The residents of Feloken, Barrobo Statutory District, one of the remotest areas in Maryland County, could not hold back their excitement when the completion of two landmark projects was announced on September 13.
The overly elated residents expressed heartfelt gratitude to the government and its German counterparts for relieving them of the constraints of selling under heavy downpours of rain and in the scorching sun for decades. The completion of the bridge, which connects Barrobo with other surrounding districts, “is more than a relief,” they said.
The completion of these projects showcases the Liberian government and its international partners’ commitment to uplifting rural communities and improving the livelihood of the people.
Welthungerhilfe (WHH), with support from the German Development Bank (KfW), recently completed and dedicated the giant size bridge linking Feloken to surrounding communities for the first time since 1926, according to 81-year-old elder, Daniel T. Wilson.
Residents of the area, many of whom are farmers, have been risking their lives by passing through a makeshift bridge made of reed and tie-tie.
“We have been implementing local agriculture projects for NGOs, but getting our crops to the local markets has been a serious challenge for us,” Feloken Development Chairman, Moses Geekor, recounted the challenges to our reporter who visited the area. “The last time all our cassava got rotten.”
The new bridge, he said, not only connects Barrobo to nearby areas but also opens up new trade routes and transportation options.
Describing the old bridge as a constant source of worry and danger, Geekor lauded the government and its partners for relieving the people of Feloken of the long-standing death trap.
“Series of accidents happened on that bridge that almost took lives! Imagine crossing with a sick person, sometimes it takes you 25 to 30 minutes but the new bridge brings a sense of security and ease to us,” he said.
Orozco Nimely, Feloken Chief Elder, told newsmen that the long-awaited development has brought immense joy and relief to inhabitants of the community, who have been eagerly awaiting improved infrastructure and other facilities.
Additionally, the 22 meter-long bridge was constructed along with a market to enhance commercial activities in the area.
A local business woman, Mabel Hannah opined that many presidents have served the nation, but it is only President Weah who thought to improve the conditions of people living in that part of the country. She believes that the construction of the new market is particularly significant to provide a centralized space for buying and selling goods, boosting local businesses and creating economic opportunities for the people of Barrobo.
For her part, Feloken Market Chairlady Patricia Towalid said the market will also ensure that fresh produce and essential items are readily available, solving the problem of limited access to basic amenities.
Feloken is considered by its residents a blessed community in the county, having benefited from a 17-annex World Bank funded high school building with two teachers quarters and a water supply system.
The town, an estimated population of more than 2,000 people, also hosts a health center with staff quarters. The gold-rich community also hosts a number of Liberians and other nationals involved in dredging, making it a hot zone in terms of commercial activities.