Croezerville (pronounced Cruiser-Ville) sounds like a drive-in in a 50s movie. But it is anything but a place of fond nostalgia or glee. No, the memories are bad—and the present has not been much better.
In the past, Charles Taylor invaded this area of Liberia cutting people’s arms off and kidnapping children to make them child soldiers and terrorists. In recent years, it has been known for the Ebola epidemic that has killed so many and left numbers of orphans.
MacAnthony Siaker is the director of the CRF program in Croezerville. He knows what it is like to live in poverty and bad situations. MacAnthony’s father had three wives and was a farmer. He was able to get his kids into school—but just barely. Yes, MacAnthony and his siblings were the only children in school without shoes. There was a prize for being the best student. It was $25. And MacAnthony won the money every year. That’s how he completed his education.
With a bad economy and impending war, schools were closed all over Liberia. In 1992, MacAnthony left Monrovia with 60 homeless and unschooled children to go to the countryside near Croezerville. All he had was two bags of rice. It only lasted three days. That’s when his wife left him.
And then things got worse. A war happened.
When Charles Taylor invaded Liberia, he was after these children. He wanted them for his army. He wanted to make them killers. They surrounded the walls of our CRF facility ready to attack.
MacAnthony climbed the wall and yelled at them, “In the Name of the Lord—Outside!” And that’s exactly where they remained. They left. And not one child was taken. Not one rebel came inside. MacAnthony became a legend.
And then came Ebola.
MacAnthony saw teachers at his school die, and new orphans emerged. Today, he is 58. He still sleeps at the children’s home on the floor. He is the only parent most of these 150+ children will ever know. He is the school principal, but refuses to take a salary.
He is simply glad to save children.
And now there’s finally some good news. The war is over. There haven’t been any new cases of Ebola lately. And new kids are coming to join MacAnthony’s dream. Yes, we are building a new school in Croezerville.
Deaf children from all over Liberia and Sierra Leone have been abandoned with no place to go and no hope for schooling. Christian Relief Fund has a great school in Monrovia run by Emmanuel Jacobsen. They just don’t have a school building or a good place to live. But that is about to change. MacAnthony has invited these kids to Croezerville so they can also meet in the new building we are building there. And four new dorms are about to be built for children from MacAnthony’s ministry and Emmanuel’s work.
In Liberia, there is a slogan that fits well the vision of Croezerville:
“IT IS BETTER TO BUILD CHILDREN THAN TO REPAIR MEN”