I was reading an article yesterday about the hardships that the Ivorian refugees are facing in Liberia – lacking adequate food, water, medical care, etc. and how Britain is pledging to step in and help. Today I read about how the conflict in the Ivory Coast could start crossing the border into Liberia. I thought about how many Liberians were still displaced from the war that ended there in the middle of 2003. Even if they have made it back home, many do not have the resources to rebuild.

Houses built out of pieces of what used to be Hotel Africa in Liberia. With no zoning laws currently being enforced, people are building wherever they can find an open clearing.

Other wars in western Africa have taken place within recent years and have left countries like Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire vulnerable to the demands of rebuilding – while still trying to meet the needs of housing multiple groups of refugees from various conflicts. It is overwhelming to think about where to begin to support the efforts that are being made to pick up the pieces. I think the best thing we can do is be aware of what is happening. This is hard for me as I don’t like to dwell on things that I feel powerless against but to ignore it is worse.

I’ve also thought a lot about how long it will take for things to get better. When we were in Liberia, Emile said that it would take generations to heal from the war. I looked at the faces of the children after he said that and felt sad that they would never know a completely carefree life full of hope and possibility – like they would have had without the 16 year war. I think those of us who have never known war at home have a lot to be thankful for.

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