This photo is very special to me. I took it during my trip to Liberia in 2011, an experience that molded my heart into one of deeper Love for God and His people. That’s also where I met Roseil, a strong, cheerful student at Liberia Mission’s school, St. Anthony’s. She didn’t talk much, but her smile that lit up the room said everything.
One Friday after school, she invited me to her home village. Honored and a little nervous, I followed Roseil and her cousin two miles deep into the forests behind Liberia Mission’s campus. There, I would meet her family and Roseil would pick up gallons of palm oil to then carry back to her aunt, who would sell the oil at market over the weekend.
Meeting Roseil’s family was like opening my eyes for the first time – my world got brighter and fuller in an instant. Here was a family that truly lived as a community. Whatever profits a member made from selling palm oil or other homemade items were split among all of them by the “chief.” The children were happy and playful as they snickered back and forth, probably about the goofy-looking white person in front of them. They even made sure I got a “sugar pear” (mango) from their tree.
These village people lived the most impoverished life I had ever seen – they drank and bathed from the same pond; they wore minimal clothing; and, at least from what I could see, they had little to no possessions. But in that small village there was a richness of life that can not be captured by words or even photos. It is a richness found only in true poverty. A richness that grabs the soul and pulls it out of shallow trenches into deeper, fuller life.
Before dark, Roseil and I made the trek back to the Mission – me, with my heavy-duty sandals and camera, Roseil with her palm oil and bare feet.