Suakoko

July 21, 2009

After a solidly four hour drive…and I do mean four hours…you can tell the progress.  The roads are much better, by better I mean less huge pot holes…everything is so much cleaner.  I  believe at least once a week they have a national clean up day…to remove the trash.  You even see regular citizens throughout the day, when they walk by and see trash…they will pick it up and put it in the proper container…

Now, Monrovia is the major city…it is urban and has all those characteristics of high population areas.  Suakoko…Gbranga…Bong County…now that is the Interior!!!  The Interior is when we really talk ab out ‘Interpreting Differences’ and transitioning cultures…modernization versus traditionalism, young vs. old, or even new generations needing to acquire their future gains through the elders versus the more modern or market based mechanisms of just getting out there and going for yours.  Every society, I imagine, has organizations where people engage in their cultural activities; however, in areas such as this (Interior West Africa), young people traditionally were a major part of the participation and this served as a mechanism to transfer cultural values and roles while maintaining the structure of the social group.

One of the many books I read to prepare for this trip, was a piece by John Gay.  Gay spent some number of untold decades in this area and really put together some of the most culturally insightful literature I have come across.  It is a very quick read, most interesting, and very helpful in regards to developing an appreciation for another way of looking at things.  Especially when it comes to the implications of modernization on traditional culture.  A lot of transferable lessons…particularly when we look at the conflict between western culture and those dominated by Islam.  Red Dust on the Green Leaves…just like the south…the dirt is VERY RED…

reddust_sm

After a nice long drive, deep into the Interior…heading North towards Guniea…we arrived at Suakoko.  Cuttington University is supported by the Episcopal Church of the United States and is the oldest private four year degree granting institution in sub-saharan Africa…How about that?  🙂

This is the new Gate…when I was here a few months ago…they were just delivering the materials…now it is up and running.

Gate

This is where I’ll be working…Will fill you in on my assignment at a later time.  But for now, it will include reviewing the service learning curriculum and providing training on such.  I will also be providing training on statistical analysis for use in quantitative and policy analysis.  All this will include a train the trainer format so that ultimately they have increased capacity to train others.  If it is all based on one person, it is useless.  If participants can then take the information, culturally modify it if need be, then train the next crew…and the next, and the next, and the next…then we will have done something 🙂

This is the building that I work in…so far anyway for the first few days.  It is a new building, just finished a few weeks ago.  Guess who built it?  The Chinese…still making those inroads!

Office Building

And inside the building they have given me this quaint little office to use for a time.  My office:

My Temp Office

During the day, there is a great demand for the internet bandwith….so it can be difficult; so in the future I will post when I can…mostly in the evenings or early mornings I guess.

I’ve got a ton of pics…I’ll post some…but, most will get posted when I get back on my major web-site.  Thanks for checking me out and all the hits…makes a person feel like they are actually doing something.  Suakoko, Liberia…hell-uv’a long way from almost flunking out of High School 🙂

http://www.takingownership.org

One Response to “Suakoko”

  1. Joe Buck said

    Malik, I am thoroughly enjoying your information. I am reading every time you post and find your observations to be so very interesting. Be safe and enjoy. jb

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