Unless the Liberian government empowers communities with support programs, says Joseph Mulbah, chairman of the Point 4 community, “we may lose the fight to reclaim hundreds of young people who have already sold themselves to gambling and drug abuse.”
In an interview following a guided tour of his community on Bushrod Island last week, Mr. Mulbah said it may be too late to reclaim those who have already gone astray, “but we must give it a try anyway.”
At an unannounced visit to a ghetto inside Point 4, water overflowing everywhere and infested with filth, overlooking a filthy motionless drainage, several young men and women were crammed into an abandoned unfinished structure.
A woman sells cooked food to her jobless clientele, who shuffled to and fro in the abandoned building. Inside, a column of marijuana smoke swirled overhead as Chairman Mulbah looked a little excited as they called his name, one after the other.
“Chairman,” a young woman, puffing on a large wrapped joint said to Mulbah, who also returned her call.
As he observed the juveniles between the ages of 16 and 25, Mulbah turned and shook his head. The occupants, spread across the room, seemed to be in a world of their own.
Away from the smoke-filled joint, Mulbah said, “How can we rescue these people? I managed to get a gun from one of them and turned it over to the authorities.”
He noted that those are the people who are blamed when bags, mobile phones and important items are jerked (snatched, stolen) from their owners at the Point 4 junction.
“They don’t work and yet they must eat every day,” Mulbah said. “We have a situation on our hands and the government must find a way to assist the various slum communities to deal with it.”
Mulbah suggests that serious intervention can come from the Liberian government since it affects the young people.
“We cannot afford to let the young people descend into an abyss of ignorance, illicit drugs and insanity that ends in violent behaviors,” Mulbah noted.
Point 4 Community is one of the flood affected places in Monrovia in the current rainy season.
“We are suffering here,” he said. “There is water everywhere and it is because of the drainage that is not moving, [but just sits] in the center of the community.” The clogged drainage originates from New Kru Town and it is originally directed to empty itself into the Atlantic Ocean.
He explained, “It is not doing what it was intended to do and as a result the water sits here waiting to end up in people’s rooms.”
Point 4, with a population of over 3,000, has dilapidated shacks, undefined alleys, abandoned houses, unfinished and unpainted houses and an overall unhealthy environment. This is part of the daily lives of the community, the Daily Observer learned during the tour.
Mr. Mulbah said at one time Rep. Edward Forh brought in a yellow machine to clear the clogged drainage but the machine got stuck and had to be withdrawn.
A recent fire outbreak that rendered several families homeless did not benefit from outside relief. “The victims are being put up by friends,” Mulbah said.
The community boasts of the New Hope School of Health Science, (NEHSOHS), which graduates nurses into the health care sector. Chairman Mulbah thinks there can be some level of partnership between the community and the school to help sensitize community members and promote a more healthy environment.
“We need outside assistance to clean the clogged drainage where the community could provide men to assist,” Mulbah appealed.