Friday, March 23, 2007

The Muslim Women of Bopalu, Liberia


March 23, 2007

When I conceived "Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders," I imagined not just a radio program, but a vehicle for possible global social transformation. "Words tenderize the heart; they lead to deeds," as St. Teresa of Avila said.

At the end of my week in Liberia, our delegation flew by helicopter (there being no roads to speak of) to the little village of Bopaulu, the first Liberian village to boast a woman mayor.
We descended in the belly of a huge white UN helicopter to be greeted by the entire village, with all of the children lined up outside their schoolhouse to meet us. I was embarrassed. Such an honoring! So much expectation!

The Muslim women were waiting patiently for us. After we had arrived and were seated, this woman stood up to speak on behalf of her community. She was strikingly beautiful, with regal bearing, and she spoke eloquently in her native Kpele language. The women wanted a Women's Center, she told us, where they could gather. They wanted to learn how to read and write. Listening, my heart went out to her. Why should I be able to read and write, I asked myself, and not this beautiful woman?

Soon after leaving Bopalu, our delegation returned home. I couldn't stop thinking about the Muslim women of Bopalu and their eloquent spokeswoman, especially after my husband made these prints for me. The opportunity to make a difference in their lives came when Juli Endee, Liberia's Cultural Ambassador, paid me a visit last week. Juli is Kpele; her organization, as it turns out, Crusaders for Peace Village, has an office in Bopalu. Together we worked up a little budget: $300 for a press to make mud bricks, another $300 to pay the men to build it, $300 for 3o chairs, x amount for pads, pencils, a blackboard and books, a modest stipend for two teachers, and before you know it, we had raised enough money to launch The Bopalu Muslim Women's Literacy Project. I am so happy.

5 comments:

Gina said...

I just listened to the podcast of your program with Julie Endee. What an inspiring woman! And what an interesting and enjoyable interview. I loved her description of the way they are teaching peace to the children. It is something we desperately need in this country. Our children are not learning the value of culture and peace, which Julie Endee so beautifully describes as the purpose of her programs for children. If only our children could participate in song, dance, and story telling as a way to prepare for a more peaceful future!
Gina

Samuel said...

listen to your podcast on Amb Juli Endee,I am sorry to tell you that ,in the whole Republic of Liberia Amb. Endee counts part of the most corrupt women you can think on,let me tell most of her doings are fake,the Children village which she claims to have is only a place to create fraud document and send it out for projects,the only thing that is true about her is that she has a band and a cultural troupe but most of the finance and donations giving to her for the Village project goes in her pocket ,only insiders knows this.
She goes around lobbying for funds and later used them foolishly,to be frank she not accountable all she does is pretend ,you can come to Liberia and have some interview with some Liberian especially ones in the capitol they will tell you the Real Juli Endee,the Childrens village project will not be completed if she continue in her untrueful acts.I ve work with her for over the period of 10 years

Geoge

Anonymous said...

Concerning Juli Endee I agree with Gina. I am very sorry that this side gives people like Geoge (whoever this geoge without r or samuel??? ) the possibility to spoil the wonderful work of Amb Juli Endee and the hard working people in this organisation. It is even strange to me that he says on one side he was working for her, but on the other side he is not identifying himself to get back to him for more information. I can only say that there is no Geoge who worked for 10 years with Juli
Whoever you are Geoge- for me you are a lier and I think you envy her and the wonderfull organisation or you never met any member of the organisation. So please if you have something to say come up with your real name and be a man.
Everybody who wanna know more about Juli Endee should ask
herself and the organisation or credible people in liberia. I the best proof is when u ask a lot of poor people on the street because they have no reason to lie.
anna

Anonymous said...

shame on you mr goege.don,t destroy what it has taken people to build,spoil it,stop the hate and lets help one another,rvery Liberian knows what Amb juli, stands for and work hard at it,shame on you and your like minded people who always want to see other people fail.but thank GOD that we still have people/liberians like juli,whom have the country,and woman/children at heart,i don,t think you know, the woman.shame mr SAM or GOEGE,whatever you call self.keep up the good work amb,juli endee,GOD BLESS YOU.your enemies will for ever be SHAMED,

Anonymous said...

I feel sad,when people this type of site to destroy and say bad things about people they dont know about.if you can not praise someone becouse you hate or dont like that person or whatever thats it is.don,t destroy what she have use years and years to destroy.i have a few questions for,mr.samuel or mr goege.if what say about the ambassador is true,how come in Liberia.1,she is you liberia cultural ambassador 2,UNICIF goodwill ambassador for peace,3traditional queen of Liberia,up till now,4 why did she chose to use her hard eaned money to buy all this land,she could have use the land build a hotel,estates for rentage or some thing dont you think so?5 do you about her work with the woman/children?6 do you about her role to kick polio out of mama Liberia?7 do you that every year the accounts of her NGO are audited? and why is that we have never hear an thing on her been what you say she his? if you are a Liberian then you must be ashamed of yourself,bcose mama Liberia has move from this type of lose talks, lets help those with the ability to do it,achive what is good for mama Liberia,as the president is doing now,and am sure any one who want to check the good works of Juli can even contact,the president of liberia,lets help her build the childrens vilage,not for herself,but for all Liberian children.