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  • Writer's pictureKreig Ecklund

A Day in the Life: Getting to School

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Today we introduce “A Day in the Life” campaign, highlighting ways the Keyara’s Gift community face daily challenges. A special thanks to those students and parents, who shared so candidly, and to the case workers and our country director, who worked so hard to conduct the interviews.

By metaphorically “stepping into their shoes,” we hope to share a glimpse of their reality and to underscore the urgency and importance of your concern and support.

 

DAY 1: 🌧RAINY SEASON 🌧 vs 🌞DRY SEASON 🌞


Liberia’s tropical climate means it’s hot and humid all year round. A six-month “rainy season” (May to October), due to the African monsoon, significantly impacts daily life. We are talking capital “R” amounts of rain. Think 20 to 39 inches, every month, for six months! Umbrellas are of no use.

Some daily tasks, like gathering water, become easier, but most others become more difficult - even dangerous. Roads become impassable with thick mud or turn into raging rivers, poorly constructed shelters leak, clothes don’t dry, whole communities flood, bedding is perpetually wet, mosquito populations swell, mornings and evenings are cold, and selling in the market becomes a challenge.


The shorter “dry season” (December to March) improves travel and commerce but even this season has its own set of challenges. Gathering clean water becomes difficult, roads become dusty, and hot, sandy, “Harmattan wind” blows from the Sahara Desert.

37-year-old Delor is mother to five kids, raising three of her own and two of her deceased sister’s kids, with her husband, Samuel. Alvina, with the blue hat, and Linda (not pictured) are students sponsored by Keyara’s Gift.

 

Meet Delor and her family.

It’s 5 a.m. when Delor awakens to begin her day. The song of croaking tree frogs and a lingering scent of wet earth fills the air. It’s cold, damp, and dark, both inside and out, as there is no electricity.


Her first consideration is securing food for the day, cleaning the house, and ensuring that her four school-aged kids get off to school in clean uniforms. Each of these tasks are a challenge - but for now we’ll focus on the last one - getting the kids to school in a clean uniform.


For the US equivalent of $15 dollars a month, the family rents this two room home with corrugated metal walls and roof -- not a very reliable barrier against torrential rain. If light comes through - so does water and wind.

 

Clean Uniforms

Without running water the family must drink, cook, and wash from the community well - exposing themselves to water-borne diseases. Currently, almost 1 million Liberians are without safe drinking water.


Each student has two school uniforms and one pair of shoes, for the year. They are required to show up in a clean one every day. Assuming Delor is able to hand-launder and then air-dry the uniforms, which isn’t easy with the extreme humidity and rainfall, she then hopes her kids can stay clean on the way to school. It’s hard to say which task is more formidable.


Roads become rivers, courtyards become mud pits, and flooding is commonplace - making walking to school or the market difficult, dirty, and sometimes dangerous or impossible.

 

A Clean Commute

Imagine the difficulty of navigating unpaved, muddy roads, fording rivers of rainwater, or bypassing flooded areas of your neighborhoods, without getting your shoes or clothes wet or dirty? It’s almost an impossible task - but one every student and parent must face during the rainy season. It takes grit and fortitude.


Tomorrow is Another Day

By 8 p.m. it’s dark again, in the remote Richardson Community, and time for bed. The family can smell marijuana and cocaine, smoked by neighbors, and the loud drone of motorbikes, but that’s not what keeps them up. It’s not even the snakes and frogs that might easily have found their way indoors.


No- it’s the mosquitos that make falling asleep a challenge. Rainy season brings with it burgeoning mosquito populations and subsequently, higher rates of malaria, which can be fatal for infants, pregnant women, and their unborn babies.


Everyone checks their sleeping mats, Delor does her best to drive mosquitos from the room, and good-nights are exchanged. It will all start again in just 8 hours.

 

Thank you for exploring “A Day in the Life” with us.


And to those who’ve already helped us reach 73% of our goal to sponsor 122 students this year - THANK YOU!!


A matching grant of $25,000 still has $1,000 remaining so your donation can still be doubled.


Inflation has hit hard this year and the cost has risen to $550 per student - leaving us with $18,000 to reach our goal.


Can you help us get 34 more students to school?


No amount is too small!




With gratitude for your continued interest and support,


Karen and Kreig Ecklund

Founders, Keyara's Gift


Want to donate by check? Here are the instructions.

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