As busy as they were, and as tense as things were during Liberia’s civil war, the Adorer missionaries in that West African coastal country corresponded faithfully by handwritten letter to fellow sisters back home. We share excerpts from two letters Sister Barbara Ann Muttra wrote in what would be her last year of life. She always scribbled a smiley face next to her signature, no matter how tough things got.
Dec. 20, 1991
Ganta Leprosy Center
Greetings with love for a Blessed Christmas! Hope you are well!
Well, it is two years now that the war started and it looks as if (Liberian guerilla fighter Charles) Taylor will not give up his land of fortune, between carrying buckets of diamonds and gold out of the country, also all the timber.
Now the Senegalese soldiers have been here a month to assist ECOMOG with disarming the rebels and opening the road, but so far, nothing has been done. Last week, two Red Cross land cruisers like yours went up to Cape (?) and got in the ULIMO area. They were arrested and had their cars taken. Also, last week they took ADRA’s (another relief agency) pickup.
I have been going weekly with CRS (Catholic Relief Services) to take food to 330 displaced on the mission and 116 on the Peace Corps campus.
I’m planning on getting a mobile clinic to reach the villages when the road opens. I could get a pass from the General to come and visit the villages, but sad to say, the commanders at the checkpoint do not respect the posses and harass us terribly. I will see what I can do about it after the holidays. There is a lot of tension again in Bomi.
Oh, I wonder how long this will go on and the people have to suffer with all the harassment from the untrained and uncontrolled rebels. It makes me weak. (sad face icon)
Gardnersville invited all the missionaries for Christmas dinner and each is bringing a dish. We still don’t have (electricity) and no fridge. You can’t believe the destruction that was done to many lines and all the transformers were shot into to get the liquid to run the cars.
The country is just one big mess.
So take care. Don’t plan to come until the roads are open and only God knows when that will be. God bless. Enjoy Christmas as I hope to.
Barbara Ann 🙂
Sept. 8, 1991
Dear Toni and Virgina,
On Aug. 20, CRS got me a pass to travel to Bomi. It was not too bad as I was with CRS personnel. There were 14 checkpoints between the Po River bridge and Klay. ECOMOG ends at the beginning of the bridge and rebels start at the end of the bridge.
It was really heart-rending to see so many young kids at the checkpoint with guns over their shoulders. In Sasstown, one boy around 12 asked me to get him a pair of (shoes). He looked so innocent and naïve and yet had a gun on his shoulder. How sad it was to go down the road and only see empty houses. …
Tata is in our house with seven kids. Four sleep across my room and your room is used for guests. Agnes’ room is a storage for food for refugees. Our other storeroom is full of food for the special feeding program. Father gave all the boys’ mattresses to the refugees and the boys are sleeping on ours. All our pots and pans are at Father’s and out to the people. Our back screen door has the screen broken. Other than that, all is intact.
Since the rebels stole the water pump at Father’s, Oxfam is taking the one from the clinic and putting in our well and putting a hand pump at the clinic well. I hope we can get a generator now so we can have light in the evening and turn the pump on for water.
You all take care.
Write again. God bless. Love you,
Barbara Ann 🙂