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Liberia isn’t Ebola

August 26, 2014


Liberia isn’t Ebola. It isn’t Charles Taylor and it isn’t child soldiers. But when I tell people I live in Liberia those are the only things they come up with… if they come up with anything.  In no order, here are five great things you probably didn’t know but you should:

#1 Liberia has the first democratically elected female president in Africa. She is also the first black female president in the world. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, you’re one heck of an iron lady!

#2 Cuttington University opened in Liberia in 1889. It is the oldest private, coeducational, four-year degree granting institution in sub-Saharan Africa.  (It’s also where I teach!)

#3 Liberia became Africa’s first republic in 1847.

#4 In 1995 George Weah was named the FIFA world player of the year. He is the only African to ever win the award.

#5 In 2011 President Ellen John Sirleaf and activist Leymah Gbowee won the Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

There are always two sides to every story and everything is relative. Last week I called a Liberian friend. I asked him about Ebola and he asked me about Ferguson. Does that put things in perspective? TV and a little distance make everything scarier.

“We are the other of the other.”

– Marcus Aurelius

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