Living in Darkness, but Holding On to Hope in Liberia

By HELENE COOPERFEB

A shop in Sayon Town, where children can buy snacks. A single light bulb there is powered by a generator. Credit Jim Tuttle for The New York Times
A shop in Sayon Town, where children can buy snacks. A single light bulb there is powered by a generator. Credit Jim Tuttle for The New York Times

SAYON TOWN, Liberia — For the first time in 26 years, the electricity came on in Hayes Lewis’s modest house in this cluttered Monrovia suburb.

The very next day, Mr. Lewis went out and purchased a television set, a fan and a single light bulb. The purchases cost him $250 — about a quarter of a year’s income for the 62-year-old jack-of-all-trades.

But it was money Mr. Lewis had been longing to spend. He remembers the time back in 1990 when the warlord Prince Johnson’s forces took over the area and fighting destroyed the nearby Mount Coffee hydroelectric plant, cutting off electricity — or, as Liberians call it, “current.”

“To have current, tha’ not small thing,” he said in Liberian English, motioning proudly at the light bulb in his bedroom.

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SOURCE: News Now/ New York Times Online

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About Cholo Brooks 13201 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.