Tonzia Buor arrived in the United States from Liberia with her parents, Sei and Yah, when she was little more than a toddler. She has lived in the States ever since. In June she took her first trip back to her home country.
Tonzia is the Assistant Director of Human Resources at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Anderson University.
Greetings CLTI friends!
After 31 years abroad, I arrived in Liberia on June 17th for a 2 1/2 week visit. I was not sure what to expect and was quite nervous when the plane landed but that was quickly replaced by a feeling I could only describe as ‘peace’. I felt a setting in my spirit that I had arrive HOME.
The next 2 1/2 weeks were filled with reunions with cousins, aunts, uncles, and family friends that I had no memory of from when I was a child. I experienced hospitality that to this day is indescribable. The people who would show up every morning to welcome and ‘lecture’ with me would bring breakfast, lunch, dinner. They would bring cucumbers, corn, pineapple, bananas, chickens (yes, I received 5 live chickens!) and a goat. We would sit on the porch or in the office and get to know each other and discuss their dreams, opportunities, families, and was humbled everyday through these interactions.
We took the opportunity to visit my mom’s village, Kpain, so I could meet her family and see where she grew up as well as visited my father’s village of Yarsonnor where I was born. Both sets of grandparents unfortunately have passed, but I had the opportunity to see their homes and pay my respects at their gravesites. We also took the long and unpaved (this makes a difference in travel!!) road past Yarsonnor to Sanniquelle and to Yekepa the site of African Bible College. There we toured the campus where my father received his schooling, and visited with Nick and Bethany Slangon from my home church, Colorado Community Church.
I visited local churches and had the honor of speaking to and encouraging the young people to create a different world for themselves and the next generation through education. I toured the LICC campus which, after supporting that ministry from the first sharing of ideas, creation of curriculum, building draft, to the opening and multiple graduations, it was quite emotional finally seeing it in person. The weeks flew by and before I knew it, my return date had arrived and we made the drive back to Monrovia.
As I reflected on this trip I had two takeaways:
- I visited the CLTI College Preparatory building site almost every day. This project is like nothing else happening in Gompa. The number of construction workers on the project who show up every day to do what is frankly a very manual building project. Cement is being mixed by hand, bricks being molded one by one, workers going into the forest to cut down the trees to get the wood needed for the project etc. There are so many moving pieces. Also, on site is the team hand digging 30-foot long fish ponds for the fish farming that will bring revenue for the school.
Among all this activity I noticed children that would come to the site everyday as they live in the community. I watched them walk around the site and their faces light up as my dad would say to them ‘Are you ready to go to school? We are building your school!’ and they would squeal ‘Yes’ with excitement. That was the moment I knew God had brought CLTI to Liberia for a purpose that was so clear in that very moment. It was to provide an educational institution with the hopes of creating a different life outcome for these children. Personally, I know the life changing power education has had in my life and as I looked at those children, I am commited to creating that life changing opportunity for them, the next generation of pastors, teachers, and business women and men in Liberia.
The project is going extremely well and is going quite quickly. Three fish ponds have already been completed and we started phase two on the building which you heard about in previous CLTI updates. This phase is extremely important as we are building the foundation of the 2nd floor. This requires a lot of wood, sand, and cement and FUNDING! I want to challenge you today to donate $100 (10 bags of cement) to this project at http://www.cltinternational.org.
- I currently work in Human Resources in Healthcare at a very high performing, life-saving hospital. So naturally, I wanted to connect with leaders in Healthcare in Liberia and tour a hospital in Gompa. The team at this hospital is doing their best to provide life-saving care to this large community with limited resources, but at the end of my hospital tour and conversation with them I quickly concluded that after education, the second most important infrastructure needed in Liberia is improved Healthcare. I encountered a Labor and Delivery unit that was one large room with about 15 beds in it with mothers cradling newborns on mattresses without sheets or hearing of a nurse having 1 oxygen tank for 3 babies who need oxygen and having to rotate all 3 to try and give them each the oxygen they very much needed. I am interested in being connected to companies who make hospital equipment and supplies. If you have any contacts please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, friends, for all your support.