Liberia: low turnout at cemeteries for this year’s Decoration Day


Monrovia— Attendance at this year’s burial sites has been exceptionally low, FrontPageAfrica observed.

Over the years, family members and loved ones rush to cemeteries early in the morning on the second Wednesday of every March to clean, decorate and pay their respects to deceased relatives and compatriots.

The Center Street Tomb in central Monrovia is one of the main tombs that attracts hundreds of people on Decoration Day.

But the story of this year’s Decoration Day is different because contractors who usually visit the site to clean the graves for money couldn’t come out due to the low turnout at the grave.

George Morris, a regular contractor at the Center Street Tomb Cemetery who would have made 5,000 LD or more in the past, was unable to generate a 1,000 LD which he described as frustrating.

“Can you imagine that I bought paints, whitewash and other materials to be hired by those who will come here to clean the graves of their people but do not have these materials, I can use my materials for their work and then I bill them,” he explained.

George explained that over the past few years he has earned just over 800 LD per grave and at the end of the day he sometimes takes home 5,000 LD.

FrontPageAfrica’s visit to Center Street Cemetery on Wednesday revealed that many people did not show up, which is unusual for Decoration Day.

The age-old problem of locating specific tombs was still on the agenda. This often resulted in fights between different families claiming ownership of a tomb. This is due to the desecration of the cemetery by drug addicts and criminals who often use cemeteries as hiding places.

James Lavala couldn’t hold back his anger after realizing his late mother’s grave had burst in and everything had been stolen, including the coffin she was buried in.

“That’s absolute nonsense; are you telling us that it’s because of the hardships or harsh living conditions that led to the theft of items from my mother’s grave? fuck it, it’s the missing coffin,” he said.

What was believed to be his mother’s skeleton was the only thing seen in the grave.

James expressed his disappointment at those who used to steal from the dead, saying, “Even the dead have no security in our country, it seems so shameful to hear of people stealing from the dead.”

FrontPageAfrica has observed that the bursting of graves is a team effort and an organized crime among the zogos.

If a grave is pierced at night, everyone who participates in this operation shares the objects of the grave, some people take the shoes to sell them, some people take the clothes from the body, among others.

Many people bury their dead with valuables including gold chains, expensive watches, shoes, expensive coffin among others.

Orange Grove Cemetery – the largest in the country did not get a facelift this year due to low turnout.


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