The People of COVID Response - May, Liberia, thank
Generous Donors (Canada-Wide)
Michelle McGowan Memorial Foundation (Barrie, ON)
Gerry & Fran Friesen (Thunder Bay, ON)
in memory of our grandson Erik
For helping them complete health & hygiene training
A message from the community
We are very grateful for your support to help us bring knowledge to our nation. Indeed our people perish for lack of it and the gift that you have offered will preserve life and give lessons and information that will last a lifetime.
In some ways we are blessed by villagers being more receptive to the new information. Having survived Ebola, they are well aware of how disease can change lives in an instant. Still basic information like handwashing and social distancing need to be reinforced and ways to execute safe best practices when finding yourself in a crowd, such as at the market or waiting in line for water at a pump.
Our package includes written material about COVID, but also, practical applications, such as chlorox to wash down the handles of the hand pump, patterns to make masks, and to the very poor, bags of rice, oil and sardines.
Our drill team continues to work hard and strive to lessen the numbers of people per pump as well as drilling in rural areas where the inhabitants are still drawing their drinking water from swamps or contaminated dug wells. It's a challenge to remain healthy but vital as they don't want to be vectors to spreading the disease in any way.
Everyone is extremely grateful for your help in this time of great need. We literally couldn't do it without the help of our friends and neighbours across the world.
May God keep you safe and healthy and pour out His blessing upon you all.
Lifewater Liberia Program Coordinator
Some community details (provided by our in-country partners)
The global impact of this pandemic reminds us that we are truly living in a global village. Our “neighbour” is no longer just the person living next door, but includes everyone, everywhere.
We cannot disconnect ourselves from the plight of women and girls who can't socially distance as they draw water from crowded pumps; and we cannot ignore children who can’t frequently wash their hands because water takes so much time to fetch.
Lifewater Canada’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak began in early March, 2020. Lifewater Liberia Inc (L-Linc) proactively took a position of leadership starting work early to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when there were just a few known cases in the country.
In May, Liberia was shut down with the military enforcing a 3 PM curfiew. However, after just 1 week, Lifewater was deemed an essential service and was given special passes to move through military and policy roadblocks.
COVID-19 continued to slowly spread in Liberia during the month. While the number of confirmed cases continued to grow to nearly 300, the real concern is the 10% fatality rate. This may be a sign of the lack of timely, effective medical intervention like patients in Canada receive. But there is also suspicion that the number of actual cases is dramatically higher than reported, particularly in remote "grass hut" villages which lack access to tests.
The Lifewater team continued to host two workshops per week. Workshops utilized participatory lessons and ensured that people observed 6 foot separations. Workshop participants were taught how to:
Lifewater's production of surgical masks was ramped-up during May with the goal of providing every workshop participant with a mask. The long-term plan is to provide masks for Vilage chiefs and Pump Caretakers at all Lifewater wells in Margibi and Montserrado County.
Lifewater continues to closely monitor the COVID situation to ensure that our teams comply with directions from local government and health officials.
In May, two L-Linc teams increased their efforts to drill wells. The goal is to reduce the number people gathering at any one water supply, reduce wait times, and maximize the amount of water available for handwashing and household sanitation.
Safe water also helps people avoid complications arising from preventable water-borne disease. Our teams maintain community involvement without direct contact. Community members still assist on site, but during the pandemic local people do not provide meals or housing for the drillers, or work alongside the teams as in normal times.
Less than a decade ago, Liberia was the epicenter of the worlds worst-ever Ebola outbreak. People have not forgot the seemingly unstoppable spread and the suffering and death that followed. Many Liberian people are scared with a ominous sense of Deja vu.
But with your help and support, they now have the capacity to understand COVID and have clear actions that will help prevent COVID from devastating their country. Thank-you!