“Liberia is a wonderful, gorgeous, wounded country which is struggling with all its might to find its identity.”

Liberia

“Should I describe my home country in one sentence, I might put as follows: Liberia is a wonderful, gorgeous, wounded country which is struggling with all its might to find its identity.” With these words Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first female president on the African continent, is describing her country, and in this short sentence she finds a concise expression for the current situation in Liberia: a wounded country which is struggling with all its might to find its identity.

Liberia is the second eldest independent state of the African continent and was already founded in 1847.It is situated mainly in the tropical rainforest zone and extends over an area of 111,370 square kilometers. Neighboring countries are Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Its capital is Monrovia with about one million inhabitants. Overall, Liberia is populated by about 3.5 million people. They belong to 16 different ethnic groups with 16 different languages, the official language is English. The small state of Liberia has gone through a changeful history which had its dreadful climax in the succession of two civil wars lasting approximately 14 years and the gory dictatorship of Charles Taylor.

18 % of the recruited soldiers were children! About 80 % of the population were expelled either within the country or abroad.

Altogether, 200,000 people fell victim to the civil war. In 2003, Liberia was a highly indebted, bleeding country, plundered, without a functioning economy. Health care for the population had not been warranted for a long time. Due to malnutrition, AIDS and tropical infectious diseases were spreading.

In 2005, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected for president in the first democratic elections in Liberia. When she assumed office in 2006, she took over a job which seemed impossible: the country was destroyed, the unemployment rate was 90 %, the majority of the population was and still is until today severely traumatized. She had to deal with tens of thousands of traumatized, marauding soldiers and rebels, there was no infrastructure and no functioning administration. In fall 2011, the presidency of Johnson-Sirleaf was reconfirmed by 90 % of the votes. In her first term of office she had achieved astonishing results, for which she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

Democracy as well as health care are still standing on shaky ground in this country which is why the government has been aiming to introduce complementary and alternative medicine for quite some time. Starting in 2009, first talks were held by the Ambassador of Liberia, a deputy of the local health minister, and me as a representative of HOG. Still it took almost two years to find a suitable co-operation partner for us to implement our training programs in Liberia.

Last summer, Mrs. Gieraths-Nimene, the director of the CERLIB clinic in Monrovia, was seeking contact with HOG: the personnel of her clinic is very much interested in a homeopathic training. The clinic has been enlarged recently, so that now we even have classrooms at our disposal.

After some preliminary talks, now the time has come: in the middle of March Gesine Seck and I will leave for a first investigating visit in Monrovia.

Part of the program of this trip will of course be getting in contact with the personnel of the GERLIB clinic, an inaugural visit at the health ministry, and maybe a visit at the project of medica mondiale that for several years has been engaged for the improvement of the living conditions of Liberian women.

At the beginning of a project it is always important to capture the local situation as precisely as possible: • Which are the main diseases and problems the personnel of the clinic is dealing with?

• Who will come into consideration as a future student of homeopathy?

• Which prerequisites do these people bring along? Here we are interested in education as well as time conditions.

• Which is the quickest and most reasonable way for these people to integrate homeopathy into their professional daily routine?

• On which columns can the training program be built as to reaching as many students as possible and achieving a high multiplication factor?

• Who else can we win for local support? Linking-up with NGOs that are already active on site has often been very helpful.

• Where do we have to expect resistance?

• Which risks do we have to consider?

My colleague Gesine Seck and I will be very busy in Liberia, of course we will offer trial workshops to give a first insight into homeopathy.

The information gathered during this first trip will be the basis for further decisions. The teaching concept, the expected duration of the project, the extent of our action, as well as the number of future trips and the financial investments to be expected will be part of the project planning.

For two years I have delved into the history of this country. Spellbound, I am pursuing the fascinating actions of this brave and powerful woman, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who seems to succeed with remarkable wisdom in recording a success story which is unparalleled. It fills me with incredible joy and gratefulness to get the chance to make a reasonable contribution to this country and this young democracy.

Two things are certain, though:

Homöopathen ohne Grenzen needs support for this project!

We are looking for experienced colleagues who are in command of English and are keen to work on shaping this interesting project.

To finance the extensive traveling costs, we depend on donations.

I thank everybody in anticipation for their support!

Elisabeth von Wedel

Contact

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