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Dr. Miller's Africa Trip-Day 6

Dr. Miller's Liberia, Africa Blog

Day 6, June 7, 2024

MCSS Student Council/Government Installation/Meeting with Liberian Congressman

Today was a long day but a very rewarding one as Mrs. Toe and I had the honor and privilege of participating in two key events.  This morning, Amos drove us to MCSS headquarters downtown to get set for a special reception which I was asked to be the guest speaker at.  This reception was being attended by key officials in the MCSS Public School System including Superintendent Momoh.  Additionally, representatives from all 20+ schools in the MCSS system would have representatives and student delegates and their families on-hand for the inauguration of new student government/council members.  The program was to begin at 11AM but did not start until almost 1PM.  I am learning that timing is very difficult in Liberia because most people do not have their own car and need to get a ride from someone else so they might have to wait for extended periods of time to get picked up.  Additionally, because of all the traffic and limited roads, there is overcrowding and long traffic jams.  This leads to serious wait time even for formal and important events.  When Mrs. Toe and I arrived, we were recognized by the crowd and were greeted by applause and cheers.  We listened to several speakers-both students and staff alike.  I prepared a speech on leadership which I was honored to present.  My speech revolved around 3 pillars of leadership that matter to me; Knowing Your WHY?, Relationships, and Integrity.  The students and audience listened carefully and genuinely seemed interested in my summation of leadership.  I congratulated all of the new student leaders.  Mrs. Toe had the honor of calling out the names of the newly elected student body members and I shook hands and handed them each their certificate.  As part of the ceremony, we actually pinned real money to the shirt of the newly elected student president as is customary.  Superintendent Momoh also spoke of the importance of integrity and called for change in the public school system.  There was music and dancing that followed and the event concluded with several passionate speeches about the future of MCSS.  After the event, Mrs. Toe and I traveled along with two key MCSS officials, to the nation's capitol building.  The Liberian Government is patterned after our government so there is a legislative branch similar to ours.  The house of representatives has reps from each county based upon area and population so there are approximately 70-some representatives.  The senate holds two representatives or senators, from each county for a total of 30 for the 15 counties.  We met with the Honorable Thomas Romeo Quioh, who is a leader in the congress on educational affairs.  Quioh listened intently to Mrs. Toe and I about our experiences bringing materials and supplies to the children in the public schools.  Mrs. Toe shared one of the great hardships is not gathering materials and supplies but the shipping of such donations from America to Liberia.  He listened and offered to find support for Mrs. Toe's organization to help with the shipping costs.  If that comes to fruition, it could be a wonderful help to these children as we could get supplies and donations to Liberia in an expedited manner.  We headed for home and I asked our driver Amos about some music in the car.  He plays a cd and some of the music is really good and catchy.  This sparked a lively conversation about music.  I used the app Shazam to see if it could tell me the artists and song information and it does!  My favorites so far are Jara by Khaid and Water by Tyla.  I'm not sure if YouTube has them or not but I will look to add them to my collection.  We packed a lot in today.  Everywhere I go, people are curious about me coming to Africa.  When people in America learned I was traveling to Africa, there was an immediate concern for safety.  Although we are cautious and do not take risks, the people have been nothing but kind to us.  If you are considering traveling abroad and always wanted to visit Africa, I encourage you to do your research and plan a visit!  Have a wonderful weekend!  I will be combining my Saturday/Sunday blog for time and upload Sunday evening.  Much love to you all.

~Dr. Miller, Day 6 June 7, 2024

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