Annie Foley, LitWorld
The Past, the Present and the Future
Every visit should begin with a parade. LitWorld was greeted in Liberia with a patriotic celebration of the nation’s flag. “Little America” waved red, white and blue while the school children, scouts and police officers walked together through an eager crowd. As we stood among the Liberian people in the warm sun we marveled at the change that has occurred since our visit last summer. Buildings and spirits are rising, and a national pride hovers in the air. In each of the 3 years LitWorld has been visiting Liberia we have been privy to witness the ever-growing resilience as an amazingly strong people face their past by rebuilding for the future.
After a quick change of clothes LitWorld partnered with Youth Action International and Kimmie Weeks for a press conference with several reporters from Liberian newspaper, TV and radio. Most impressive were the two women reporters from Renaissance Communications Incorporated whom Kimmie announced were the first women reporters ever to attend a YAI press conference. How fitting an event to precede the LitWorld/YAI Women and Girls Mentoring Initiative launch. On Friday young women from the YAI women’s center are paired with women from professional Liberian culture, including several women senators, to develop lasting, impactful and supportive relationships.
As always, we are deeply humbled by the stories gifted to us by our friends here. Through these stories personal narrative educates and meditates, soothes and incites. Today’s most striking stories include that of a young woman running with her children at her feet and on her back through the trees for four months toward the boat that would take her to safety, only to arrive at the last possible moment. Throughout the crisis a young man faced the constant personal dilemma of whether or not to join the fighting. His family strength was his only discouragement, which in the end saved his life.