BLOG: Edgewater’s Baruch Talbot Went Back to Liberia
Baruch Talbott is a recent graduate of South River High School (Class of 2013). When he was 10 years old, he was adopted from war-torn Liberia by David and Naomi Talbott of Edgewater. In 2012, Baruch, with co-author Debby Coughlan wrote of his journey in a book, “In the Middle of the Line.” We interviewed the Talbotts and Coughlan on video last year.
After graduation, Baruch went back to Africa and back to Liberia. He’ll return to Maryland in December. We asked him to describe his experiences thus far and he wrote this blog exclusively for the South River Source:
As my senior year was coming to an end, I was not sure where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to major in. I was not sure if I was even ready for college.
I talked to my parents about taking this year off to return to Liberia because it had been ten years since I left. I wanted to return to see what condition my country was in after the fourteen year civil war ended.
I also wanted to have my eyes reopened because I know that I have not made use of all the opportunities that I have been gifted with In the U.S.
I have been in Liberia since October 2. Since I have been here, I have been teaching in Monrovia at the A.O.H Rockhill Community School and the African Dream Academy. I teach math and language arts to the third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
There is no electricity in the schools and there is an insufficient number of chairs for the students. Many of the teachers are under-qualified. Many of the parents can not afford to provide for their kids and send them to the school hungry.
The principal of the A.O.H Rockhill Community School’s dream is for the school to have a meal program, but she does not have the money to do it.
As she told me, “if there is anything I could do for these kids, it would be feeding them.”
It’s hard for the kids to come to school and pay attention to what they are being taught because their mind is focused on food. When the kids aren’t in school, their parents send them to crush rocks to sell on the road. In order to prevent the kids from doing that, the principal extended the school day from 1 to 3 p.m., that way by the time the kids get home it is too dark for them to be sent out to sell rocks or whatever their parents have for them to sell.
The teacher’s salary is $100 a year. Out that, they have to pay for their kids’ school fees, food, water, clothes, and other basic needs. It is not only her dream anymore—it is my dream too.
It is unbearable to watch these kids sit in hunger and thirst. It makes being here so hard because more than anything, I want to help them. I do my best each day to feed as many of them as I can with the little money I have, but it only goes so far.
I want to deliver a message to the students in American who have the opportunity to go to school for free: please make the best of it, because there are many people here in Liberia who would love to have that very opportunity. It is not just here in Liberia, it is everywhere in the world.
I will be returning to Maryland on December 17th. I hope to write a second book about my experiences here in Liberia when I return home.
If you’d like to help Baruch help the children of Liberia, please contact Baruch directly on his Facebook page.
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