“Liberia presented more opportunities for growth then the
U.S., Jefyne Bates explained the reason she left the United States forthe West African Country.
“I was tired of corporate America.” Bates, who had worked
in the U.S. banking industry, found climbing the corporate ladder(in America) to be a daunting task. Liberia, she says, offered moreroom to grow professionally.
Bates was born in America’s mid‐west to Liberian parents. Growing up, she says that she did not learn much about the countryher parents referred to as home. According to Bates, her parentsdid not talk much about the country until she was much older. She no idea what it was like. Bates, like many young people raised by Liberian parents in the America (after 1990) knew little about the country except that it was plagued by brutal civil wars and unrest for over a decade. Around age six‐teen, she visited Liberia for the first time. For Bates, the trip was very educational. According to her, Liberia appeared to be “a place that was more or less (the) survival of the fittest.” She says that the country had many opportunities. However, they were not easy to come across. One had to be able to navigate around various obstacles in order to reach or find them. But opportunities were there.
“It was my first time traveling outside of the U.S. Going to a developing country..., I was nervous.”
Twenty-two year old Asalou Givens recalls her feelings about her first visit to the country her parents call home. She remembers being very anxious about the trip; unsure about what she would see and eat and where she would stay. Givens, at the time, was a high school junior. She had heard many stories about Liberia. The ones that resonated with her the most were those of a bloody civil war and unrest that devastated the country for over a decade. Like many young Liberians born in the United States (because of the war and other political issues), Givens had never traveled to Liberia. Her mother’s family had left the country in the early eighties because of political persecution. They found refuge in the United States. Her (Givens) father had also relocated to the U.S. in the mid eighties. Her parents met while studying in Washington D.C.
“I have been waiting for this day since 2006,” the young Liberian native said with a smile. While visiting Liberia for his father’s funeral, Sam Burnett III realized that he had to move back home. The
country had been devastated by years of fighting and unrest due to a civil war that began in 1989. It had suffered physical and emotional losses. At the time, the young Liberian was unsure of exactly how the move would happen; but he was quite sure that it would. So when the opportunity came knocking for his dream to become a reality, Burnett could not resist.
It had been sixteen years. The then twenty something
the country in late 1989. The country had been badly
battered. Buildings lay in ruins. Bullet holes lined the walls of
many buildings. Poverty ruled the city streets. But Shoana
Clarke Solomon saw something quite the contrary. “This
country is so beautiful,” is all she could think of her native
land, Liberia. Despite the evident devastation the country had suffered and the apparent struggles that still plagued it, the young Liberian was glad to be home.