Though there are jobs that are considered to be for men only, the current competition among workers is reducing that gap, and women are taking on many more demanding professions in the job market.
Ms. Marion M. Teah, 43, has a career that is usually reserved for men in Liberia. She is a locomotive operator with China Union. It is a job that she enjoys, and hopes that with an increased salary from her employers, she would have less trouble taking care of the needs of her two daughters.
“I operate the locomotive consisting of 25 wagons for each trip,” she told the Daily Observer in a recent interview. “Each trip I carry a total of about 63tons.”
The train, moving from Monrovia to Bong Mines with Operator Marion in charge, also has a ‘breakman’ on board.
“He helps to change the track for the train to change course during the journey,” she said, with a smile. “The train rumbles on at 40 miles per hour, and it takes me nearly two and half hours to reach my destination.”
Her daughters are Marion Konneh, 25, presently a student at the Zion University, and Marionlyn Konneh, 20, who is about to enter college. They need financial support that can not necessarily be generated by their mother’s job to realize their dreams.
Marion Konneh is studying Criminal Justice and hopes to help the country’s justice system; but her desires can only become reality if her mother earns enough.
Operator Marion Teah’s husband died several years ago, leaving the care of her children squarely on her shoulders. She said the journey has not been easy.
“I am an independent woman,” she told the Daily Observer, “and as such, I’m sometimes confronted with challenges that concern the education of my girls.”
This is why she is appealing to good Liberians and companies to come to her aid. “I want my children to complete their education and I can only do it when I obtain the necessary financial support for them,” she said.
Thankfully, she does not pay rent since she built a home for her family in Sinkor, Monrovia.
Before arriving at her current job in 2012, she worked for Amlib Mineral United as a mechanic. She trained with Geo Services until the company was closed in 2011. She then went to Buchanan Renewables (BRE) and and on to ArcelorMittal.
Marion Teah graduated from the Accelerated Vocational Training Center, located on 12th Street in Monrovia in 2002.
“It’s tough being a single mother with two girls,” she admitted, “but they are my own and I must sacrifice for them.”
She is always at home with the children, except when she is on the night shift. “I am not afraid when I am traveling at night, and I am always confident doing my job,” she said.
Though the money from the job is not enough to keep her children at school, it does not mean that they are facing immediate problems.
“In spite of my relative stability, some financial help from well meaning Liberians will be a blessing to my kids,” she appealed to readers.
It is an appeal that would go a long way to communicate to her children the concept of Liberians being their brothers’ keeper.