhis.org/programs-scholarship-fund or via mail to everyday gandhis’ new address, 10500 Ford Street, #627, Mendocino, CA 95460.
• Seedlings . . . . . . . . $ 75.00 Grand Total: $ 640.00 You can help make this project a reality by donating at www.everydaygandhis.org or calling the everyday gandhis office at 805-669-8137. Thank you for supporting a healthier world! Ezekiel Mavolo is a Future Guardian of Peace with everyday gandhis, a graduate of Ricks Institute, and will be attending college in the United States.
10 • everyday gandhis • fall 2012
graduates of william booth high school
Our journey continues with everyday gandhis’ new documentary film, THE FIGHT TO FORGIVE. After extensive post-production work, our release date draws nearer and is projected to be at the end of November.
the kids and those of us in everyday gandhis who have been privileged to work with them and get to know their soaring courage, remarkable resilience and deep commitment to transforming themselves and their communities.
Starting in October, the film will begin the first leg of our international screening tour on the East Coast. During the East Coast Tour, we will be partnering with American University and the International Peace & Conflict Resolution Program to put on an educational screening event. To check out our schedule and see all of the exciting venues we will be at, please visit: www.thefighttoforgive.com. There will also be screenings in southern California during October and November and into 2013.
Our goal is to share these stories with a worldwide network of people, programs, and organizations working to build peace at the grassroots level in ways that empower marginalized communities and ensure that peacebuilding includes the natural world. We prefer to share the film in small community settings where the screening is accompanied by a council-style discussion.
The Fight to Forgive is the story of five former child soldiers and one war refugee who became ‘brothers’ in their quest to heal from Liberia’s civil war by becoming peacemakers and photographers. The film shows the complexity of the healing process and the challenge of truly forgiving oneself and others. It is also the story of the relationship between
If you, or someone you know would like to host a screening or set up a community screening in their area, please contact our Media Coordinator, Ana Brush at: email@example.com. To purchase the film for yourself or a educational institution, conference, or the like, please visit www.thefighttoforgive.com.
everyday gandhis • fall 2012 • 11
10500 Ford Street, #627 Mendocino, CA 95460
everyday gandhis ph: 805.669.8137 • www.everydaygandhis.org everyday gandhis is a California 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation. All donations are tax-deductable as provided by law. ©2012 everyday gandhis project inc. All rights reserved . Design & Layout by Jesse Smith • www.ablacksmith.com • Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper •
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