Many people believe that life moves at a snail’s pace in West Africa. And to be honest, that’s often true. But it’s not always the situation. Case in hand is Ganta United Methodist School, Hospital and Mission Station.
The Ganta United Methodist School (K-12) is located at the Ganta Mission Station, “Up-Country” on the border between Liberia and Guinea (about 170 miles from Monrovia). Traveling from Monrovia to Ganta, the first two-thirds of the trip isn’t too bad, but the last third – oh brother! Hang on to your kidneys; it’s an experience that beats any roller-coaster ride. It makes what’s going on at the Ganta Mission Station all that much more amazing. Ganta has not fully recovered from the civil wars that plagued that country in the 1990s, but incredibly good things are happening.
With more than 500 acres within the Ganta Mission Station, nearly two-thirds of it arable, progress is being made in a whole range of agricultural projects. The station has reclaimed much of the rice plantation, which is now in production. The station also has planted thousands of rubber trees. The palm oil plantation is functioning again, and the station is beginning to grow cassava, pineapple, potatoes and a variety of other vegetables.
And the fruit – oh the fruit! There are so many mangoes, they’re almost a nuisance. Add guava, bananas, papayas, avocados and other tropical fruit, and one begins to get some idea of what it’s like. That does not include the animal husbandry with hundreds of hens in egg production, a functioning piggery and goats, which are often underfoot.
All of this means the mission’s vocational program that’s being put into place has real potential for success, including agriculture, auto mechanics, building trades and information technology, which are integral to imperative possibilities if Liberia’s people are going to become what God intends for them to be.
She’s one reason
This has all happened because of many reasons, one of which is Priscilla Legay Jaiah’s leadership. She came to Ganta in 2009 as principal of the Ganta United Methodist School making major strides in the operational sustainability of the school. In 2011, church leaders appointed her as Superintendent of the Mission Station.
Jaiah is a native of Liberia and holds a bachelor’s degree from Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia, a master’s degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University, and a M.Div. from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga. Prior to her assignment to Liberia, she was on study leave for one year in the United States. She previously served in Ghana, West Africa, for eight years as a General Board of Global Ministries missionary, where she worked with the refugee ministry at the Buduburam Refugee Camp, as well as with the Ghana Methodist Church.
Jaiah was in northern Indiana from Sept. 11 to Sept.18. She met with many United Methodists and churches, who are partners of the Ganta Mission. The Ganta Mission and Jaiah’s visit to Indiana this summer has given new life to many local church mission programs.
For more information about engaging with the dynamic Ganta Mission Station and Priscilla Jaiah, contact Robert Coolman at Operation Classroom. He can be reached at 219-405-5821 (cell), 219-464-8055 (office) or 219-464-2702 (home).
Robert Coolman serves as the associate director of the Indiana Conference-related Operation Classroom, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.