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BBC correspondent identifies with kinsmen

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Liberian Journalist and BBC correspondent, Jonathan Paye-Layleh, has distributed over 160 large anti-COVID-19 hand- washing buckets and detergents to two administrative districts in his native Nimba County.

Districts covered include Meinpea-Mahn, Leewehpea-Mahn and Wee-Gbehyi, respectively as his personal contribution to the current fight against the deadly virus. Hospitals and radio stations in Ganta and Sanniquellie, NimbaCouty also benefited from the gesture with an estimated cost around US$1,800.

A dispatch from a team coordinating the process, details that the distribution was carefully done through the administrative structures of the districts with a few district officials invited to their respective headquarters to receive the items for onward distribution to over 100 towns.

Mr. Paye-Layleh, a son of Meinpea-Mahn District, also provided 60,000 Liberian dollars to the three districts to facilitate the distribution.Meinpea-Mahn and Leewehpea-Mahn Districts and a small portion of Wee-Gbehyi District constitute Electoral District8 in Nimba County.

“The message I have brought to you all is clear and simple; if stronger and bigger countries to which we should turn for help when diseases break out and overwhelm us are themselves finding it hard to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, all we in small and weak countries should do is to follow the health protocols,” he pleaded, and added, “If you see me travelling all the way from Monrovia with these items to you, it means the situation is serious and nothing to joke with.”

Jonathan reminded his kinsmen to see his donation of buckets and soap as an indication that fighting to defeat the virus in Liberia is a national call to duty.“So what this means is even if a household cannot afford to buy a bucket because obviously times are hard, you can simply put clean soap-water in a bottle and hang it before your home for regular hand-washing,” he told the chiefs who nodded in approval.

After assessing the road conditions in some of the towns he had to travel through to reach his people, Mr. Paye-Layleh promised to donate a brand new chainsaw in coming months to the people of Menpea-Mahn District to help mobilize local materials to repair the many log bridges linking some of the major towns.The chainsaw, he assured, will be delivered once the national government has relaxed the current restrictions and people are now allowed to move around and work again.

The first two roads on which bridges are to be repaired in the district are the ones linking the historic town of Kpein with Gbehyi-Duayee and Constance’s Rubber Farm to Duo.Ahead of delivering the chainsaw, Mr. Paye-Layleh also contributed 10,000 Liberian dollars to an ongoing road-fixing effort in Meinboyee Township, an enclave of originally Kpelleh-speaking people which forms part of Meinpea-Mahn District along the St. John River dividing Bong and Nimba counties.

According to him, he was touched after seeing footages of people in the township using their bare hands to build an access road.The journalist promised to visit this nearly-isolated part of the district to acquaint himself with self-help development efforts there.“Until the central government gets ready to do a more comprehensive intervention to reconstruct these roads, we have to do what is possible and within our capacity as sons and daughters from the area to help.”

While making donations in the administrative headquarters of Bunadin and Flumpa, Journalist Paye-Layleh, who achieved his elementary education in both towns, pledged to organize associations of alumni and former students of the Bunadin Public School in Lao Chiefdom and Flumpa Mission School in Gbannah Chiefdom.

“The idea is to get young people in these areas to exercise their vast potentials and be of greater service to the communities,” he told the citizens.In response, district commissioners and chiefs expressed appreciation for the gesture, but regretted that due to the current outbreak of COVID-19 and corresponding strict restrictions, they could not mobilize citizens to turn out to meet and thank their son.District 8 Representative, Larry Younquoi, who is currently out of the country, conveyed his appreciation thru a proxy, Spencer Glay. Press Release

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