Saturday, March 28, 2009

Art for Beds

By some stimates more than 150,000 children were orphaned by the war in Liberia. In those months right after the UN arrived in Liberia to help enforce a tentative ceasefire, many families were reunited. Alfred and Agnes Memorial Orphan Mission (AAMOM) has been a home for children without families for many years so ceasefire and family reunification did not much change AAMOM. Children still live there, cared for by the Pederson family who are the grandchildren of Alfred and Agnes,the original founders.

AAMOM became known to Browntown Church when the church began sending humanitarian relief supplies, rice, seeds and school supplies in the closing months of the war. The war was hard on AAMOM and by the time of the ceasefire when Browntown Church became involved, the facility had deteriorated, the animals they raised for food (chickens and pigs) were gone and living conditions were harsh. NGOs provided minimal food, there was no medical attention and the children were sleeping on old foam pallets.
Thanks to benefactors, life has improved at AAMOM. Children at AAMOM have become their own family and the facility reinforces that family feeling. The orphanage/school is a complex of low, red-roofed, white, buildings surrounded by vegetable patch gardens on several acres. The buildings and rooms are just large enough to serve their purpose (sleeping, study, eating, assembly, etc.). The economy of space in the open terrain of the countryside makes for a serene, child-friendly environment.
Now the children sleep up off the floor on foam matresses in bunk beds, many with mosquito nets, thanks to an artist whose beautiful work is devoted to raising funds for Liberian orphans. The sight of those sturdy bunks was a moving reminder of the kindness and compassion of so many friends and family who have responded to the plight of orphans in Liberia.

No comments:

Post a Comment