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Voice of the People

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 11:41 PM

Woman working for a better world

Since there is so much bashing in letters to the editor, I'm writing to honor someone who lives her religion and beliefs. My niece, Ashley Hiers, is the logistic coordinator for the International Mission Board in Jos, Nigeria. She is the daughter of Tim and Angie Hiers of Naples, Fla., and the granddaughter of the late Clyde and Minnie McGraw of Pecks Mill, Logan County, W.Va.

Ashley got her MBA degree and worked for a CPA for a year. She trained for over two months in the language of the locals. She is responsible for vehicles, housing, visas for new staff, reviewing project budgets and auditing expenses. She has a staff of office assistant, driver, gardeners for guest homes, and 10 day-shift and 10 night-shift guards.

I spoke to Ashley in May. Nigeria is a very violent part of Africa. She said several Christians were beheaded recently. She uses a local driver, because at any time, a band of militia, or local thugs, with automatic weapons, will stop their car. If she or her driver can't speak the language and give at least a $20 bribe, they will not be allowed to proceed.

She often spends her own money to buy medicine for women and children. Her organization does a lot of humanitarian work there. The people are very poor and the instability has gotten worse recently because of political, economic and religious reasons. The average wage is $2 a day, and there are a lot of diseases. She said Nigeria is one of only three countries that has not eradicated polio. There are beggars in the streets with gnarled and missing legs, scooting with sandals on their hands, or moving on skateboards.

Ashley is finishing up a two-year tour and will soon return home.

Don McGraw

Proctorville, Ohio

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