-As They Speak Out Frustration

By Abraham Mulbah, [email protected]

Paynesville- The Coronavirus outbreak has and continues to cause a global emergency and an economic slowdown.

Not just that but trade/small businesses are all affected, and the crisis is having an effect on output with Liberia been no exception.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the Liberian economy was challenged with rising infliction as a result of the depreciation of the Liberian Dollar against the United States dollar.

COVID-19 and its social distancing restriction plus several other measures put in place by the government to curtail the further spreads of the virus appear more frustrating for an already ailing Liberian economy.

The impact of the virus can be seen here in markets, the Soul Clinic and Pipe-line Communities. 

As I tour these community markets, many of those selling here are fast losing hope over the slow pace at which customers pull in to purchase.

Marketers in these areas depend on profits earned from their local businesses to settle their children’s tuition, provide for their homes and sometimes rental fees for those ranting.

With this unforeseen uncertainty hanging over the survivability of the local businesses here in Paynesville City outside Monrovia, how are these women coping with the situation?

The Stage Media took up time to speak with some of the women.

Madam Lucy Sando is in her late 40 and sells bonny fish in the soul clinic market. “Things are not easy but thank God for my small business (Bitter-ball and okra) I am doing. I use the little profit to send my children to school and that is the same business we are depending on to eat, pay rent and do other things. Every year I pay 15 to 30 thousand for them, so it is not easy for us especially market women. My so, the government is not doing anything to help us ya.”She mentioned.

Madam Sarah Wuo also sells at the Soul Clinic Market: “For me, I have five children going to school, I don’t want them to go to a government school because even though the government schools are not expensive but the people can’t teach to that place (Paynesville community School System). 

“Sometimes the teachers can’t even come to work. Either they say the government is not paying them on time, so that’s why I decided to send my children to private schools. If the government wants us to send our children to the government schools, then they should make the place good for learning.” Madame Wuo noted.

TSM also spoke with Oretha Morris who is the spokesperson of the Pipe -Line Road Goba-Chop Marketers Association.  

“I have three children I am sending them to school and I only depend on this raw fish and Bonny to be able to send them to school. She said.

“I also depend on the same raw fish to pay rent, find food for the home and do other things.” It’s not easy. Madame Morris mentioned.

“My children were going to the government school first but because of the way they are running the government schools, every day my son will come and say, mama, no teacher came to class today, we were just running ups and downs. So, I decided to change his school because nothing he was learning there.”

“One thing I want to say is that the government itself is not doing well to help us too, because they allowed the private school’s owner to just increase school fees without even informing us about it and when we asked them they will say it is activities fees.” She angrily said.

“For example, I have my two children attending a school here in Pipeline called St. Mary Institute, last year I was paying L$6500 for one semester but this year they carried up to L$7500, when we asked, they say that activities fees.” Something needs to be done urgently.”

Madam Leona Brown,  battery seller, at the Boulevard Market in Paynesville. Leona at times has to walk covering several distances in Paynesville to sell his battery due to the scarcity of customers.

She told TSM that he sells only the battery to sustain his family and at the same time send the children to school.

“Imagine a man selling just to send the children to school and feed the family especially to private schools for that matter, it’s not easy,” she said.

“For me, I choose to send them to private schools because quality education is one thing every parent will want for their children. 

“So, I think if we are to get convinced to send our children to the government-run schools, the government should make the environment okay for our children so that real learning can take place. Leona told TSM.

“I went to government school before, so I know what can be done there. So, the private school’s owners are right to increase their fees.

“Because Government don’t want to fix the various education problems, by that,  private schools can increase their fees when they want to. House rent is skyrocketing, I need to use the same business money to feed the family and at the same time caters to other needs.” she continued.

President George Weah recently toured some government schools within Montserrado County and expressed disappointment over the poor conditions of the government-run institutions. 

He further blamed the Ministry of Education for the poor handling of government schools. 

The President then urged the ministry to ensure that schools in Montserrado County are regularly visited. 


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