An Interesting Liberian

This blog was written by Tod Whitwer, a friend of ours who is partnering with Spirit Liberia. He is helping with strategic development and also will be running the Marathon with Greg. On that note, I would like to request prayer for Greg. He was training yesterday and pulled a muscle in his calf. His is limping around and we are concerned that he will not be healed up in time for the Marathon, which is on January 18.

Here is a brief insight into an interesting person in Liberia. Thanks Tod!

Your first impression of Kofi is his eyes as they relentlessly jump from place to place only briefly stopping to gaze into yours. He has a nervous countenance, seemingly lacking confidence, almost timid. He is very short and almost everybody towers over him. Yet, he is very engaging and you are drawn to him as if you suspect there is a deeper story to his life.

Like many people, your first impression of Kofi (pronounced “kō-fee”) is probably wrong, as this diminutive man is better known in Liberia as General Kofi. He was one of the most feared fighters during the long civil wars in Liberia and he fiercely defended his people and remote rain forest from outside invaders. While he was not willing to aggressively pursue the war outside the boundaries of Grand Bassa and River Cess Counties, he was ruthless in repelling anybody who entered into his peoples’ lands. Reputedly, even Charles Taylor feared General Kofi and it was partially through capturing Kofi that Taylor eventually won the war.

Kofi does not brag about his role in the civil war, nor does he shrink from it. He matter-of-factly states that he did what he needed to do to protect his people from the war that they did not want to have anything to do with. Simple as that.

And now that the war is over and the country is ravaged, he lures you into listening to him, almost as if you are in a spell, as he talks about what needs to be done for his people and country. His eyes drill into you and he speaks excitedly about opportunity and education. But his call to action does not come from a prospective of entitlement, but from the basis that his people must look for ways to improve themselves through their own actions and by taking advantage of their abundant resources. Not as individuals, but collectively in their villages, tribes, and single united country.

He is very passionate and it is very easy to see why he is respected and loved. You sense that he is going to be one of the reasons that Liberia escapes its long, dark nightmare of civil war even though he was one of those who contributed to it.

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