04 May 2012

Monrovia's Chalkboard Newspaper

Alfred Sirleaf runs a newspaper in Monrovia, Liberia called The Daily Talk. Each day, he writes up the breaking news on a chalkboard for all who pass to read and stay informed. Al Jazeera features a short documentary about Sirleaf, his newspaper and Liberia. "Foremost in my mind, I believe people should be informed about everything," says Sirleaf.

From director David Lale:
As I hung around Alfred's traffic island on Tubman Boulevard I met some of the passers-by that depend on him for their news: Michael, a former child soldier who makes a living selling souvenirs to international aid workers; Nathan, a trainee pastor striving to build a new church; Kormassa, a single mother who juggles nightshifts at the hospital with raising her children; and Larry, who teaches the pupils at Hope School for the Deaf how to fend for themselves.

These characters, who I happened to meet as they stopped by Alfred's shack to read the day's news, tell their own stories in this documentary, and if this random sampling of Monrovian society is anything to go by it is clear that Liberians do not have time to dwell on the past - they are busy making the best of the present and dreaming of the future.

While the global media too often define Liberia in terms of the tragedy of the recent civil war, from its street-level perspective The Daily Talk describes a busy, hopeful nation in the process of renewal.
Photo Credit: Chris Guillebeau