Monday, August 3, 2009
Community Member Profile: Benjamin McCroumada
As we involve more and more people in the projects of Robertsport Community Works, we will be introducing new team members to our online readership.
Benjamin McCroumada, our contractor/groundskeeper, has been instrumental to the preparation of the RCW campground. Liberia is an incredibly fertile country where untended plots of land thicken to the point of impassibility within a few months. In late May the campsite was overgrown, the shelter surrounding the latrine had vanished and there was a large hole produced by illegal sandmining immediately in front of the social area.
Benjamin has organized a small group of men from the uptown community and worked to better the campsite on a week by week basis. As a result of his labors we now have considerably fewer "parasite trees" (something akin to the strangler fig) and more space for camping. Visitors can walk around the entire base of the cotton tree and move about at night without fearing a sand trap.
Benjamin is a lifetime resident of Robertsport, though he spent ten years deep in the interior of the country, when Liberia's civil war rendered Robertsport unlivable. It was in his grandfather's village, named "Camp Four" where Benjamin learned to make traditional, "country" shelters with bush materials and where he learned how to farm and hunt.
He lives with his father and his four year old son, who he supports with his labors for RCW and as the net dispenser of a fishing team--a position of importance second only to the boat captain. While Benjamin loves the ocean and enjoys fishing, weeks can go by when the ocean is too rough for their hand-made dugout canoe and weeks and even months can pass when the fish supply seems to dwindle, sorely impacting the Uptown community's bottom line. And while Benjamin enjoys rough sees as one of the more talented surfers in Robertsport, he is grateful to have employment that does not depend on the weather.
While Benjamin will continue to work as our dependable contractor and groundskeeper, we look forward to leveraging his knowledge of the forest on our upcoming walking tours of the rainforest and surrounding area.