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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.

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Talk Around Town: Barkue Tubman

4 May

As always, the “Who’s Who in Monrovia” makes sure to be seen conducting business in City Hall, and today was no exception. Barkue Tubman of Miss Boss Lady Entertainment International Group stopped through to give us her opinions on the progress of our capital city.

MCC: What do you think is the most pressing issue the Mayor’s office should be taking on?

BT: Regulating parking to free congestion in the city. The cleaning and environmental awareness is on its way. The trash cans are great and the word is being spread about cleanliness, but parking is the next step for better business in Monrovia.

MCC: We can’t work to restore our city to the way it was in 1980 or 1990, because the rest of the world has advanced, so how can we use the principle of sankofa to take our past and make our future even better?

BT: Well there are a lot of Liberians outside of Liberia, because of the war, that are doing really great things in fashion or in sports or in other great industries. Now we need to just impact the youth here and expose them to things like the fashion show coming up in May featuring Korto Momolu (view the press release here). The most pleasant surprise I’ve met in Liberia has been the willingness of young people to learn, grow, and adapt as future leaders despite the conflicts. I’ve been here about 4 or 5 years now, and young Liberians are intelligent, hard working, and progressive and I believe in the ability of all of us to bring about a brighter Liberia.

International fashion designer, Korto Momolu, will return to her home country of Liberia, in May 2011, accompanied by her public relations manager, Leonard T. DeShield, Jr., to show a 27-piece collection designed specifically for Amani Liberia’s “Sankofa Fashion Show,” to be held Saturday, May 14, 2011, 8:00 p.m. (GMT) at City Hall in Monrovia.

Purchase Tickets:
$50 (VIP) – USD
$25 (GOLD) – USD
Contact: Miss Boss Lady Intl Group
info@mblent.com

Talk Around Town: The EMUS Project

22 Mar

Supervising engineers for the World Bank are always in city hall monitoring the progress of sanitation in Monrovia. With financial assistance from the World Bank, our EMUS (Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation) Project is bound to change the way Monrovia looks AND more importantly change the way Monrovians feel about being clean and green. Check out what some of our EMUS Team has to say about this very necessary transformation on one of their visits.

Basically,

we’ve got to transform solid waste collection here. We’ve got to build the capacity to do so, but citizens of Monrovia have to understand how important the issue is. Some of this can be taught by example, but for the most part we simply have to educate people. It needs to start in the schools. People need to understand that each time they buy anything except vegetables they are buying rubbish. By throwing litter around Monrovians are wasting their own money AND causing problems in the environment. Paper, plastics, glass, tins, old clothes all have value, and waste education and training could help people understand that rubbish isn’t a burden, it can be a benefit when properly discarded. Monrovians can reuse what they’ve already paid for. So the first phase of our project is clean up. Then, people can learn to dispose of materials in a friendlier way, starting at the schools. As that escalates, we can then introduce recycling. Collecting and sorting trash for value will be common for Monrovians once they understand how important the issue is.

Talk Around Town

18 Mar

Here at MCC, we LOVE the input of our constituents. We’re here to serve you, and we can’t do that without listening to what you have to say. Lawrence Whitfield of NiMarA, a facility service provider in Sinkor, recently visited us in City Hall where we got the opportunity to ask his opinion on several issues pertaining to Monrovia’s cleanliness.

  1. How do we get Africans, especially Liberians, cooperative in cleanup efforts? Let’s limit that to Liberia, because once you step out of here it gets a little different. Our people have to learn to appreciate our country. We have to learn what ‘clean up’ really means. It means less illness. Even look at our villages. The people in the villages keep their surroundings clean despite the conditions. The people in the city need to know they are the keepers of this land. The ‘1st Saturday Clean Up’ is a way to start, but we shouldn’t need that to be declared by the Mayor. We should always be looking to keep the city ‘clean and green’ as she says.
  2. The largest change Monrovians can make is if we: Change our attitudes. This could impact the environment by helping us adopt good practices.
  3. Something we’ve tried that could really catch on all over: The trash cans around City Hall. It would be nice to see them beyond Tubman Blvd but also in the more congested parts of the city (Mayor’s Note: We’re working on this because of the great response we’ve gotten).
  4. The most pleasant surprise I’ve seen in Liberia is: I need a week to think about this one.
  5. One task I’m eager to see the Mayor take on is definitely: She has definitely gained prominence during her time as Mayor. I like that she has enforced city ordinances even though she alone cannot do it. Zoning is probably the most hazardous issue right now. People build anywhere and it’s hazardous for our health and can cause fires. I want to see her get our house in order.

Drop by Monrovia City Hall for a tour and your opinions may end up being featured in our next Talk Around Town !