While working on my computer in February of 2005, I received a chat request, via the internet, from a certain young man who identified himself as jtutu. After about an hour of discussion, it became apparent that Jallah was a 21-year-old refugee living in the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, West Africa. I was blessed by his deep knowledge of and apparent love for Jesus and the scripture. It was definitely apparent that he knew the Lord intimately and our sharing was deep, encouraging us both in spirit. It also became clear that he was in desperate need of life’s most basic necessities – water, food and shelter. What blessed me about this young man was his deep faith and trust in God that He would continue to supply his needs no matter what. Jallah never once asked for money, but only that I might consider assisting him in finding a sponsor in a resettlement program that was, at that time, available in Canada. You can read this initial dialogue and be blessed too!
Over the following week, or so, our relationship grew and it became evident that I had become more than just a pen pal. I was quickly becoming a father figure in his life in place of his own father who he lost some 9 years earlier in the Liberian rebel wars. I was his sole source of encouragement and potential support in that horrible camp where he had been alone in exile since 1996.
Then, one day, while chatting with Jallah, something very unusual occurred. Another chat window opened on my screen from someone else requesting to get to know me. Mercy was a 26 year old woman from Liberia, the country that Jallah was from. I was curious as to why it was Jallah was unable to return to Liberia and so asked Mercy about the living conditions in Liberia. She shared the difficult situation that still remained in Liberia at that time, but then informed me that she was currently living in a refugee camp in Ghana. I asked what camp and she responded, “The Buduburam Camp.” As it turned out, she was in the exact same internet café as Jallah and I was able to introduce them to each other from my office on the other side of the globe. The three of us were in amazement and rejoiced at how God used someone so far away to bring believing people together using the internet… a modern miracle! You can read this dialogue yourself.
In the weeks that followed we grew close as a family. My own family and I, as well as our fellowship group here in Edmonton, have grown to love and appreciate Jallah, Mercy, and her brother, Trokon. The three of them also became close and considered themselves to be a family, encouraging one another and sharing whatever aid we were able to send.
In 2009 I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with Karen Barkman of Provision of Hope to Ghana and Liberia where we visited the Buduburam Refugee Camp and spent a couple of days with Jallah,Mercy and Trokon. We laughed, we cried and we rejoiced in the Lord’s doing. We walked through the camp and saw where they were living as well as did some shopping for needed items in Accra, ate pizza and drank soda. They were so very blessed and grateful for the visit and the support!
In 2011 we managed to get them back and settled in their home country of Liberia. Mercy travelled into the interior looking for friends and relatives and sadly we have not heard from her in many months. We hope and pray that she has found support in her community and perhaps one day we will re-connect.
Jallah, however, completed his 3 years of nursing training at Mother Patern College of Health Sciences, one of the finest colleges in Western Africa. He is Class President and has maintained top marks in spite of periodic struggles with illness. Jallah is a committed, hard-working and diligent student and has received high commendation from the Director of Nursing…
“Jallah Tutu joined our institution in September, 2011 and is presently a third year student. Jallah is respectful, hardworking, dedicated and studious. His cumulative GPA is 3.04. He has leadership ability and is the Prefect for his class. Helping him to continue his education will be of no regret to you.”
Director of Nursing at Mother Patern College of Health Sciences
Jallah graduated from the 2-year BSc For Physician Assistant this past August (2016) with the highest GPA in the entire Polytechnic, graduating with the highest honor, Summa Cum Laude. He also received a special certificate for his outstanding leadership over the five years of schooling he received at Mother Patern College of Health Sciences, one of the finest colleges in Western Africa.
We are presently endeavoring to raise funds in order for Jallah to establish his own pharmacy and clinic in his community of Old Barrolle Practice Ground in Monrovia. Many may wonder if this is a viable business opportunity in a country such as Liberia. It certainly is and there are other such pharmacies throughout Liberia. These small independent clinics are very effective in delivering medical supplies, medicines and basic treatments to local residents taking much pressure of the few hospitals, often overwhelmed hospitals in a city such Monrovia. For information on this fund-raising project go HERE.
View a photo gallery by clicking on any of the photos on this page.
View a video taken in 2010 when we met Jallah, Mercy and trokon for the first time on the camp in Ghana.