This is the second in our series of interviews with Liberian bloggers from Ceasefire Liberia blog. Read the rest of the interviews here.

Today we are talking to Saki Tango Golafale, a student at the University of Liberia.

Where do you live and what do you do when you aren’t blogging?

I live in the Wood Camp community of Paynesville city where I have been for almost four years now.

When I am not blogging, I am involved with many things. I work in a chemistry lab at the University of Liberia, am involved with voluntary community actions that center around environmental protection, and in organizing programs for the chemistry association which I head at the University. I lead a small group of young people who are also sensitive to the environmental issues.

Since you have studied a lot, can you tell us something about how education is structured in Liberia? What is the school system like? Is it easy to go to university?

Education is the foundation on which all our social structures depend for nation building. The school system is still struggling from the destruction from the civil war, but hopes are high to get pre-war status. I would refer you to this site for more on the structure and system of education in Liberia.

Going to University in Liberia is getting competetive as more and more people are being encouraged to learn. There are two state run universities and five private universities and colleges. Fees are getting high and infrastructure and manpower capacities are major priorities of most universities.

You’re also a poet. What makes you write? Will you let us publish a bit of your poetry?

Writing, I think is a basic requirement to survival in this literate world, and this should be the business for every educated man. What a man writes is how he thinks or feels. If I think the world is small, I can reduce that into writing, usually poetic writing, telling someone why I think so.

For me, poetry reflects life’s realities. What I go through and how I feel are sometimes reduced into writing especially poetic writing. One of my poems, “Life’s Load” is an example of a real situation I believe every human being encounters. My most recent work titled, “My Poem”, is below:

My Poem

I like to write my poem at night
When quietness rules the world
And then I blend my ideas to fight
An attempt to encourage a word

I like to think before I write
When solitude rules my life
Awake I am with perfect sight
I continue in the strive

As I describe the mobile cloud
I read my poem out loud
With friendly tone
I tell the moon
How I feel so proud

I like to cook my poem with spice
To make it sweet for all
Like palm butter with country rice
My poem is a diet for all

Copyright ©2009 Saki Tango Golafale

Some of my other poems are published on Sea Breeze Liberia.

You moved to Sierra Leone in 1990 to escape the war in Liberia. How was that?

Yes I moved to Sierra Leone in 1990 to escape the civil war in Liberia, but adjusting to new and unfavorable conditions of life was very hard. I was eight years old then, and I was introduced to hard labor for survival. I worked in a diamond mine and also traded goods at some point in time. As a third grade student from Liberia, I could not attend school because I never got used to the learning environment. Life was unbearable as a refugee.

When Sierra Leone was invaded in early 1991, things only became worse as I lost my brother and my aunt in cross-fire. This was painful. My family and I had to come back to rebel held Liberia.

I recently visited Sierra Leone after 18 years and I saw life and peace. Here is a link to my post about the visit on ceasefire Liberia.

Are Liberians religious? What are the main religions?

Liberians are religious and since the war, in which religious institutions played a major role, religious institutions have increased their activities. There are a lot of churches and mosques these days. Christianity is in dominance while traditional beliefs and Islam follow. But Christianity and Islam are the most actively involved religions.

Check back on Friday for the next interview.

Read more:
Liberians changing their world, one story at a time
Interview with Nat Bayjay, manager of Ceasefire Liberia blog
Will the real Liberia please stand up? Ceasefire Liberia on Blogs of the World

About the author

Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.