up the Pieces: Changing ideas & changing the way
of life in Liberia
By: Ophelia S. Lewis
those who desire freedom, Liberia is a land of promise,
not a promised land. When Africans in their despairs
were being removed from their homes by slave traders
and while Africa was being divided by European powers,
our tiny beloved Liberia stood alone as an independent
state upon a continent of western colonies. The division
of Africa would have been an accomplished fact in which
Liberia could not have had a place. When the British
held Sierra Leone to the west while the French held
Ivory Coast to the east as well as Guinea to the north,
our tiny beloved Liberia stood alone as an independent
state. We also give accounts of the many struggles between
the black-skin and brown-skin Africans, settlers and
tribesmen, and the distressing difficulties of acceptance
of one another. How can anyone not agree that Liberia's
story is an impressive one of fortitude?
have fought our wars, we have died, we have cried, we
have mourned; now we must pick up the pieces and strive
to put every Liberian life back together. Each of us
must set the pace for others to follow, to become a
part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.
We must each challenge ourselves to make a positive
difference in a Liberian life. It is up to us, Liberians,
to build a nation of national consciousness.
must pick up the piece of hope and dream of a better
tomorrow for us and our children so that our universities,
colleges and trade schools will engage in accepting
students' applications for higher learning rather than
being used as a place of shelter from stray bullets.
We must give our children, Liberia's future builders,
an equal chance to make changes for Liberia's growth
in years to come. We must keep hope alive!
must pick up the piece of joy and celebrate the laughter
that once echoed with the drifting wind from the Atlantic
as the voices of our children were heard from their
games in neighborhoods, village yards, city yards, schoolyards
and playgrounds. Playing together is a fundamental tool
in learning to get along; in building togetherness so
that when children grow up to become adults they can
respect one another.
must pick up the piece of prosperity and dare to travel
the many roads to accomplish our needs of becoming teachers,
taxi drivers, auto mechanics, small business owners,
carpenters, governors, clerks, electricians, secretaries,
journalists, doctors, rubber tapers, nurses, police
officers, farmers, market vendors, ministers of the
gospel, senators, soldiers, lawyers, writers, musicians,
tailors, plumbers, artists, etc, etc, etc.
must pick up the piece of pride and help to build Liberia
into a nation that will compete with the rest of the
world in economic growth, sports, science, and research
for the benefit of mankind. We can build manufactories,
create jobs, export merchandise and acquire wealth thru
honest hard work. Liberia is blessed with many natural
resources. How wonderful it would be to have malls or
shopping centers built in every nook and spot throughout
Liberia. Not just in Monrovia. If we build it, people
will use it! Some may say that I am a dreamer, but I
can assure you that I am not the only Liberian dreamer.
Every human can appreciate things that somehow accommodate
his or her needs.
must pick up the piece of dignity and have our beloved
Lone Star wave along side flags of other great nations
of the world and be recognized as a people wearing the
well-deserved badge of honor and respect. Our presence,
along with our voices, must reflect the need for basic
human rights in our country as well as around the world.
We must stand up and be counted as peacemakers, not
as abusers of human lives in meaningless wars.
must pick up the piece of unity and consider our ethnic
heritage as one; we must address our uncompromising
conservatism of tribalism and embrace each other as
one people with the common goal to continue the legacy
of our brave mothers and fathers who sacrificed their
lives for ours. Working together, Liberians are capable
of acquiring greatness on God's planet earth.
must pick up the piece of faith, regardless of your
belief, Christian or Muslim, and treat each other, as
you would like to be treated. We must be able to open
the doors of our place of worship with eagerness to
praise God/Allah together rather than with fear that
it could become a place of massacre.
Progress or our Past? Liberians are faced with the same
dilemma confronting people throughout the world - illiteracy,
illness, poverty, human rights, opportunities and uncertainties.
Why should the achievement of a better life for every
Liberian seem hopeless when our struggle is not against
outside factors? In Liberia, it should not be hate and
segregation that must determine our future. We ought
to use positive influence to create a good life for
every Liberian in every community. Liberia will grow
when each Liberian can produce something beyond his
own needs. I believe in Liberia's progress because I
have acknowledged Liberia's past, so success in Liberia
is foreseeable. If not us, then our children will make
To be a Liberian means that you are a star, a Lone Star,
unique in every way and by all measure, special. Liberty
children, Lone Stars, where are you?
OPHELIA S. LEWIS is from the noble city of Monrovia.
A poet, essayist, fiction writer, and entrepreneur/publisher,
she is the founder and CEO of Village Tales Publishing,
based in Georgia, USA. She has published her own work,
a book composed of poems and essays, My Dear Liberia,
and two books of poetry, See My Heart and Journeys of
My Heart. She is finishing up a short story collection
with a thematic concern for positive African cultural
settings. Websites: http://www.villagetales.com/ and
http://www.thepalavahut.villagetales.com/. Contact author