Photo by Seyon Nyanwleh, the executive director of A-Mon-Nue Sports & Social Association
September has been a good month for the Ceasefire Liberia project. Not only have we had dozens of new blog posts from our writers — and several fantastic videos — but we are getting noticed too. Both Feministing and the Women’s Refugee Commission have mentioned our blog on their sites, widening our audience and ensuring that those who do not usually read about the Liberian community now know where to go for updates. We have also recruited some top new bloggers: Ronald M. Mulbah is our new sports blogger, with weekly updates on the fascinating and fast-paced world of Liberian soccer; Boima JV Boima has written several blogs, one about a youth who was slapped with a guilty verdict for attempted murder as well as a story about the Muslim community in Liberia. And our hardworking blog manager Nat Nyuan-Bayjay continues to impress with his local stories about issues important to Liberia: His most recent work includes a story about the reconstruction of the Monrovia-Buchanan highway and the trial for the murder of 13-year-old Angel Tokpa who was found strangled and hung over the bathroom rod of her guardians’ house. Both of these stories were not reported in the media so thank you Nat for keeping us informed.
For those of you who don’t know, I traveled to Minnesota in July to visit the Liberian community there, which is one of the largest in the U.S., to interview Liberians for my book, but also to try and recruit a group of Liberian bloggers in Minneapolis. I had the opportunity to meet with Doris Parker, the executive director of the Liberian Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, which runs the College-Bound mentoring program, pairing junior and senior high school Liberian girls with professional Liberian women to mentor, guide, support and encourage college enrollment. Parker’s organization also has a girl’s soccer team, which I had the pleasure of watching practice before the big game the following day. Doris and I spoke about the possibility of teaching the girls’ in her group how to blog. I hope in a future incarnation of Ceasefire Liberia we are able to start blogging clubs and run workshops across the Liberian diaspora.
I also met with Seyon Nyanwleh, the executive director of A-Mon-Nue Sports & Social Association, and watched his team practice. I was very impressed with the number of young people Seyon had recruited for his program and the level of involvement of the parents. One father came and sat through his son’s soccer practice despite being awake since early the morning to go to work. The father told me that he was there because that was one of the only times he got to spend with his son.
I’d also like to point out several Liberian bloggers who have not blogged with Ceasefire Liberia, but who I have had the pleasure of meeting (or at least speaking to) during my trip to Minnesota. Semantics King runs several blogs on Liberian and community news affecting the Liberian community; Emmanuel Liu has an active blog and Twitter where he writes about everything from some harsh words between Kanye West and Obama to Patrick Swayze’s death to a haiku he wrote for his daughter; MinneAfrica is a site dedicated to all things African in Minnesota and I had the chance to catch up by phone with Yeamyah, a Liberian woman who keeps the community in Minnesota updated on Liberian news of importance such as the expiration of the temporary protected status and male circumcision and HIV. Another not-to-be-missed source for Liberian news is The Bush Chicken an online magazine for the Liberian community in Minnesota.
Any other bloggers I’m missing — let me know.