For more than a decade, Annie Sharty and Lloyd Johnson longed for a place to call home, since civil violence in Liberia separated them from their families and caused them to fear for their lives. Annie fled to Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in 1990. Leaving Monrovia, Lloyd first took refuge in the bush. He later returned to the city only to be forced to flee again. In 2003, he met Annie in the "bush" and they both decided to go to a refugee camp in Abijan, Cote d'Ivoire. There, they went through the scrutiny of interviews by the United Nations to become refugees.
On April 21, 2004, Annie and Lloyd arrived at the cottage. The cottage had been renovated for the purpose of housing refugees. The renovation, which took volunteers three years to complete, began with shoring of the foundation and putting on a new roof. The "10,000 lb" boiler was removed, ceiling and walls were sheet rocked and painted, plumbing, wiring and heating were installed, as well as a new kitchen and bathroom cabinets, counter tops, tile, an oil burner, carpeting, doors, paint, some furniture and refinished the hardwood living room floor. (click here to see pictures of the cottage renovation)
Over fifty people received training to help with the resettlement. There were generous donations of furniture, kitchenware, appliances, bedding, clothing and food from members of the congregation. Everyone who had been involved with the ministry expressed their joy and appreciation for the opportunity to lend a helping hand. For many, it was an experience they will not forget. Those lives, and many others, were touched by Annie and Lloyd's presence.
Annie and Lloyd worked in the bakery at Stew Leonard's. A member of the transportation team would drive them to work at 4:30 a.m., or if Lloyd worked an early shift, 2:30 a.m. during the summer months, he would ride his bike. With studying and help from volunteers, he passed his driver's test and drove them both to work, even with different schedules. They planted a garden abundant with hot peppers, potatoes, cucumbers and collard greens. They became experts in purchasing phone cards and rented every video and DVD available at the Brookfield Library. Both chopped wood and sold it as well as made regular trips to African Food Market in New Haven. Lloyd mowed lawns, helped with gardens, cleared trees, painted, dug holes and trenches for extra work. They both took ESL and computer classes at New Milford High School. They stayed in the cottage for one year.
In April 2005, Annie moved to St. Louis, MO to live with her aunt and her daughter. It was difficult at first to find a job, but she eventually found one cleaning at a casino, working 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. She studied and practiced and received her driver's license and a car. Lloyd moved to East Ridge Condos in Danbury and worked two full time jobs at Stew Leonard's and Costco. He had little time to relax and pray.
In April 2006, Costco transferred Lloyd to St. Louis, at his request. With his van filled to the brim with possessions, he drove West, stopping in Hudson, Ohio to spend a night with Dr. Rev. Peter Wiley and family. Currently, Annie and Lloyd share a two bedroom apartment, have two vehicles and work full time jobs, she at the casino and he at Costco. Annie is also enrolled in nursing classes at a college. This summer, Lloyd hopes to enroll in business administration classes. They now help drive other refugees to work and to the African food market in St. Louis.
This page was last updated on
02/08/2014 09:04 AM.
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