In Africa, poverty has many dimensions. “The experience of poverty goes well beyond household finances, and can include a lack of education, work, access to healthcare, school, clean water or distressed neighborhood conditions,” cited one report. However, of all the ways it can impact our lives, some studies shows that this pandemic could be eradicated.
During her visit at the Gbargbar’s town cemetery to arrange for a burial plot for her late father, Brigitte Rouhana — former Miss Montserrado & founder of Brigitte Modeling Agency and Shukita Foundation was able to restore hope to some underprivileged families.
Here’s a verbatim excerpt of the conversation held between the former beauty queen and those families.
“Ma your sorry oooh!”
“Thank you,” Brigitte replied with a tainted grin. “Please don’t forget to buy sand from us oooh,” one voice begged pointing to piles of sand littered over the front section of the cemetery.
“Your leave those people alone,” one grave digger shouted as he guzzled down a 7 oz plastic bag of cold water.
“It’s okay; leave them alone” Brigitte begged as she approached the ladies.
Within minutes she was swarmed by some members of the community along with few grave diggers and cemetery officials.
“What’s your name?”
“Are those your kids?”
“Yes! I have 8 children and this is what I do for a living.”
“What?” Brigitte gave that puzzled look.
“We dig and sell sand for a living.”
“Are these kids in school?” Brigitte asked.
“No! I can’t afford it,” Musu said as she turtles her chin in her chest.
According to her, she and a bunch of other women use wheelbarrows and shovels to dig and haul sand every day only to feed their families for that day.
Asked if they were married, they all said they were but refused to say where their husbands were.
The sand when collected is sold at a starting price of $10 per pile but suggested that most buyers pay way less.
“They know we are desperate and poor so they take advantage of us. At times, they offer to pay as low as $3.00; money they know we need to feed our kids daily.”
Brigitte dug in her bag and handed the ladies a stack of Liberian banknotes promising to do all she can to enroll the children in school.
“Please get the enrollment details from a nearby school before my dad’s burial,” she instructed her publicist.
It was a tremendously memorable moment to watch as Musu’s smiles showed off the dimple in her cheeks.
A recent World Bank Report on poverty leaves 54 percent of Liberia’s population living below the poverty line; meaning, they (54%) live on less than $2.00 a day. A number that’s improving every year compared to other countries in Africa.
Brigitte is currently touring the US to partner and encourage nonprofit organizations to donate school materials and other equipment for orphanages in Liberia.
This Beauty Queen’s hopes to transform Liberia one orphan at the time — according to her — is to ensure that reading becomes part of every Liberian child’s growing-up.
Written by LSV Executive Staff Writer, Kwame Oldpa Weeks in Monrovia