Thursday, 26 August 2010
Liberia - the story so far
So I have been here a few days now, working with an NGO to help build communications capacity in the President's office. It has been interesting and challenging work. I have been talking to lots of people, drafting protocols, writing strategies and running workshops. I am loving it. What is always wonderful about working in a different country is discovering unexpected cultural differences. One of the team here (she is British) was talking to a Liberian colleague about prioritising issues. She started talking about instituting a traffic light system, with each issue given a red, amber or green flag dependent on their urgency. She started to grow slightly alarmed by the blank look on her colleague's face. How was this a difficult concept to grasp? She tried to explain again. More blank looks and then it dawned on her - they don't have traffic lights in Liberia. A concept that we use in the UK all the time makes absolutely no sense here. It does make you wonder how much else we take for granted when we speak. In a country where they don't play cricket, would they necessarily know what I mean when I talk about getting on the front foot? It reminds me of the look on by American friend's face when driving down a highway in the US, I commented on the trees that had been planted on the central reservation . . .