Since 1989, Liberia's history has been one of great tragedy. A peace agreement signed in 2003 led to the resignation of Charles Taylor and ended a 14-year civil war in which over 250,000 Liberians were killed and untold numbers scarred in unimaginable ways. No family was left untouched.
View of Monrovia -- note the sea of shanties along the beach
A transitional government was put into place until President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (first and only female African head of state) was elected in 2006. Not only did most of the educated leave the country during the war, but nearly all major infrastructure was looted and destroyed. The country is now in a rebuilding phase and the world is watching and hopeful that the elections next year will be peaceful.
Ministry of Health building that was never finished after the war
Monrovia City Hall -- one of the buildings that has been renovated
The Cropseys were sent to explore the medical opportunities. In 2003, there was not a single remaining Liberian doctor in the country per the Dean of the medical school! In 2005, the number had increased to a whopping six. Some estimate a total of 60 docs in country now, but they are mostly in Monrovia. So the need is great, no question, especially for educating the next generation of doctors for the country.
A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine - they have some beautiful new buildings and labs. JFK (the big government hospital in Monrovia) seems to be doing pretty well. The people that we met with at both of these institutions were very eager for us to come.
On arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the Colby family, who are working with SIM (Serving in Mission) at the historic ELWA campus. ELWA was given 137 acres by the government over 50 years ago and has been involved in radio ministry, education, and medical outreach at ELWA Hospital. Prior to the war, ELWA was considered the "Cadillac of mission hospitals" with over 200 ex-pats on campus. Today, there are only a few SIM missionaries (none of them doctors), handling a very large load. Three doctors on loan from the Ministry of Health are keeping ELWA going while Dr. Rick Sacra is on home assignment in the USA.
View from the guesthouse -- ELWA housing is right on the beach!
One of the many houses on ELWA's campus that hasn't yet been renovated.
Our welcoming team (L to R) -- Jackie (dental hygienist), Kristin & Keith Chapman (dentist), Dr. Alfredma Chessor (Liberian doc trained in the U.S.), Natalie & Ben Colby
Liberia is certainly a place with huge need. If we go to Liberia, we would primarily be stationed at ELWA Hospital with opportunities to teach at the medical school and JFK, eventually helping to start residency programs in country. Please pray for ELWA Hospital as they are going through some tough transitions right now. And keep the McCropders in your prayers as we try to discern God's calling for our team.