Talk Around Town: What I’m Learning

8 Jul

 Me and my colleague “Pah-pay” in our matching lime green shirts on July 4th. 

I’ve been a member of the team at Monrovia City Corporation unofficially since March 1, 2011, and officially since the end of April. It’s a job, but a job I’m sure brings some honor to my family and would make my grandfathers very proud if they were still alive. Both of them were businessmen in this city years and years ago, and I came to Liberia this year especially to try and shine the gem of Monrovia my grandfather James Bush, Sr. left in November 2010.

Today, my colleague Francis Kofa gave a Powerpoint Presentation to the office. The Mayor was there, along with his supervisor and many colleagues of ours. This powerpoint was exciting to both of us, because I taught him how to use Microsoft Publisher a few weeks ago. We took pictures from the internet, designed professional slides, added sound effects, etc., all in the spare time we had while the Mayor was in the States. Today was his big show time. I wasn’t in the workshop but he said it went well,”everyone cheered at the end.”

“It was nice for me, because it was the first one I made without you, you know, on my own. Then Mike asked me, ‘hey, show me the things that Archel taught you on Powerpoint.’ So I showed him how to put the pictures in and stuff.”

To say ‘thank you,’ he always wants to buy me a soft drink. Out here, I only drink water but I appreciate his gesture.

If nothing else comes from my being here, I’ve already been rewarded enough.

I’m about halfway through my contracted term at MCC. I came here because I wanted to work “in an office that actually did WORK.” If you’ve ever read my personal blog (sjbthewords.blogspot.com) then you already know a bit of my story. I created this site within the first week, therefore solidifying my place at Mary Broh’s City Hall. It’s been interesting as I try to keep the material fresh for you. Hits have understandably declined a bit, but as long as everyone knows that this is where you can get in touch with the news at home, then I’m doing the job I think I should be doing for you. MCC TV is my little baby. I really want to host lifestyle news from Africa for the rest of my life, so I feel like I’m playing when I go to work and get to talk to marketeers and street sweepers on camera.

The new intern, Toni, said she wanted to be here because the website made her aware of the progress she could be a part of at City Hall. She and I complain together over the slow internet. I guess the posts made her think we had high speed here. Sorry for the false representation, but I’m glad to see more people trying to find their way in Monrovia.

My colleague Amanda, brought the first milk candy I’ve had since I’ve been in Liberia last week.  If I wasn’t watching my shape I’d have commissioned her cook for a bowl all to myself. Amanda is the first one in the office every morning and will gladly go from West Point to Chicken Soup Factory with no sweat to get her job done. She’s told me she’s so dedicated because “that’s what the mayor will appreciate. It’s what she would do.”

Cyvette, my direct supervisor, handles everything and everyone and still has a beautiful face. With all the stress she endures daily, I often wonder how she’s not wrinkled. I’ve said before, she’s the Mayor’s whole left arm, and I’ve been taking lessons from her ‘dry face.’

Fahnbulleh has done an amazing job with the facelifts of the city. The graveyard was under construction when I first came aboard the Mayor’s team, and when you all see the new event patio you won’t believe what he was able to do with 2 months and small money.

The Mayor herself is a bit different than I expected. As serious as she is about cleanliness, she shares the same intensity against child labor and child abuse. I see it when I’m in the streets with her. She gets upset with mothers who have their children in the road with baskets on their head because she once was in that child’s place, needing an advocate. Shouldn’t we all stand for what we believe, despite the way it may make others see us? … Maybe make those around us greater?

Teach someone something new, or liberate them so that they may do more for themselves and someone else? Pay it forward maybe?

As I reach the hump of my time at MCC, I continue to boil over with new understanding about my people. I couldn’t have landed a better first job out of college because now I know what my grandfathers knew: it’s so worth it to be here. As I continue to administer this site, I hope you can all appreciate the work being done in Monrovia, not just so you can come back from the Diaspora, but also so that the Monrovians who are here can enjoy what we’ve got and make new, beautiful ‘remember back when’ moments to share. My dreams are going to take me a lot of new places, but my heart is always going to land me right here. It’s been open since I landed, and it’s been overflowing with joy ever since.

Love, Archel Bernard (archel.bernard@mcc.gov.lr)

Check out my newest video. It’s not MCC TV, but something new I’m working on nonetheless!

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3 Responses to “Talk Around Town: What I’m Learning”

  1. R. SMITH July 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    sorry bernard but cad do better than that, broh get her sleves rolled up, you should too. i want to see tou working hard as the mayor does and not sit behind the computer writing stuff that don,t make sense. that monkey apple girl was not funny at all, your people, my people in Monrovia,selling monkey apple is how they earn a daily bread, they need help. MCC could get involve in helping to get loans for marketers to bluid up their lives. TY

    • Chris July 9, 2011 at 6:55 am #

      This is the stupidest comment i have read on here so far. Your writing is as rubbish as your thinking.

  2. Brenda July 9, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    i enjoyed this very revealing article about the people who work at MCC! i think it’s wonderful that you are sharing your knowledge (your colleague, Mr. Kofa will always be able to give interesting, informative presentations and your new intern will feel just as fulfilled as you do when she completes her job there).

    good luck with mastering the art of balancing things on your head! the video clip is very funny. thanks for posting!

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