Liberia: A Once-in-a-lifetime Experience

Christee D. Joe, 14, a sixth grader at Konola Academy holds up, “Discovering the Human Body,’’ the book she bought on the Logos Hope.  

... Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa gives students a trip to the Logos Hope Bookstore

Patience Kaifa, 12, took her first trip to a bookstore on March 28, when she and 13 other children from four elementary schools boarded Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating book fair at the Free Port of Monrovia.

The ship docked in Monrovia on March 19 and is expected to depart on April 5, 2022.

The trip was sponsored by the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA), the organization created by Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee. The students are among 118 students on the GPFA scholarship program. The participating schools on the Logos Hope trip included students from Konola Academy, Cuttington Campus School, Cathedral High School and Crystal Foundation School.

Kaifa, a fifth grader at Konola Academy, has been on the GPFA scholarship for four years. 

“The Gbowee Foundation pays my school fees and also takes me on field trips, so I can meet other people and learn new things,” Kaifa said. “This is my first time on a ship and going to a bookstore. I enjoyed myself.”

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee said the core of the foundation’s education program is to expose students to experiences outside the classroom.

“We are interested and invested in the holistic education of all the children in our program and beyond,” she said. “We believe that exposing our students to worlds beyond their realities is the best approach to mentoring the next generation of leaders in Liberia.”

On the ship, the students watched a short video about Logos Hope before touring the bookstore where they were excited to see a wide selection of books. They checked crossword puzzles, dictionaries, Disney books, books on science, math, English, Bible stories, coloring books and much more.

The foundation also gave them money to buy books of their own choosing.

O’Neil Lathrobe, a fifth grader at Konola Academy, bought a crossword puzzle book. “This is a great experience,” said Lathrobe, 13. “This puzzle book will help me learn new words.”

Penneliah Victor, a sixth grader at Cuttington Campus School in Suacoco, Bong County, said Logos Hope was her third field trip with GPFA. The scholarship program also took her to Peace Jam and Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.

“This trip opened my eyes to a lot of new things, she said. “I have not seen so many books in my life before. Thank you, Aunty Leymah.”