LIBERIAN RAIN A West African Chronicle July 15-30, 2023 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

A West African Chronicle July 15-30, 2023

While I have not yet quit this Day Job, 45 years of lawyering to date, the pay from African after-hours labors has been more than its equal. To wit:  My Pro-Bono Life: Purpose is Prime: Why West Africa? Why Literacy? (February 20, 2023);  and A Greater Shade, Liberian Literacy, On The Ground (March 30, 2023).  And so, once more …
It is now 2:00 a.m. on a Monday (July 17), Jay and I splashing over the rain-cratered Robertsfield – Monrovia highway.  It has been a 30-plus hour procession of vans, mega-baggage hauling, security gauntlets, late and missed flights, hasty plan Bs, gate waiting, blessed aisle seats, and at last back to ground, headed west. Out there in the full blackness are the small settlements, the stick-and-thatch, dirt floor dwellings hopefully holding off the deluge.No one should be out at this hour but here are several nonetheless, in twos and threes on foot, abruptly illuminated below the knees through the drizzle. Headed … where?

Then, 40 miles on, is my accustomed enclave: RLJ Kendeja beach resort hotel, back in town, tucking in at 3:25. There are two Liberian seasons: dry and rainy. July is the latter, thus these regular Old Testament cascades that roar in terror off tin roofs. Yet, for those of us underneath, dry and familiar, a comfort.

I am again sufficiently conscious by Tuesday mid-day for an hour-plus welcome-back update with Jay over sinus-piercing pepper wings. He kicks things off with an intro – more like down the rabbit hole – to the alternative cosmos of AI writing tools.

On a for-free application, we plug in “summary of and goals for the Applied Scholastics African Literacy Campaign,” pressing “generate” for a 500-word essay in “college essay” style. Before I can place another chicken bit between my fingers, the screen announces, in part:

“… an initiative aimed at addressing the issue of illiteracy in various African countries. The campaign is designed to provide individuals, particularly children and adults, with the necessary tools and resources to develop their reading and writing skills …

“In conclusion, the [campaign] is dedicated to addressing the issue of illiteracy in Africa. Through effective educational programs, partnerships, innovative teaching methods, and awareness-raising efforts, the campaign strives to improve literacy rates and empower individuals to become active participants in their communities.”

OK, that’s not a little redundant and, if I may ask, are there other individuals around besides “children and adults”? Yet, capturing our essence in way less than a minute? The dizzy speed-of-light is surreal enough. To the walking pace universe just beyond the hotel’s security gate — what the supposedly civilized West piously points to as the developing world – AI must seem a hallucination.

We have never pretended this task might be viewed as foolish or fruitless by some.  Thank goodness we don’t have to ask those people for permission. Folks, despite the angle of climb, what’s the wrong thing to do?  Answer: nothing.  And not for nothing have our contributors again trusted us to fulfill the prime pre-requisite: show up.

And so, here we are again, present and ready to roll. Onward.

Tim Bowles
Paynesville, Liberia
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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