Liberia.... Where should I even start? Well first off, this post is long overdue, but the experience was one I needed some time to absorb. (Also this is rather long; up to you if you wanna stay! I traveled to Liberia; leaving January 7th and returning on the 18th, we had a good amount of time there.
I took my camera gear (per usual) but this time it was different - I was making a movie while I was there. The movie I was making is for Growing Liberia's Children, a non-profit working with Saint Paul school. And that's exactly where this photo was taken: at the school, where preschool through 6th graders attend. The kids here have so much passion and heart. Every day that I was able to interact with them I saw a burning fire in their eyes that I've never seen before. These kids love each other and themselves, they're eager to learn and eager to create a future they want. It's truly beautiful.
On a different note, Liberia and all the experiences I had while there was life changing. The people, the culture, the lifestyles they live, the beautiful scenery, and the innocence I saw in children.... Everything I saw was eye opening. Life in Liberia is dramatically different than life I've seen, well, anywhere else. Different than Asia, different from Europe, and very different from the U.S.
The people of Liberia manage intense lifestyles. Liberia has an 80% unemployment rate. Additionally, the majority of
people have no electricity, no running water, a need for food, and more. Many of the people I met mentioned many
times that, "you need to be strong" in order to live there - and it's true. I met a girl, she was the recipient of GLC's
scholarship fund. Her name was Bindu, and she was a freshman in college, attending Saint Maris Polytechnic, a school
in downtown Monrovia. Her daily routine... let's just say it's crazy. Waking up at 4-5 A.M,l, arriving in time for class to
start at 8:00 AM, and taking classes ending at 8:00 PM, with only a 2 hour break from 12:00 - 2:00 PM. From there she
makes her way home, arriving around 10:00 PM and she still needs to study and sleep. The craziest part? She is only
able to eat one meal per day: breakfast.
It's people that have lives like this that made me realize how fortunate I am to live the life I do. Even just to live in the United States is a huge blessing. Problems similar to these affect many many people in Liberia. It's heartbreaking to hear and see, but the positives that have resumed from their hardships are incredible.