Monrovia and Paynesville are Drowning in Plastic; One Company Tries to Help

MONROVIA – Waste plastic is becoming a scourge around the world but it is especially true here in Liberia’s capital city and its satellite sister, Paynesville. Discarded plastic is choking waterways, blocking drains, killing fish, and leaching harmful chemicals into the water and soil. By Tina S. Mehnpaine, with New Narratives With poor or limited waste management…

Liberians Overdosing At Home Over Fear of Coronavirus

PAYNESVILLE – Beginning June 9, Mary Jones, a 42-year-old mother of four, took sick for a week. She had sore throat, headache and running stomach, the same symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus. Jones bought drugs from two pharmacies and took them. She thought she would contract coronavirus or be tested for the disease if…

Health Authorities Calm Over Limited Ventilators

MONROVIA – Liberia has only six ventilators, one of the country’s many challenges in combating the novel coronavirus pandemic but health authorities say they are not worried about that. Why? They have not had to use the available, meager equipment. “The absence of ventilators is not having any impact on us because none of our patients…

Liberians Are Combating Coronavirus and Storm At The Same Time

BARNESVILLE – David Wesseh, a resident of Kebbah, appears confused after his two houses were unroofed by a heavy storm. Wesseh, his wife and his seven children are being accommodated by friends not far from where his roofless houses stand, but he is worried that he and his family could catch coronavirus. There have been no…

Rescued From Bush School, Girls Detail Trauma; Mothers Pursue Justice

Mount Barclay, LIBERIA – Going to the “Sande Bush” school was never a dream for Dearest, Tina or Precious. The three girls, all high school students, say they were abducted by traditional leaders in September and taken by force to the Sande without the consent of their parents. They spent six terrifying weeks at the…

Women Farmers Made Destitute by Pandemic

MONROVIA – Weatta Gbelly has seen hardship in her 35 years but nothing prepared her for the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms. Gbelly has never had the virus, neither does she know anyone who has, but she has suffered just the same. Ms. Gbelly is a mother of six. She and her husband used to farm to support…

Women Farmers Made Destitute by Pandemic

MONROVIA – Weatta Gbelly has seen hardship in her 35 years but nothing prepared her for the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms. Gbelly has never had the virus, neither does she know anyone who has, but she has suffered just the same. Ms. Gbelly is a mother of six. She and her husband used to farm to support…

Child Labor Thrives in Liberia

In 2007, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf introduced a policy mandating that all primary school-age children go to school. Parents risk fines or even being jailed if their children work on the street instead of attending school. Nearly four years later, the streets of the capital, Monrovia, are still crowded with young school-age children who work…

Genital Cutting Threatens the Health of Liberia’s Women

The cultural practice of female genital cutting is rampant in Liberia, especially in the countryside.  Parents send girls as young as infants to ceremonies conducted by a secretive indigenous religion known as the Sande to be cut without knowing the health risks involved.  But openly talking about this secret rite of passage is taboo here. …

Water and Sanitation Problems Plague Monrovians

It is often said in Liberia: “to spoil it is easy but to build it is hard.” So is the case with water and sanitation here. The 14-year civil war destroyed much of the water supply and sanitation facilities. People escaping brutal battles in the heart of the country relocated to Monrovia—overcrowding the city’s slums…

Liberia’s Teen Moms Have it Hard

Having children early may seem like an adventure for many teenage girls, but most soon discover that this choice leads to lasting consequences. The high rate of teenage pregnancy increases the economic burden of Liberia by creating generation upon generation of very poor families.  The majority of teen moms live at home with their parents,…