LOCALLY BASED CHARITY HELPS PROVIDE
CROSSING FOR STRANDED VILLAGERS
work of a Lisburn charity has helped to dramatically change the
life of people from a West African region cut off from basic
supplies due to a surrounding river flooding them in the wet
Friends in Action - a non-profit registered
Christian charity - recently completed the building of a 210ft
Bailey bridge in the remote Tanda region.
Four teams from all over Northern Ireland
travelled to work on the bridge, which was completed earlier
this year. One team involved in the project was made up with
representatives from Lisburn Cathedral, the Independent
Methodist Church Causeway End Road and the Elim Church in
Lisburn businessman Drew Johnston, a Director
from Friends in Action, said the charity were contacted by
missionaries working in the Tanda region requesting help to
provide some sort of crossing.
"The charity is traditionally known for
drilling water wells in Ghana and Burkina Faso but we were
delighted to get involved with the project," explained Drew.
The bridge was supplied by local business
Grahams of Dromore in 2004 after a chance remark about the
project with Philip Brown who works for the company.
"They kindly donated the bridge which had
been previously used in the construction of the M1 and the Foyle
Bridge," explained Drew.
"Philip Donald, a former employee of Grahams
came out of retirement to help translate the complex instruction
manual that came with the bridge and identified the quantity of
parts available and those in need of re-manufacturing and
Castlewellan firm Walter Watson and Co. sandblasted and painted
the bridge free of charge."
Lisburn charity Friends in Action
built a 210ft bridge in the remote Tanda region of
Guinea, West Africa. US37-761SP
The team working on the bridge.
The bridge and necessary equipment was
shipped to Guinea during the Spring of 2005 and the construction
work- which took six weeks to complete - got underway at the
beginning of this year.
"Many of the Tanda people live on the far
side of the Tomboya River which is about 200 feet wide," Drew
"The river causes no problems during the dry
season but from May to November it rises up to 12 feet at times.
There is an alternative route but it can take nearly 12 hours
and is only passable with a four-wheel drive.
"The natives were unable to leave the area to
trade their goods, buy supplies or get medical attention.
"The building of this bridge will bring great
economic benefits to the people, especially during the wet
season when starvation and death from malaria is common.
"This project has brought credibility to
Christianity in a predominantly Muslim country and has brought
the New Tribes Mission into a favourable position with the
Guinea government," added Drew.