Carolyn A. Miller

cmiller

This was a letter written by Ms. Miller in 2007.

It has been my privilege and also my blessing to have learned to know many Liberian people from many walks of life. I went to Liberia in 1966 to teach nursing at Cuttington University College (about one mile from Phebe Hospital). I was sponsored by the Lutheran Church in the U.S.A. (L.C.A. which merged to become E.L.C.A.) I also founded and then taught in the Certified Midwifery Program and the Nurse-Midwifery Program at Phebe Hospital located in Bong County in central Liberia.

But while I did teach for a period covering 24 years my path crossed with many people of all ages. I certainly learned to know my students and the staff and their families, many patients and their families, the children in Sunday School, the St. Luke’s Lutheran Church family, the residents of the Suakoko Rehab (Leprosy) Center, people from the surrounding towns and villages and hundreds of students who walked by my house going to and coming from the Phebe Community Lutheran School and other surrounding schools. And because of the length of time I lived at Phebe I had the opportunity to interact with many people and their families. I was changed and enriched by all I met. When the war came to Liberia in 1989 and continued for 14 years, the people I knew who were living quite normally but of course with needs, all were now impacted with tremendous needs as refugees or internally displaced individuals or families.

I personally do not know one family who was not affected in unbelievable ways; losing family and friends, home and possessions, which completely disrupted their way of life. Regular mail has not been possible since the early 1990s but letters have been carried back and forth by people traveling. But many have access to email, and cell phones are very common. So communication of situations and needs is possible. The five to six hour difference in the time zones between Iowa and Liberia and other West African countries has resulted in many calls in the middle of my night. So sometimes it is hard to believe that I am not still in Liberia. Karrus Hayes knew me from Liberia, and when he became a refugee in Ghana at Buduburam Refugee Camp, he quickly began to see the tremendous need for the Liberian children who were now refugees in Ghana to continue with school, and they also needed the structured environment of going to school.

His special interest was the children who were orphaned by the war and had absolutely no chance to attend school without money. He started the school in a church but they soon outgrew the site plus the church often had activities on school days. The school that exists now is to the credit of Karrus and other Liberians plus so many dedicated volunteers who have built the school and helped teach and give money for its continuation. This is part of Karrus’ story and so many others. I am grateful for all who have done so much to help Karrus’ dream come true. Thanks plenty.