Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I've written about Benedict in the past - I've known him since 2004 when I returned to Ghana and began working in Buduburam. He sort of came with the house that I moved into. There was a Dutch SMA lay person who was working on the camp prior to my arrival and she decided she wanted to live in this house, and the Dutch SMA paid about 10 years advance rent so the house could be completed for her. But – there were difficulties for her and things didn't work out for the best on the camp, so she moved on to another project - and that's how I came along to the camp. Benedict was working for the lay missionary in the house before I arrived – helping to do her laundry, keep the place clean, cooking, filling the water tank (this involves waiting on the road for a small tanker-like truck to come by filled with water and then flagging it down to come into the village and fill the polytank), helping out however was needed, etc. I didn't want to put anyone out of a job, so I told him that if he wanted to stay, it would be great. I had thought that I'd be able to do everything by myself - keep the place clean, wash my own clothes, etc. etc. But - the reality of life here is that all those tasks take huge chunks of time (more than when I’m in the US), and having someone help out in that way - with the daily tasks of just living - freed me up to do all the other stuff I was sent to do as well as all the unavoidable things that came up – and it gave someone a job in the process.

The point of this is that Benedict was around SMA people before I came to the camp, helping the other lay missionary, making it possible for her to do all she needed to do. Then when I came along, I got added to the list of SMA lay missionaries and their visitors that he was helping out (he also went to work for the other lady in Accra). Then another lay missionary came to work on the camp and he also started working for her. He's a great guy who, sadly, hasn't always been focused. And that's been part of the problem for him. While he was working in our houses and making the act of living here much easier for us, and thereby freeing up our time, he had different opportunities presented to him. All of us have had visitors who met Benedict and had time to talk with him, get to know him, etc. And all the visitors enjoyed his company and (I think) have even been impressed by him and many considered sponsoring his education or whatever he wanted to do. But when they talked with him about what he wanted to do with his future, the answers often varied and often showed a lack of seriousness (with one visitor he’d want to go back to school to study hotel management, with another he wanted to go back to school to study business, with another it was something else – and if asked more questions, he didn’t know which school, didn’t have his documents ready, etc.). So, over the years, he missed out of several chances as the interest of these visitors faded with the responses he gave to their questions.

When I came back to Accra this past October, Benedict and I got together to catch up on things. He told me he’s been accepted into school, even sent me, via email, copies of the documents. I hadn’t planned and hadn’t wanted to get involved with looking for tuition for people again – but, Benedict seems to have his act together now. He’s been so involved with SMA lay missionaries for so many years, watching others go to school while he dedicatedly cleaned our houses and took care of us that it seemed I needed to try for him. I did the usual and asked him to write me a little about himself and his plans that I can share with others. I’ve copied and pasted it here:

Hi Steve,

I am Benedict Flomo Kollie.Born onto the union of Mr.and Mrs.Kollie.I am a Liberian who left Liberia in the year 1994 and went to Guinea because of the war,where I stayed for the next 5 years.

In Guinea life was not easy on me.I went on the street to shine shoes but I could not get any money to survive because I could not speak the French and Mandingo. So I left and went to push wheel barrow but because of the same French and Mandingo this could not allow me to even get money to eat. I went on to barber hair where I spoiled someone's hair because I never knew it at that time but it was because of the hardship I found myself in caused me to do all those things. So I decided to go and look for job, the job I got was to water a car road to stop dust from entering a boutique and the only pay I could get is food so I have to accept it because there were nothing to do. I stayed there until one day I ask a missionary to help me and she took me to help me for school until she took us to Liberia in 1999 where I completed high school. After my completion from high school in 2001 the missionary died and I left for Ghana. Since then I have not been to school. I try my weak way and apply to a university, I was accepted but could not enter because of sponsorship. So am kindly asking you people to kindly do this help for me.

I completed high school in 2001 and couldn’t continue to university because of sponsorship and am from a very poor family and again my father was killed in the war October 14,1994 and he was the only person that could try for us. I really want to learn because it has been my plan to study to the highest degree because when my father was alive, he once told me that he never completed high school so he will try his best for all his children to enter university and the war took him away. I have three sisters and three brothers, some have not completed high school, only one and I were able to complete through the help of others and since then we have not been able to enter university. I want to do this course because I believe it will start a very good future for me to be able to help other people who are in need. Because as you help other people, God will continue to multiply on what so ever you are earning. I am studying Banking and Finance. From what I have learned, I will put it into use so that I can be a help to other people just how I have been helped in Life by other people. It has always been my dream to be a help to the needy because no matter how things are, even if things are going fine, there are people who will always be in need, all fingers are not equal.
My goal is to get a degree in Banking and Finance, I believe after achieving my goal, I will be able to form part of human resource Liberia needs today. Thereby serving as source of income for me and my family.

In a separate email he detailed the fees associated with this, and the total per year comes to $2,000. It’s a four year program he’s been accepted into. Normally, I’d include a photo of him, but my camera, which was stolen back in November, has only recently been replaced, so – no photo at this time since I still need to read the instructions.

If anyone’s interested in helping him in any way, please let me know. I know it’s not an easy thing and a huge commitment.

I’m going to be updating this again very soon because there’s one other guy on the camp who I’ve known over the years and who’s also been involved with some SMA lay missionaries, was the sole survivor of a public transport accident – and the way he’s voluntarily helping with people with disabilities on the camp means a lot to me. I know I said above that I didn’t want to start doing this again – and believe me, every time I go on the camp there are several others who make similar requests and to whom I say, “sorry, nothing I can do.” Maybe soon I need to do another update on the camp situation.


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