Happy Monday! We had a great futbol-filled Sunday evening last night. We were walking home from our go-to restaurant P.A.’s when we noticed a futbol game getting started right outside our home. It was a really nice evening- not too hot- so we decided to pull up a seat and check it out. This greatly excited the children playing and more kids came out to join us to cheer the teams on. We then decided to get a full on soccer tournament going, so we ran inside to get Ali’s old soccer trophies she brought along to give to the winners. The boys were incredibly talented with their futbol skills and it was a blast to watch. There were 4 teams, and each of them ended up getting either a trophy or medal, which thrilled them to no end. We’ve got some great shots of the kids’ victory dances and celebrations. This evening we got to check out the neighborhood girls’ kickball tournament, which was equally as entertaining.
This morning we woke up and made our way to UCA to visit each of the classrooms. We’d planned to start obtaining all of our video footage, but ended up just visiting with the teachers and students and pretty much just getting an idea of life at United Christian Academy. After spending time at the school, we made our way back to Broad Street, the heart of Monrovia. We took care of a few tasks downtown and had some free time, so we made our way up the hill at the top of Broad Street to the STAR Radio Headquarters. STAR Radio (starradio.org/lr) is a GREAT community radio station broadcast in Liberia and available over the Internet. I think it’s the only Liberian station broadcasting over the Internet. The team at STAR Radio produces a number of great segments that air every week, often engaging youth alongside government ministers, and discussing issues like women’s rights, youth problems, etc. Community radio in Liberia is really the main media that gets out to rural areas of the country that don’t really do newspapers. Every household seems to have a radio monitor, and it’s often on community radio–STAR Radio, UNMIL Radio, Radio Veritas…
Kula also works at Population Services International (we decided her nickname today would be Little Ellen, since she’s such a dynamic young woman, we wouldn’t be surprised if she one day becomes president, like current leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf). She and a few other correspondents host a radio show on UNMIL radio that focuses on HIV and teen pregnancy prevention and engages panels of youth each week. We know from the statistics that while females are well represented in elementary school, high school graduation rates are terribly low, and teen pregnancy–along with financial constraints and other issues–are one of the most pressing issues.
After the tour of the radio station–for which Sean and Eddie were lucky enough to do a quick impromptu interview with a correspondent–we headed back to P.A.’s for a Coca Cola. We did a move this evening to Eddie’s niece’s apartment, off of Tubman Avenue–Vivian, not Kula, another daughter of Ciatta, Eddie’s siser and another UCA teacher. We’re having a comfortable night here, with a lot ahead in our last few days. Bedtime in Monrovia.