soldiers from Liberia’s civil war.
Pond devotes the same diligence to
Concrete Progress in Liberia
the schools in Liberia as to his paying
projects in New Jersey, adding unique
design elements that combine form and
function. He hopes his e;orts will help
local workers and students realize their
lives are equally special.—Lauren Yobs P H
;;;;;;;;; ;;; ;;;;;;; Mike Pond creates custom, contemporary furniture
and structures from concrete. When he
isn’t at his workshop in Somerville or
on-site around New Jersey, he’s overseas—primarily in Liberia—o;ering
his expertise to local craftsmen while
building schools with More Than Me,
a foundation that empowers Liberian
children through education. The foundation is run by Pond’s longtime friend,
Bernardsville native Katie Meyler.
Pond made his fourth trip to assist
Meyler during the ;;;; Ebola crisis. He
flew in to convert one of the More Than
Me schools into emergency housing for
children orphaned by the d;sease. He
slept nightly at the job site. “I just figured, when Ebola takes a break, I’ll take
a break,” Pond recalls. The crisis ended,
but Pond still jumps at every chance to
assist Meyler’s e;orts.
Liberia, like many developing na-
tions, uses concrete as its primary
building material because it is durable
and doesn’t require power tools. “In
America, we are so much more used
to building with wood,” says Pond.
“There’s nothing like that in Liberia.”
The work is never easy. Pond and his
team get stuck whenever rain swamps
the dirt roads they use to transport
supplies. He barters with electricians
who demand bribes. Sometimes, the
Liberian workers struggle to embrace
Western construction techniques.
“People thought I was a little bit crazy
at first,” he admits. Ultimately, Pond
taught them to save time and money
Pond made his fifth trip to Liberia
in September, working on six new
More Than Me schools and mentoring
members of his team. He has developed
lasting friendships with many builders
there, some of whom are former child
FIRM FOUNDATION Mike Pond and one of his
veteran Liberian crew trowel a concrete floor.
GLADSTONE COUNTRY HOUSE
American Made Furniture in Tiger Maple, Cherry, Pine, Maple and Oak.
Custom Upholstered and Leather Sofas and Chairs.
Mirrors, Chandeliers, Florals, Artwork and Oriental Lamps.
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 - 5
Also Open Sundays 11 to 4 From Thanksgiving to Xmas
230 Main Street/Route 512 • Gladstone NJ 07934 • (908) 781-1300
Your Home for American Made Furniture
Gladstone November Half Horizontal.indd 1 9/27/2016 6:46: 50 PM