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Knock, knock! Nobody is Home

During the slave trade when European slave traders burst on the African continent, they took the strong and the skilled leaving behind the children, weak, aged and vulnerable. There was no one left home to do all the hard work: till the soil, craft all the tools needed and explore far beyond their scope. Historians and other thinkers agreed that that was one major way Europe underdeveloped Africa.

In Bible days, when the pastors (Levites) whose role it was to solely do God’s work could not be well compensated or compensated at all for their services, they abandoned their preaching jobs and went into other vocations and professions. Because they had left, there was no body home to do the work the Levites were trained and appointed to do.

For various reasons, it seems that this nobody’s home situation has emerged in Liberia ever since the war which destroyed the country ended. Many people have fled Liberia and are yet to return and contribute their expertise to the rebuilding of the bruised nation. The way many have referred to this phenomena is brain drain. In a documentary “Liberia: An Uncivil War” journalist and producer Zubin Cooper, when interviewed alluded to the “nobody’s home” situation which in his belief was one key reason why the country kept spiraling back into violence. With his gaze lowered to the ground, he lamented “the best and the brightest have gone.” He believed that had everyone remained in Liberia, the war makers would not have the wherewithal to kill everyone and would therefore stop fighting. I thought there was some truth to Mr. Cooper’s assertion because normally when no one is home, that is the time the bad guys can rob, plunder, ransack and do all the lunatic things.

With the war over, many of those best and brightest Mr. Cooper moaned about have returned although a sizable number has still remained in refugee camps, America and other places. But a new situation has surfaced. Many have left the areas they were trained or have experience and have transitioned to other places of work which seem attractive for the moment leaving behind the improvised, inexperienced, and sometimes unprepared. To many of the experienced involved in this mass movement, it is unsatisfying if not demeaning to still do what they once did in pre-war Liberia. As a consequence, many have made some wild moves. For example, pre-war ministers want to be president now, high school teachers want to teach universities now, football players want to be sport ministers or national coaches; “normal days” news reporters think they are too big to read news or write stories anymore. They would prefer to be professors of Mass Communication instead. Veteran teachers, doctors, journalists and pastors... have left their professions for political offices where the grass seems greener and as we say “when the qualified are unavailable, the available becomes qualified.”

I am not against people moving up higher in pursuit of their life goals or being retrained for better opportunities. I am all for vertical mobility, but when those movements do not go along with requisite trainings and experience, there is often a man/woman power gap that gets wider by the day. Regrettably, one can no longer find go-to persons so easily when the trained agriculturist, for instance is now a police officer, the only brain surgeon is now a senator, the novelist and playwright has just tossed away her pen and notebook to become a sidewalk evangelist and the one whose role it is to call for prayers is now a con artist on a BM (black money) spree just to make ends meet.

So now, when one tries to find those who know the stuff, competent and and well versed, no body is home. Many of the qualified and experienced are either in some other countries or in entirely different fields where they can get plenty of everything to replenish what the locusts have eaten. Too bad, there is nobody home.
Knock, knock... nobody's home.

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