The Man Behind the Mokpangumba School

04/17/14

If you make the long walk through jungle and farmlands to the river that separates the small village of Mokpangumba from every school and medical clinic in the area, a small, thin man with a huge smile will probably greet you in a dugout canoe. 

 
Mr. Foday on the river
 
Mr. Foday is the head teacher at the Children of the Nations (COTN) school in Mokpangumba. But he's not from this remote village, and he never intended to become a teacher. 
 
"God was the reason I became a teacher," he says with a smile. Mr. Foday had originally planned to become a nurse, but only made it through half of his education when war broke out in Sierra Leone. "Due to the war, I lost the chance to become a nurse," he explains. 
 
Looking for any kind of job training still available during the war, he tried a masonry apprenticeship in Freetown. But when the relative who was paying his training costs died in the war, again his education came to an end. Discouraged, he returned to his village—a tiny community called Borborbu, a short walk from the bigger village of Ngolala. 
 
“My father said to me, ‘Let us wait, and pray to God that He will give you another opportunity,’” Mr. Foday says. 
 
Mr. Foday's opportunity came in 2004. COTN moved their ministry center to the Ngolala area, and began building a school. Mr. Foday didn't have any formal teacher training, but neither did most of the other people in the area. His hard work and willingness to learn impressed COTN's Country Director, Angie Myles, who hired him to teach at the new school. 
 
Mr. Foday teaching
 
Mr. Foday throws himself into everything he does. In class, his attention isn't off his students for a moment. And he will stop at nothing to make sure he is serving his students in every way he can. So when Mama Angie asked Mr. Foday to make the long trek to Mokpangumba and teach some classes out there in 2007, he went with joy. 
 
At that time, more and more students from Mokpangumba were walking to COTN's school in Ngolala. The journey was long, but it was the only school even remotely close to their little village, which hadn't had a school in it since the old United Brethren Church building fell down more than a decade before, during the war.  
 
Since so many children were making the long and sometimes treacherous (for a small child) journey from Mokpangumba, Mama Angie was hoping to start a satellite school there. Mr. Foday was the pioneer. Before long, he had moved his whole family to Mokpangumba. 
 
Mr. Foday speaks of nothing but the joy he has teaching in Mokpangumba. But when asked specifically, he admits that it was hard to move out there. Homes are little more than mud huts. Until recently there was no clean water source. And to this day there isn't a single latrine in the entire village. But he felt that God had called him to this little village, so he stayed.
 
The first day of classes, Mr. Foday managed to round up 25 students and 3 other teachers. They met under a tree. 
 
School under a tree in Mokpangumba
 
Over the next 7 years, the tiny school grew from 25 to 98 students. It met on porches, under trees, and in a tiny mud-and-stick school building. 
 
Today, Mr. Foday is still going strong. When he's not teaching, he's on his bike, making the 20-mile journey from Mokpangumba to Mattru Jong, to attend teacher training classes. And on his day off he's pastoring the church in Mokpangumba or checking up on any one of the churches in the surrounding area—he's the lead pastor for all the area churches. 
 
The school is going strong too. Right now, 6 grades meet on 2 porches in the village. 
 
Mr. Foday teaches his sixth-grade class on the porch of a home in Mokpangumba.
                          Mr. Foday teaches his sixth-grade class on the porch of a home in Mokpangumba. 
 
But something exciting is in store. People like you have chosen to partner with the people of Mokpangumba to build their first permanent school building. The community has given the land, cleared the ground, and the brick-making has begun. Parents can now see the day where their children will go to school in real classrooms. 
 
"If we are fortunate enough to finish this new building, we will be able to send more children to school," Mr. Foday says. "These children will become the leaders of tomorrow and change this village. We will be proud of that." 
 
Mokpangumba land
               The people of Mokpangumba pray over the land they have given and cleared for their new school.  
 
You can help a child in Mokpangumba attend school! Sponsor a child today! 
 
Or, partner with the people of Mokpangumba to help build their first permanent school