Monday, January 29, 2007

Gbaye's Town Gets a New Women's Center

North of Kakata, in Gbaye’s Town, the women of the Konoquellie clan have been working with the Mother Patern Women’s Development Program to create a women’s resource center. The MPC Women’s Program has been helping Liberian women help themselves in villages all over Liberia. Grace Boiwu, a friend, student, and hero of mine, heads the program. She works with humble and fierce determination to empower women affected by war, abuse and a culture that has traditionally relegated them to near slave status.

The women’s resource center will be a place to offer training and support in a number of areas, from developing and managing a business, to trauma related help, to conflict resolution. It will be a place of teaching, learning, praying, holding and healing. The Mother Patern Women’s program will be conducting ongoing workshops at this and the other centers, and hopefully soon I will be able to join them to lend a hand. It is humbling to be allowed to be a part of this work. It is a sacred trust.

2/2/07 UPDATE We were having problems again posting pictures. Please be patient with us when this happens, because somebody needs to be and its usually not me. It drives me nuts because we have such limited access to the net, and when it doesn't work, it might be days before I can get to it again. So thanks. Here are the shots.

The road to Gbaye's Town. Not for the faint of stomach. Impassable in the wet season.

We arrived and were greeted by Kpelle singing and dancing.

As always, the kids watched us. As always, each face says something different.

We gathered in a temporary reed-covered pavilion-- here Grace Boiwu waits for the program to begin. She doesn't like cameras, but I told her the world needs to see her.

A panorama of inside the pavilion. The opening of the resource center was a big deal for the whole village-- and the surrounding villages.

After the ribbon-cutting, the women of Gbaye's Town in front of their new Women's Resource Center.

As the event closed, while everyone was eating, I took a stroll through the town. Here is a community cooking hut, one of the most common structures in the country.

What seemed like the town sqaure. Very dusty, but they tell me a real mess in the wet season.

Thatched roof and our Land Cruiser.

Our last view of Gbaye's Town on our way back to Monrovia.