Mrs. Park often visited Massaquoi Town for both professional and personal reasons, as she had made friends with Chief Varney and his wife. Massaquoi Town is behind Rick’s Institute where the Parks lived and worked. To get there, Mama Jane had to cross a small creek using a somewhat rickety bridge known as a “monkey bridge.” She told me that most of the time she would crawl across it, as she wasn’t comfortable walking upright.
One particular day she couldn’t use the bridge, even on her hands and knees, as a section was missing. Although the water level was low enough that she could cross in the water, this was Rainy Season and her clothes would have been soaked. So, she did what many of the locals did – she removed her clothing and walked across, holding the bundle of clothing on top of her head. When she reached the other side, she put on her perfectly dry clothes and continued on her journey.
When she got to the village, Chief Varney looked her over. He knew the bridge needed repair and was clearly puzzled by her dry clothes. Then he burst out laughing. Mama Jane asked him what made him laugh. He told her, “That’s hard.” She prodded him some more and he finally got out, “I know how you got here.” What he didn’t know is that she had been forewarned, and was wearing a swimsuit underneath her clothes.
She told me, “You do what you have to do.” Many women throughout Liberia were able to experience motherhood because of Mama Jane’s care and determination. She even delivered a couple of babies to Chief Varney and his wife.
My own mother passed away 35 years ago at the young age of 59. To honor her memory, I am donating to the Rebab Center in Phebe. They are in need of many items to stock their new education building as well as for the general support of fistula survivors. A number of these can be selected from our wish list on Amazon. (NOTE: click on the Add Friend button so our shipping address will display as an option when you check out.)
You may also wish to honor your mother in this manner. Also, please remember that any purchase made through AmazonSmile will generate a donation to Dignity:Liberia. Simply designate us as the charity of your support through this link.
To all you moms out there, Happy Mother's Day!