Tuzon Survives on One Hand Pump

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The home of slain president Samuel K. Doe is now surviving on a single hand pump as the only source of clean and safe drinking water for the entire town.

Tuzon, located 20 minutes’ drive from Zwedru City, the provisional capital of Grand Gedeh County, has an estimated population of over 500, predominantly youths. They are content to remain at home and develop their lives, but the constraint that comes with the lack of safe drinking water remains a challenge, Tuzon Town Chief Fredrick Gwin indicated.

 In an interview with reporters over the weekend at his residence in Tuzon, Chief Gwin indicated that even though there are other challenges facing locals, access to safe drinking water is of major concern and needs urgent intervention.

Speaking through an interpreter, Gwin said there were four functional hand pumps constructed by non-governmental organizations, but three of the pumps were broken and the town is struggling to cope with the remaining pump which he said is on the verge of collapse.

Because of the location of the only functioning hand pump, Chief Gwin said that during the dry season residents  experience water shortage and are compelled to resort to unsafe water for daily use.

He appealed to local and national government to assist them by restoring the hand pumps.

Narrating the post-war Tuzon story, Gwin said “the town used to be a very beautiful place but now everything is at a standstill.

“The home of former President Doe and other quarters in the town used to be very fine with some of the prominent people from the town returning for weekends or vacations. Right now these things are not happening so you will observe that most houses here are damaged or are getting damaged.

“I encourage people from the town to return and pay some attention to their properties.”

Asked whether they were feeling national government impact in the provision of basic social services, Gwin declared: “We are happily living here and enjoying ourselves. We have a junior high school with a few teachers and a clinic. We’re happy and hope that our condition will improve.”

Commenting on the academic situation in the town, Deko Diahn, a teacher at the only public school, disclosed that their major concern has to do with children graduating from government child development programs and being promoted to first grade instead of nursery education prior to entering first grade.

According to him, these children who do not go through the proper academic stages are usually difficult to teach because the foundation is not there to bring them up to speed with lessons at the elementary level.

“We are about six teachers working here and most of us have “C” certificates that qualify us under the Ministry of Education policy. Challenges facing the school include, but are not limited to lack of stationery and other essential education materials and difficulty in getting pay checks,” said Diahn.

Infrastructure in the town is under serious threat as two giant-size homes of the late President Doe, the air strip and other public facilities are gradually being taken over by fast-growing grass.

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