By Stephen G. Fellajuah
MOROVIA: The Vice President, Mrs. Jewel Howard-Taylor yesterday, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 added a new impetus to various ongoing awareness and sensitization projects against the scorch of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic in the country when she launched two books, The Unwelcome Stranger and The Unwelcome Stranger’s visit, at a ceremony held at her Capitol Building office in Monrovia.
Speaking at the ceremony, VP Taylor described the books as being compatible with the Liberian scenario which has the potential to adequately create awareness and education about the virus that is ravaging the health sector of the country, and see the children to be the main beneficiaries of the literary works.
“I wanted to wait a bit but as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 and it is getting worse I thought that there is no better time than today to actually have these books distributed so that we can be able to read them and talk about them to afford people getting more information on the pandemic”, she pointed out.
She furthered that the books are important because they deal with COVID-19, saying,” COVID has disrupted our lives. It is truly an unwelcome stranger. You don’t see it, smell it, but it can affect our lives and I am an example”, she noted.
VP Taylor thanked the managements of the corporate, public and humanitarian institutions such as Cemenco, Golden Veroleum (Liberia) Inc, NASSCORP, International Rescue Committee (IRC), International Bank (LIB) LTD and the Ministry of Education for taking such an important project and making it a national project. She also thanked her able staff for the efforts put in the project.
She expressed her gratitude to those who saw her idea as something worthy for the nation and people, adding that her office has more than 5,000 books that have been printed to be distributed to agencies for the children, the Ministry of Education and other institutions including KEEP, a local NGO that is building libraries across the country and work with others to get the books in the counties.
The first female Liberian Vice President emphasized that the Ministry of Education worked with both the printers and those who wrote the books to ensure that they suit the Liberian situation and hope that the books will form part of the children’s reading curriculum as they continue their school works.
The Liberian Vice President narrated her experience that a little over a year ago she contracted COVID at the most extreme level, and said “I spent 3 months in the hospital and 40 days in the ICU, it was only by the grace of God that I came out. So for those of you who don’t believe it, who don’t want to follow health measures and take your vaccine, my life experience is enough to tell you that COVID can affect anyone.”
According to the VP, her message over the last few days has been a simple message of five points: let us pray that it is God that help us get rid of this pandemic, as long you are out of your house wear your mask, cover your nose and mouth, wash your hands as often as possible, or use hand sanitizer frequently, practice social distancing, she emphasized.
She said that the second book, The UnWelcome Stranger” tells her story how she got ill and spent time in the hospital so that people know that the pandemic is real.
She again thanked the contributors who made the printing of the books possible, and said she hoped for additional support to print more books because the messages are not just for children but for adults as well to read them and know that the pandemic is real.