Liberia: Red Cross Donates Food And Non-Food Items to Restore Hope to Physically Challenged Couple

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Monrovia – John Mulbah and Patience Kollie, a vulnerable couple living in Gbarnga, Bong County, are facing the regretful side of life as they barely get daily meal to eat because of their disabilities.  Johnson is visually impaired and feeds his family on digging and selling sand from a river, while Patience is paralyzed from her second child delivery operation at one of the hospitals in Gbarnga.

“Life is not easy for us. Things often become more difficult when the sand I dig from the river is not being bought on time by customers so that we can buy food,” John says.   John’s condition is tears pouring- uses his imagination, hands, and feet to feel objects beneath the river while he digs the sand for sale. “I sell a pile of the sand for seven hundred ($700) Liberian dollars, but getting it from the river to shore is a challenging process for me,” he mentioned.

John is the father of three children, imagine the stress and suffering he is going through to get daily bread   for his family to survive.  He was not born visually impaired. According to John, he got blind on July 28, 2005 after he and his friends swam in a stream being swum in by everyone in his town in Bong County. He said he wishes that his sight could be restored someday.

However, on Saturday, January 9, 2021, the vulnerable couple got some of their needs solved when the Liberian Red Cross presented two bags of 25kg rice and two mattresses donated by an honorary member of the Red Cross, Rohit Suji who is also the President of the Association of the Indian Community in Liberia. During the presentation, the National Society expressed solidarity and demonstrated humanity in presenting the food and non-food items to the vulnerable family.

 Mr. Suji’s quick intervention was intended to identify with the disabled couple to offer support and bring hope to them in the midst of their distress. His donation came in the wake of a report by a reporter of the KMTV that the couple was dying of starvation after he visited their home in the Cotton Tree Community in Gbarnga, Bong County. The couple still needs more help- they have been sleeping in an old leaking hut until a neighbor recently pitied their condition and gave them a room in his house.

For Patience, John’s fiancée, life is extremely boring for her as she is not able to move about to fetch food or do any tangible thing. Patience’ two legs are paralyzed and becoming smaller with her toes sticking tightly together. In sorrow, Patience explained; “See all these marks on my feet; they are hot water burn marks. My mother and other neighbors used to warm my legs with hot water, thinking that it could help me to walk again after I became paralyzed. I was not born like this.

I got paralyzed in 2010 when I underwent operation during my second child delivery at a hospital here in Gbarnga. After sometime of the operation, I began feeling severe pains in my abdomen. My mother and I went back to the hospital and explained to the doctor about what was happening to me. The doctor charged us four hundred ($400) United States dollars to treat me. My mother did not have the money and no family member could help because they are poor.  So I was treated at home with country medicine. This is how my legs got paralyzed.” 

Patience is birth feeding her third child, but she looks poor in health due to the lack of food and medication, compounded with no good sleeping place for them. She said her two children are not in school this year because of no money, something she said is more painful. The couple, however, expressed deep gratitude to the Red Cross and its partner for the assistance toward them. They are however appealing for a permanent home or shelter where they can live comfortably. Patience has also expressed the desire to vender in petty business to be able to complement the income from the sale of the sand by her husband.

Meanwhile, the Liberian Red Cross as a premiere humanitarian institution in Liberia said while there is no major disaster and other emergencies at the moment, there are increasingly compelling humanitarian needs on the grounds that demand urgent support.  Better livelihood, improved access to safe drinking water, adequate food and better healthcare for vulnerable people are needs that cannot be ignored. The Liberian Red Cross is not only providing relief assistance to people living with vulnerabilities including disabilities but also building their resilience and restoring hope to ensure a better living condition.

 The Liberian Red Cross is currently financially challenged at the moment, it is calling for increased support from everyone the government, corporate institutions, and donor partners to enable it to address the needs of the most vulnerable people in the communities.  Membership support remains one of the key sources of support to the Red Cross and it is therefore calling on every well-meaning Liberian, non-Liberian, and institution to subscribe as a member and support the humanitarian actions of the Red Cross in addressing needs and bringing relief to the communities.

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