Woloh, Liberia, Apr 23 (EFE).- For residents of the remote Liberian village of Woloh, an old, narrow, rickety wooden bridge made from mere sticks and ropes provides the only link to other towns in Grand Bassa County.
“The monkey bridge is our gateway, there is no other road,” says Ezekiel Page, one of the villagers who regularly has to make the perilous crossing.
Traversing the more than 100-year-old bridge, which is a vital trade link, is very risky, and over the years has caused multiple injuries and even deaths, residents tell EPA-EFE.
The main source of income for this community is a distillate made from sugar cane, which is sold at markets in the area. The villagers have to carry the goods by hand in makeshift jerry cans.
One of those who was badly injured on one of the perilous crossings is 15-year-old Marthaline Williams, who, her mother recounts, landed on a stick in the water below that pierced her abdomen, leaving her with lifelong injuries.
“We rushed her to the hospital. And when we got home, we were afraid that she would no longer be able to (have children),” she explains.
Because of accidents like Marthaline’s, local authorities have repeatedly — albeit unsuccessfully — asked the regional government to improve the bridge to make it stable and safe for the 300 or so villagers who rely on it.
With no government support, the local authorities are instead looking for a commercial sponsor to help deliver the necessary improvements, offering 10 acres of land (about 4 hectares) as an incentive for potential investors. EFE