Sunday, September 26, 2010


As the LOEP Training Team shifts into high gear here in the U.S., our friends and colleagues in Liberia are putting some new techniques into practice and preparing for new challenges, according to Rev. Sam-Peal.

Just this week we received a call from Rev. Sam-Peal. He wanted to tell us that the Pre-Kindergarten teacher is looking forward to receiving the bean bags and to receivng more training to work with children with special needs. He told me there is an Albino child who has enrolled in the Pre-K class this year and he has vision problems and some other issues related to learning. Rev. Sam-Peal said, "we are committed to being an 'inclusive' school and for children like him the bean bags will be a good learning and teaching tool. Because of his vision problems he needs more kinesthetic and auditory instruction. We will really be able to use them! We also want to be sure Karen is coming with the team to help us work with some special students".

This seemingly simple conversation is amazing on so many levels:

1. "inclusive" school is a new concept in Africa and, until the past year or two, it was virtually unheard of in Liberia. LOEP training introduced the concept of inclusiveness and 'learning differently" to the teachers at Lott Carey and last year the team introduced the idea of teaching children with special needs. Lott Carey Teachers have obviously not only grasped the concept but fully embraced it!

2. People with any kind of disability have a very difficult life in Africa. Because of ancient superstitions, Albinos suffer even more than others with intense discrimination against them and are even at risk for their lives in many cases. It is truly amazing to know that teachers and students at Lott Carey are not only committed to being an "inclusive" school but they are challenging ancient beliefs and overcoming their own deep-seated prejudices to be "committed" in finding ways to work with children who have special needs.

This is really a breakthrough and an incredible step for the teachers and students at Lott Carey. We are hoping that they will continue to experience God's love in a way that helps them shed the old ways that discriminate against the weakest and most vulnerable of His children. It is a privilege to walk into the light of compassion and kindness with them and see them remain committed to educating all children to be responsible citizens of a peaceful Liberia.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Liberia in the News

LOEP Board member, Brenda Bush works for CNN as a reporter and writer.  She was one of the lucky few on board the Delta Inaugural Flight direct from Atlanta to Monrovia.  President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and other Liberian dignitaries came from Liberia just to fly back on that special US-to-Liberia flight that took place two weeks ago.  It was especially significant for Brenda who is Liberian and has lived here in the U.S. most of her adult life, working hard and raising her family (she has five children), all the while keeping closely connected to her Liberian roots.

*Update:  Brenda sent a message to correct this post:  The Liberian dignitaries did not fly to the US to take the Inaugural flight back to Monrovia.  Madame President and the others were in Liberia to greet the Inaugural Delta flight and did so in fine fashion according to reports! 
Click on the link to see one of several special reports Brenda filed for CNN!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day of School in Liberia

This e-mail was just received from Rev. Sam-Peal in response to the previous blog entry - Emmalee's reflection on the First Day of School. Rev. Sam-Peal is the head of Lott Carey Mission School where LOEP conducts teacher training workshops.

Dear Emma,

Greetings to you and hope all is well.
I just read your blog about first day of school. Monday 8/30/10 was the first day of school here at Lott Carey, and the kids were excited, anxious, scared, (the nursery was a noisy place with much crying and tears from first-timers who cried when their parents dropped them off and left), and wet. Yes wet, the rains are heavy and on the first day it really POURED all day. The rain did not deter these excited and determined students, though some came to school drenched because they had no rain gear. Some came without school supplies, some showed up for school even though they had not paid a cent towards registration or tuition, they came in faith hoping that they will be allowed in class and that someway, somehow their fees will be paid for them to stay in school this year. Some had on new shoes, some had on old shoes, some were uniformed and others were not, very few had lunchboxes, yet, very eager and excited to learn. So our first week of school is off to a great start, teachers are excited, classrooms are freshly painted, decorated (Ms. Harvey had balloons to welcome her students), students are excited.

Just thought to share this with you when I read your blog about First Day of school.

Love and blessings,