A prophecy was made of a little girl born in Liberia. A West African country just slightly larger than the state of Ohio. The prophecy was;
“This child will be great. This child is going to lead.”
That child rose to occupy the highest of offices. That child became the president! That child also received one of the highest honors ever – The Nobel Peace Prize.
This is the story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The story of a woman who rose from being a secretary to being the first woman appointed as Liberia’s Minister of Finance. A woman who rose from being an assistant accountant to the lofty offices of the World Bank. A woman who rose from sweeping floors in the U.S. for a few coins to the immaculate towers of the United Nations. A woman who rose from trials and tribulation to be elected as the first Head of State of an African country.
She tells her story accurately, truthfully and reflectively. She recalls her upbringing in Monrovia. A large village by the sea, as she calls it. Starkly different from the Monrovia that exists now. No public transportation system, telephones and very few cars. How she almost died after falling into a pit latrine. She recalls how as a child she was teased for being too light-skinned. How she went prayed to God to wake up darker.
She is brutally honest about her relationship with her then husband. Married at the tender age of 17 to a physically and verbally abusive man with a possessive streak. A streak so possessive that she had to consciously keep herself from smiling at anyone lest she sets his temper off. A temper so volatile that on two occasions he put a gun to her head! Moreover, he had a drinking problem and a roving eye.
President Sirleaf tells of the guilt that consumed her owing to the considerable amounts of time she spent away from her children. The fear that drove her into exile. The pain and humiliation she endured when she was detained, charged with sedition and put on trial before a military tribunal. The pride and above all, the challenge of being President.
Don’t you just love it when it all comes full circle!
This memoir is the story of an African woman who beat the odds. It is the story of passion, pain, despair, dedication, losses and triumph.
This is the story of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.