Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Camphor Update

I am pleased to update you on activities at the Mission since May. The last update was in April of 2010. I have however been posting sporadic information about special events at the Mission. It is my hope that this information will meet you strong in the service or our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that it will help you as you partner with us in ministry here at Camphor.

Special Project
Funds for latrines and scholarship from Peoria were received; totaling USD 9,100.00(Peoria - $5,000.00, Latrine - $4,100.00). The latrine project was started immediately. Up to date, two units have been completed; one designated for the Teachers’ Quarter and another for the Security (Togba’s) residential community which will be proximate for the Dinning Hall staff as well (see photos). Construction of the third unit was started. We had earlier earmarked the third unit for the Clinic area so that the families of the OIC, the TBA Coordinator and other staffs in that community will have access, but upon a second thought, we intend to complete the one started by the District near the school building so that the students will have access to one upon resumption of school, considering that the OIC, the TBA Coordinator, etc. are presently using the latrine next to the Clinic. Upon the completion of this unit, if any funds are left, we will renovate the one next to the church parsonage so that residents in that community will have access to one. But, in the meantime, they have access to the one built near the Teacher’s Quarter.

Funds - Advance Gifts
Balance 40% salaries for May and all of June for teachers and other mission staff were paid out from Peoria Scholarship/Salary support. We also received undesignated advance gifts in the amount of USD 8,100.00 for the months of May and June. Part of this amount will be used to settle July salaries, begin renovation on the boys and girls dormitories, in preparation for the reopening of school and continue other projects at the Mission; i.e. on-going timber project, Palm project, housing improvement, etc. Thanks to Peoria and all cheerful givers who made this possible. It is our prayer that God will continue to shower His blessings upon you and give you what it takes to remain in the business of building His kingdom here on earth.

We closed school for academic 2009/2010 on June 27th. With school not in section, the Campus is quiet with little activity, except for the administrative staff and a few teachers retained to make preparation for next academic year (2010/2011).We are presently working on entrance examinations, recruitment of additional teachers for new courses that will be introduced and for those for which we did not have teachers last year (Geography, French, etc.). First entrance examinations were administered on Saturday, August 7 at various centers. Second entrance exams will be administered this Saturday, August 14th. This year, the number of examination centers was increased to cover other areas that are distant from the mission where parents have expressed the desire to enroll their children at the mission. These include Ganta, Gbarnga, Kakata, Unification Town, Gorblee (The Liberia Agricultural Company) community.
We intend to spread the work load of present teachers among new ones so that each teacher will be more effective. Our focus from now on will be “quality learning”, especially on the lower school (kindergarten and elementary) through a robust reading and writing skills development program. We have engaged the expertise of a veteran Phonics and Reading Skills teacher who will work with our kindergarten and lower school for three hours each week.

The School Board approved the proposed increase in tuition. Justification was to increase feeding and improve other boarding facilities, etc. We have already purchased two (2.5Kva) generators for each of the dormitories in order to provide some minimum amount of electricity for study and other activities that will be scheduled during evening hours. We will hopefully be enclosing the front way of the boys’ dormitory to have a single door at the entrance. This will ensure some level of security. The cost of doing this has been estimated at US 800.00. Total renovation; including refurbishing of beds and making additional ones, adding a Dean’s apartment at the back and painting is estimated at USD 2,100.00. Study is being done for the Girls Dormitory. It also needs some renovation. There is presently a profused leakage from the roof that needs to be corrected. Part of advance gifts received for May and June will be used to begin the process of renovating the dormitories so that we will catch up with the reopening of school scheduled for September 1st.

The mission support project launched during the closing ceremonies of the J.F. Yancy School may be getting some external support. We have just submitted an investment proposal upon request of the management of the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) for possible consideration. This proposal is for a partnership with that company for the planting of 36,000 rubber trees on the mission’s tree farm. This investment when concluded will hopefully generate about USD 8,000.00 monthly. Do keep us in prayer so that our God who is a God of empowerment will make this project come to fruition.

The amount of USD 675.00 was received for planting of additional rubber trees. A total of three thousand (3,000) rubber strums were purchased from this amount and are being planted. This will bring the total number of trees planted to four thousand and five hundred (4,500). As stated earlier, the Management of the Liberia Agricultural Company is considering getting in partnership with the Mission in planting some thirty-six thousand (36,000) additional trees. This will require securing additional two hundred acres of land for the mission. We have begun talking with Elders of towns and villages in close proximity to the mission for this additional land. Bishop Innis has been informed about this development, and will be involved with the negotiations for this additional land with the villagers.

The present rubber farm is being intercropped with plantain. This will also provide feeding subsidy for the students, while at the same time; hopefully provide some cash in the short-term. About five thousand plantain heads have been targeted for this project.

Land has been cleared for off-season cabbage plantation. We realize the high demand for cabbage from sale experience of the pilot project of about a few hundred heads planted last season. The department will be busy, after the on-going planting of rubber, with planting approximately 3,000 heads of cabbage. Harvesting of the palm farm has resumed after a temporary lull in production due to administrative reasons. The first consignment of “soap production” will commence next week. Funds have been allocated for this. We have engaged the services of another contractor to do the Palm Processing House due to the busy schedule of Mr. Nelson with the completion of the Judy Olin Guest House. The foundation has since been completed. Materials required to elevate and roof the structure were long since purchased and are in stock in warehouse.

The Timber production project is on-going. The mission has also got in partnership with Goah-yah Section in Wee Statutory District of Grand Bassa County for a community forest management arrangement. The citizens and elders of Goah-yah has given the mission access to their community forest covering over eight thousand hectares of tropical forest that has over 35 commercial species. We managed to purchase one new chainsaw and pit sawing is presently in progress there. Seven hundred (700) out of the targeted one thousand (1,000) 2” X 6” X 14” timbers for the maiden production of this project has been produced and awaiting transportation for market (see photos). Negotiations are on-going with the management of the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) to purchase the first product of five hundred pieces. The balance five hundred pieces will be reserved for roofing of the third unit of the Judy Olin Guest House. Subsequent productions will be purchased by the Liberia Agricultural Company. Total cash expected from the projected monthly production of one thousand timbers will be USD 4,000.00. These are all part of our financial sustainability program.

The Community Health Outreach program at the clinic is on-going. Immunization program is continuing. A total of two hundred and seventy-two (272) persons; including pregnant women, mothers and children were vaccinated against yellow fever, measles and polio. The TBA monthly consultative meetings and other community health outreach programs involving TBAs are also continuing. A good quantity of drugs was purchased recently from drugs fund and funds generated at the clinic. Kerosene to preserve vaccination is available.

Regular worship services continue at the James A. Garfield United Methodist Church.
Tiling of the chancery was completed and painting of both the inside and outside of the parsonage was done from funding from James A. Garfield UMC of the East Ohio Conference. Presently we have in stock thirty (30) cartoons of floor tile to continue the tiling of the rest of the church. Tiles on hand will be able to complete only twenty-five percent of the sanctuary. We are in need of more tiles and other materials for completing the renovation of the church and parsonage. Thanks to the people of Garfield (East Ohio) for the kind of partnership that continues to improve Garfield at Camphor.

Judy Olin Memorial Guest House
The first unit (Bunk House) of the Guest has been finally completed and ready for habitation. We had earlier planned to move in available furniture before Volunteer Sarah Forsyth could leave, but this was not possible because finishing touches on the bathroom was expected a couple of days before she left. The second unit (for medium term stay) is being tiled and will be completed (also ready for habitation) by next week. The delay has been due to inadvertent omission of tiles from the final estimates. We have however been managing the situation and tiles for the first unit have been provided. Sixty percent of tiles for the second unit have also been provided from undesignated gifts to Camphor. I have been in series of meetings with Bishop Innis and the Board of Trustees of the Liberia Annual Conference. Serious efforts are being made to move USD 7,000.00 worth of materials for the third unit hopefully within a week’s time. Tiles to complete the second unit will be made available through this arrangement within the next couple of days. We will need funds for interior decorations (curtains, start-up furniture, etc) and landscaping of the yard. I have given contracts out for clearing of the surrounding.

Mission Business Manager:
Efforts at getting a Business Manager for the School and Mission are yielding some results. Two applications have been received. Both applicants have degree in Accounting and are also teachers. What a blessing, after a long search. Copies of their applications and credentials have been submitted to various agencies and individuals concerned for review. Formal interviews are set for Monday, August 16th by the School Board and Mission Council after which final selection will be made. We hope to achieve this before the reopening of school.

Local Friends of Camphor
Initiatives for establishing local Friends of Camphor is also gaining some grounds. This group which will comprise of Camphor Mission alumni, former key players at the Mission, prominent United Methodists, Company representatives, Businessmen, Donors and Partners, etc., when finally established as a working unit will operate in like manner as Friends of Camphor in the overseas donor community in doing the following:

Promote the Mission in the country and community
Identify local sources of funding for the Mission
Target and gain access to social development funds of local companies, Mission Support grants, etc. for the benefit the Mission
Help identify and bring into contact with the Mission; donors, partners and other resource persons who will render program support to the Mission.
Work along with the leadership of the Mission to focus on development and expansion of the Mission.
Work in the general interest of the Mission.

We have established contacts and are presently holding talks with two individual local company representatives; Madame Theresa Doegbah, Managing Director of the Seatrans Shipping and Stevedoring Company and Mr. Edwin Nelson, Purchasing Manager of the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) both of whom have shown great interest in the ministry of the mission and have been doing advocacy and making financial contributions to mission support and the financial sustainability program of the Mission in recent time. Madame Doegba has agreed in principle to serve. She recently donated USD 500.00 towards Village Girls’ Education and Mission Support, while Mr. Nelson who also has been making financial contribution, is presently advocating for the mission with his company for the planting of 36,000 rubber trees for the mission’s financial sustainability program. We hope that we will be able to come across other well meaning personalities, including United Methodist who will work in the interest of the mission.

GBGM Individual Volunteer, Sarah Forsyth ended her two months stay and service here at the Mission on July 29th. She returned home on the 31st July after a 24-hour change in her flight from Monrovia. An elaborate farewell program was held which was spearheaded by staffs of the clinic. Personnel of other projects at the Mission participated. The Agriculture Department presented flowers for her participation in agricultural activities while the clinic, church and other projects made presentations. We are very grateful for having Sarah here. She served well. The new UMCOR Country Director, Cynthia Harvey arrives here at the mission on Wednesday, August 11th. A team of engineers from “Power From the Son” a U.S. based organization visited the Mission on Tuesday, August 3, to evaluate the electricity situation with the objective of preparing a proposal for electrification of the mission in the future. Discussions are on-going with a number of donors, including Ms. Sarah Forsyth for the establishment of a “staff development fund” to benefit staffs who will be willing train and to return after their training to serve the mission. This is in support of our expansion program of projects at the Mission. Ms. Sarah Forsyth also has set up a fund drive for the purchase of one utility vehicle for the mission, considering the necessity of having transportation at the Mission. The “African Car” an old twenty-one years old vehicle donated by Ganta Mission several years ago seems to be finally giving up in serving as ambulance and the only utility transportation for the mission.

Terje Wibe of the Norwegian United Methodist Church visited the mission and donated five tables and seventy-five chairs for the dinning hall at the mission, and USD hundred dollars for tuition for children of the late Jerry Innis, former instructor at the school. The tables are still at the Ganta Vocational Center, where they were made awaiting collection. We are thankful for these donations, and pray that God will grant him, the Norwegian Conference of the UMC and all donors the grace that is sufficient to continue and prosper their ministries.

It is my hope that these updates will provide information that will be helpful to your partnership with and support for the Camphor Ministry to the glory of God. May the grace, peace and love of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit abide with you all as we work together to build God’s kingdom here on earth.

Telling the Camphor Story,

Paul J. Glaydor, Sr.

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