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   xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Mar 25 01:10 AM

Mar 25, 2009: Blackboard Blogger

I found this a couple weeks ago but didn't get around to posting it,
but now it's starting to show up on a couple blogs so I better get it up.

Liberia's Blackboard Blogger has been spreading the Liberian and international news to what he estimates as 10,000 people a day.
Well big deal, you say? that's not many in the internet age, you say?

But but but, Alfred Sirleaf doesn't use a computer, just a cell phone and a blackboard.
It's an analog blog and many of the people he reaches are illiterate.

For those who cannot read, Mr. Sirleaf has devised an ingenious system of symbols that transmit and sometimes subtly editorialize on the news. With the electricity story, hanging from the eaves of the newsstand on one corner was a kerosene lamp, next to an unlighted fluorescent bulb; on the other corner, there was a bag of drinking water, the kind young children sell to passers-by on the streets.

He said he used symbols to inform Liberians who never learned to read “so they will be able to follow along with those who have education know-how.”
This guy has been working hard at this for years, in the capitol city of Monrovia, which hasn't had electricity for 14 years.

Every morning Mr. Sirleaf buys half a dozen newspapers and scours them for the most important developments. If they involve the United Nations peacekeeping force, for example, Mr. Sirleaf hangs up a blue helmet, the ubiquitous headgear for those forces everywhere. A chrome hubcap is the symbol for the president, who is called the “iron lady” of Liberian politics.
Oh, he sells ad space too.


New York Times (2006)

SPUCK  Wednesday Mar 25 05:29 AM

Pretty cool!

Some serious dedication.

DanaC  Wednesday Mar 25 06:45 AM

What a fascinating and impressive guy.

sweetwater  Wednesday Mar 25 07:53 AM

That's wonderful! I hope enough people follow his example in other areas that "sirleafing" becomes a new verb.

ZenGum  Wednesday Mar 25 07:58 AM

Guy deserves a knighthood.

capnhowdy  Wednesday Mar 25 08:04 AM

And if you're not getting any hits you can always break out the fingernails.

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Mar 25 09:32 AM

Originally Posted by sweetwater View Post
That's wonderful! I hope enough people follow his example in other areas that "sirleafing" becomes a new verb.
Sirleaf is also the name of the woman who is currently the president of Liberia, the "Iron Lady".
On July 25, the day before Liberia’s Independence Day, he wrote in bold letters above the day’s story: “CAMPAIGN TRUST BETRAY?” The story dealt with the promise made by Liberia’s new president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, perhaps a distant relative of his, to provide electrical power to at least part of the city by Independence Day and to restore at least part of the water system that was destroyed in the war.

Coign  Wednesday Mar 25 11:18 AM

It is going to be tough to DOS attack that blog. Maybe if we all bought plane tickets and flooded his street corner so no one could get close enough to read it?

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Mar 25 02:26 PM

Oh Noes!

xoxoxoBruce  Monday Mar 30 01:34 AM

Here's another picture that shows the type of news he's posting.

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