Liberia: Crying for Help: Log-Size Leg 17-Year-old, 9th Grader, Groans


Seventeen-year-old and 9th grader James Domie sat behind a black polythene bag with various denominations of Liberian Bank notes—many of them mutilated—dropped there by passers-by.

He continually blew off flies attracted to greenish liquid in a deep cut occupying the entire calf of his left leg the size of a log. The part of the leg hosting his five toes.

By Samuel G. Dweh

“My grandson is in the in the 9th grade. He’s very clever with his school lessons. His problem started one month ago in Caldwell and Dixville where he lives with me, his grandmother. One day, he came from school and went to the field where people sticks, planks and plywood for people building houses. Here is his hustle ground for his school fees. His work is arranging sellers’ woods or transporting some buyers’ sticks or plank for building of houses. On this day, while he was transporting a customer’s plywood to a push-push (wooden trolley with car’s tyre), he felt a sharp pain on his foot. He screamed and dropped the plywood to see what hit him. Blood! Blood was flowing from a deep cut. Then, he saw a tiny piece of stick with blood on it. It’s that tiny sore that’s now deep like a small gutter and with green water coming from it.”

The comments above were responses from James’s maternal grandmother, Nancy Domie, to my inquiry, directed to the boy, on how the gutter-like wound came on his calf.

James was sitting on cement block and his grandmother sitting at the edge of the cemented floor of the Water Street’s branch of EcoBank when my attention was attracted by his condition. I was on my way from visiting my Pressure-struck mother in West Point Township whose major route is connected to part of the base of EcoBank. The Township, one of Monrovia’s slum communities, also hosts the Head Office of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC)

James and his grandmother live in a tiny room at the boundary of Caldwell and Dixville, outside of Monrovia, grandmother added during our chat. The boy’s father abandoned him when he was two years old, grandmother replied to another inquiry from this writer.

“He left because he didn’t want to take care of the boy, or because he didn’t have money to feed him, buy clothes for him, and send him to school,” grandmother said about his son-in-law.

To the interrogating stranger’s question of the whereabouts of James’s mother, grandmother replied: “My daughter is living in Nimba County, our home, where she and the run-away man born James. But since she gave the boy to me when he was two years old, to bring him to Monrovia, she hardly sends money to me for the boy.”

James had been taken to a herbalist to cure the sore, grandmother confessed to this writer.

“The medicine man demanded three hundred US dollars to heal my grandson. But I didn’t have that kind of money, so he refused to treat my grandchild. Since that time to today, I can’t find the three hundred,” grandmother responded to this writer’s question about the ‘treatment fee’ charged by the herbalist.

Madam Nancy Domie said her preference for a herbalist was based on the ‘slowness’ of modern medical science on recovery of her grandson.

“I think this thing da (is) goa,” grandmother said, referring to witchcraft (called “goa” in Liberia), she replied to my suggestion for a healing place being run on modern medical science. “So, I took my grandchild to many clinics, and I bought many drugs with the money my neighbors gave me. But the sore can’t be cured.”

Grandmother Nancy Domie is currently unemployed, she admitted during this writer’s brief chat with her.

“I used to sell small, small thing—children’s and big people’s clothes, and other things. But the business broke down, because the people are not buying,” she said toward a question about her source of money for the life’s needs for herself and her grandson.

“So, I’m now begging people to help my son with money to pay the medicine man to heal him, so he will start (resume) school,” she added.

To get the spelling of the native (surname) of the grandmother right, I asked the grandson to spell it for me.

“I can write it for you if you gave me a pen,” James said. I gave him one of the two ink pens with me. He wrote his grandmother’s full name and his name in less than five seconds. His stenograph (sometime called penmanship in Liberia) was fine, with each letter distinctly written. “This is my grandmother’s name and this is mine,” he said in flawless English, pointing to the two names on the sheet I gave.

“What is your class?” I asked on my admiration for his penmanship.

“I’m in the ninth grade,” he replied.

Later, I asked James and his mother for permission to take photos of them to post on my Social Media platform (Facebook) for my Social Media friends around the Globe to see him and his condition and offer financial assistance. I had done similar thing for a ‘financially handicapped’ Liberian single mother suffering with her female twin, age 1, whose Ghanaian father had fled to his Country when the twin was three weeks old.

A lady, named jkb Joice (my classmate on Ghana’s refugee camp) in the United States, saw the kids’ photos on my Facebook, and sent twenty United States dollars (US$20) for the kids through me. To prove my delivery of her ‘humanitarian gesture’, I wrote about her gesture and the twin’s gratitude on a large paper card, and posted a photo of me, the kids, their mother, their grandmother, and the paper card on my Facebook.

“Sam, I didn’t expect you to make such big publicity about the little money I sent to the twin through you,” Joyce said to me the day he post appeared on my Facebook.

“I felt you will need my proof of delivery of the money you sent for the fatherless kids, so I did that,” I replied.  

At the end of my chat with James and his grandmother, I rose to leave them.

“Please show my grandchild’s photo to people to help him,” grand mother Nancy Domie begged.

“I will play my parts of putting his photos with written information on my Facebook and putting it in a newspaper. Only God can touch somebody’s heart to help with money that I don’t have on me right now to contribute to his treatment,” I responded.

“Leh God bless you,” the grandmother said (“Leh” for “Let”), while grandson James continued his grunting and groaning from the pains he was experiencing.

Grandson James continued with his blowing off flies wanting to feast on his deep, greenish wound and grunting and groaning from the pains he was feeling from his deep, greenish wound.

James Domie and his grandmother, Nancy Domie, can be reached directly through grandma’s personal telephone number: +777895932.