Harris Kollie is a pen-pen driver in Monrovia, Liberia. In addition to being a pen-pen driver, Harris serves as the vice president for operations in the United Motorcycle Transport Union-Liberia (UMTUL). In this capacity, Harris seeks to improve the daily welfare of pen-pen riders by mediating disagreements between pen-pen drivers and the Liberian police, as well as ensuring proper medical care for pen-pen drivers who have suffered road accidents. In July 2013, Harris became a member of the Pen-Pen Peace Network (PPPN), a team of Liberian citizens that focuses on violence prevention and peacebuilding in Monrovia. Through his membership in the PPPN, Harris has been involved in activities to foster a pen-pen community of law-abiding and peaceful citizens. As a PPPN member and a pen-pen rider himself, Harris is proud of the achievements of the Network in changing the public image of pen-pen riders in Liberia.
In August 2014, to respond to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, the PPPN initiated and organized an Ebola Prevention Campaign. As a committed member of the PPPN network, Harris became a field coordinator for the Campaign. When he was asked to describe what he does in the field, Harris stated: “We’re doing a house-to-house awareness. This is one of the important aspects of our campaign. We know that one of the biggest weapons against the Ebola virus is awareness, so we decided to go from house to house. Everywhere where we got people living, we went there in order to create awareness…When people are aware of the situation, that’s when they are going to take the preventive measures…we work on our feet from house to house, from jungle to jungle, from street to street, to ensure that the proper message is being disseminated to our people on a daily basis. And since the beginning, we are seeing fruitful results.” Harris enjoys being part of the campaign. As he shares, the most enjoyable part of the campaign is the social activity: “It [the Campaign] brought us to know more people, and also it brought us together as PPPN people.”
Harris sees his involvement in the Ebola Prevention Campaign as deeply meaningful despite daily difficulties: “Since the awareness started, I’ve been with the Ebola Prevention Campaign. It was just quite recently when my wife came down with some complication. She had a liver problem. During the last round [of the Ebola Prevention Campaign] I was not fully part of the awareness because my wife came down with this sickness. It is not easy for me…But even though my wife is sick, I still participate in the Campaign…To see your brothers and sisters dying, it is not a good thing for us…I still participate [in this Campaign] because that’s my civil right, it’s my civil obligation to do whatsoever I need to do for my country, also for my people, for pen-pen riders.”