Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Visiting Belefani in Bong County

An old country fair atmosphere enveloped the market of stick structured booths. Plantain, fish, and corn cooked over charcoal fires filling the air with a sweet aroma. Shirts, dresses, and shoes hung from the booths. The woman dressed in colorful fabric busied themselves packing away their goods for it was the end of the day. The men tied bundles of charcoal, containers of gasoline, and food to their vehicles to take home or to the next market. These were the images that filled my senses as we drove into Belefani in Bong County.

Belefani is a small village. The village proper rests in a valley and houses dot gently rising lush green slopes. This village brutally ripped apart by Charles Taylor’s rebel forces is a sign of the complexities of Liberia’s healing. The people of the village fled throughout West Africa. Soon after the war ended in 2003 the people began to return to their homes and slowly are rebuilding their lives and their village. In Belefani there are signs of progress with new buildings and elections in January. However, there are security issues, thefts, and problems of domestic abuse.

An elder of the village showed me the new communication tower, the present blue colored health center and the grounds where the new center would be built. He pointed out the new brightly yellow colored market pavilion. This elder carries within him a pride that his people survived and had returned. Most of all he speaks of his faith that his village will return to prosperity. He holds within what most Liberians carry within their hearts, hope.

No comments: