Sunday, April 22, 2012

What a nice looking bunch, except for the guy on the far left.

The tiny blond one in the middle is Laurel Clark,  Global Edmonton Journalist extrodinaire. She and I heading to Monrovia, Liberia to mentor some Liberian journalists at Power TV.  This will be a little different for me as I'm usually in a foreign country as it is falling apart, not trying to recover.  Also having time to work on stories for Global National, with an eye to human rights.  It's a program put together with Journalists for Human Rights, ( and Shaw.   Three weeks in length with time for mentoring and time for filing.

Liberia has gone through its ups and downs, most recently trying to recover from a second civil war from 1999 to 2003 if you believe Wikipedia.  It has Africa's first female leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  She was returned to lead a second term in office in November of 2011.  But Liberia suffers from a laundry list of problems that most Sub Sahara nations face.   Clean water, unemployment, and corruption just to name a few.

The idea is that by helping local Liberian journalists improve their coverage of human rights some of this will change without creating dependancy.

The others in the photo, Christina Steven's (Sierra Leone), Sean O'Shea (Ghana), Robin Pierro JHR gifted communications Manager, International Program Coordinator, and the tiny, but experienced CBC reporter Nina Devries (she's off to do 7 or 8 months in Sierra Leone).

More to come in the lead up to departure which is May the 3rd.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The merry merry month of May

So ticket has been bought. Thanks to JHR. More info about what jhr is available here, . Leaving May the 3rd, for Toronto, then Brussels, then Monrovia. Before all that though will be 3 days in Toronto learning what I've got myself into with training by Journalsits for Human Rights.

May is the beginning of the rainy season, oh joy! looks like it rains every day in the afternoon or all day. Highs in the 3o's with humidity and lows of 24 and high humidity. The disease that you can choose from; Malaria, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Typhoid Fever, Cholera, Hepatitis, your usual parasites, Meningococcal Disease, Schistosomiasis, and Rabies. I've gotten the usual raft of jabs with the exception of Rabies. It was over $600. (Mental note, stay away from wild dogs.)

Some facts about Liberia; 4.1 Million people, 99, 067 sq km, English is the major language, 29 African languages, Major religion is Christianity followed by Islam and Indigenous beliefs, life expectancy for men is 56, women 59, main exports; diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa. Thanks to the BBC for that information.

Look for the next update around the time of my training. April 17th- April 20th.