Hungry to vote

Mark stands on the Gabriel Johnson Tucker Bridge that marked the divide between government forces on one side and rebels on the other.

“Mark,” my cab driver around town Saturday, didn’t hesitate when I asked him who would get his vote for president in October or November.

“Ellen,” he said, as President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson is called.

Mark then produced a shiny card from his ash try — his voter registration card. He said he was going out of his way to keep it clean, because the sooner he used it, the better. Indeed, when the vote will be held is in some doubt. A referendum will determine if the vote should be pushed from October to November, when the rainy season will wind down and voter turnout presumably would improve.

Fifteen years ago, Mark moved from a close-in neighborhood to Divine, further outside Monrovia, where he lives now. He was escaping the war. He was safer from the RPGs being launched up and down Tubman Boulevard, but he was hungry and felt he might starve on his diet of a third of a cup of rice a day.

He said his war-ravaged friends filtered in looking for a hand, and he helped with shelter, “but not with food.” There just wasn’t any.

Today Mark is hungry to vote.

About Steve Davis

I am an associate professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.