Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saving the Children

Risking the possibility of being considered a constant misery guts I am throwing up five stories of poverty told in the words of people from the west african countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia. The videos were made by Save the Children as part of two different campaigns to highlight the kinds of problems people are encountering on a daily basis in these places.

I am trying to learn about both of these places, what they share and what is unique to them in terms of development, culture, religion and so on. At the moment I am loving listening to Liberian's talk - contrasting their Liberian English with Sierra Leonean Krio. They are really distinctive. Whenever I first went to Sierra Leone I shared a house with two Liberians and hearing the rhythm and accent of Liberian speech gives me warm memories of good friends.

Liberia is actually now deemed to have a lower level of human development than Sierra Leone. Talking to a friend in Liberia today he shared the difficulty of getting access to electricity in Monrovia, Liberia's Capital. "It's not like Sierra Leone", he commented and believe me when I tell you that Sierra Leone is not exactly aglow with electric light.

The most random, fun thing I learned today while watching one of Save the Children's other videos from Liberia is that kids there play 'Noughty' just like our kids in Sierra Leone...so that'll be fun to go and make a fool of myself with some day! It's a game which requires strategy, quick thinking and...this part being my downfall...rhythm.

These are desperately sad stories. But this is part of life as it currently is in Sierra Leone and Liberia. To hide from it is to lie to ourselves. To pity those who share these stories is to patronise them. To feel compassion and to allow that compassion to move you to action...now that can lead to special things.

So pick at least one story from each country, have a look and a think and a pray. It'll take you just 5 minutes.

Stories from Sierra Leone

Stories from Liberia

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