Written by Diamonds for Peace Liberia Staff
Weasua is a community that is surrounded by rivers and the road leading to it crosses of many
small rivers; traveling on the road to Weasua especially during rainy seasons has been a
challenge for many decades due to poorly constructed bridges over those rivers. The government
and its partners have been working to remedy the situation by building better bridges over those
rivers. However, most times the residents of the community organize themselves to repair some
of the bridges that are in highly deplorable conditions.. Some people in Weasua can remember
how in the early 1960s airplanes were used to transport people to and from their community due
to the lack of roads for cars and trucks. The Liberian government along with partner
organizations has succeeded over time in building almost all the bridges with the exception of
two. The construction of the remaining two bridges is scheduled for this dry season; but until
then it remains the major challenge for the residents and people traveling on this road.
One of the remaining two rivers where a bridge crossing is needed is called Weagei. Recently, one of the artisanal diamond miners in Weasua decided to provide some funds to repair the Weagei Bridge as it poses a serious challenge to people traveling on the road. He gave cash in the amount of LD$10,000 (about USD67) to provide food for the workers and pay the fees for the use of a power saw. His desire to provide funding and have the repairs implemented came as the result of the challenge he experienced with crossing the Weagei River one night on his way to Weasua. The miner could not cross with his motorbike because there had been a heavy downpour of rain on that day; the river was full, rough and very dangerous for motorbikes and cars crossing. The miner decided to leave his motorbike at the river and cross on foot to Weasua. Immediately after he proposed holding a community meeting that involved the major local stakeholders. In the meeting the residents discussed the deteriorated condition of the Weagei Bridge and the need to do something about it. Because he had just sold some pieces of diamonds, the miner offered to provide the needed cash to repair the bridge temporarily. All the stakeholders overwhelmingly endorsed his petition and mobilized the manpower, mostly diggers for the job. They were joined by some of the miners and elders of the community and together they constructed the bridge.
The importance of the bridge
The repaired bridge is temporary and not strong enough to allow motor car to cross on it . However, it is important because at least motorbikes which are mostly used for transportation in the area can cross conveniently. Moreover, goods from motor cars that get stuck at the bridge can easily be transported to Weasua because the distance from the point of the bridge to Weasua is just a 2 kilometers drive.
People living in many rural communities in Liberia are challenged with enormous issues but they can find solutions to many of the problems if they work together. In some instances, their solutions may not be long lasting but they demonstrate to the government and international organizations how they can take initiative and ownership over improving their lives and communities.
Front Photo:When cars get stuck, goods are transported by people to the other side of the river(dfp)