1 April 2009
Located deep in the wooded savannah of northeast Ivory Coast, West Africa there is a small isolated region called Gogo.
Twenty five years ago, Gogo was an underdeveloped mud-hut village on a junction of four dirt roads with a population of about three hundred people. There were no medical facilities for the sick, a very limited supply of water and the government-sponsored teacher struggled to get six or seven students to attend school even though there were well over 100 children in the immediate area. As subsistence farmers the villagers, with limited tools, struggled every year to grow enough food to feed their families.
Between 1984 and 2002, in addition to their regular tasks of Bible translation, literacy and church work, Paul and Marina Briggs, along with other missionaries:
- purchased text books for the school and helped provide housing for teachers, which contributed to a huge increase in school attendance;
- built a medical facility, supplied medicine and trained local villagers in basic medical care;
- provided an ambulance service to hospitals 16, 60 and 150 miles away for those more seriously ill;
- repaired the village well to provide cleaner water for the people;
- planted a mango orchard;
- introduced oxen to the region to help the local people grow more food;
- built a mill for the village ladies to grind their corn and millet.
Sadly, in 2002, a war broke out in Ivory Coast that has had a devastating effect on the development of the Gogo community. Paul and Marina had to evacuate the region. Educational, medical, telecommunications and travel infrastructure crumbled in the northern part of the country. Schools no longer functioned properly, hospitals and clinics lacked staff and medical supplies and telephone and postal networks were destroyed. Large sections of dirt roads in the region were also washed away during the rainy seasons.
After more than six years of civil strife, peace is at last gradually returning to Ivory Coast and things are beginning to stabilise, with UNICEF and government authorities and agencies returning to the region.
Paul and Marina are planning to go back to Ivory Coast in the summer of 2009 to help the villagers recover from the terrible effects of the past years. During the war, school books, desks and equipment were destroyed. The medical building was looted and damaged, with doors and chairs being used as firewood. The school and clinic buildings have also suffered from the effects of many years of neglect and extreme weather conditions.
There is an immediate need for desks and school books for over one hundred children who have enrolled at the school. The medical centre also requires basic medicines and equipment.
Would you like to help the school and medical facility to function properly again and be a help and service to the wider Gogo community, which now consists of many hundreds of people?
Do you want to play a part in rejuvenating this region which has endured such hardships?
Any help, no matter how little, will be greatly appreciated. Click here for more information.