She has headed the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) for the past nine years and has kept it peaceful and progressive and playing an active role in the political affairs of the country.
Now Madam Lusu Sloan, the LMA president, has a dream—to modernize its current headquarters at the Rally Time Market on United Nations Drive. Her aim is to create conference and entertainment facilities, and possibly beautify the face of the market building.
To fulfill this dream, she and her team have organized a nationwide queen contest to raise funds for the project. The government of Liberia, appreciative of the LMA’s stability and role in keeping Liberia peaceful, has donated the first L$100,000 toward the project. Internal Affairs Deputy Minister Varney Sirleaf presented the check to Madam Sloan earlier this week and highly commended Madam Sloan for her outstanding stewardship as LMA president.
The Rally Time Market was built with proceeds from the Rally Time fundraising campaign initiated by President William R. Tolbert Jr. in the early 1970s.
Does LMA already have a design for what it wants to do at Rally Time Market? How does it plan to reconstruct the inside of the building? And how will it look outside? Can LMA conceive of a resplendent new and beautiful external façade to the building that the general public will admire and appreciate? Or will it remain ordinary and mundane as it has always been?
The latter, we think, is out of the question. All Liberians hope that with the coming presidential elections, we are about to get a new Liberia, when we elect a new President that will take our country to a new level of greatness. Let this refurbished new LMA headquarters, too, be a reflection of this new Liberia we are all hoping for.
How will this be possible? We have one tangible suggestion: the LMA should select a young Liberian woman architect, a sister of all Liberia’s market women, to design the renewed headquarters. She is the daughter of another outstanding Liberian architect,
Winston Richards, co-founder of Milton and Richards, Liberia’s oldest private architectural and engineering firm, now run by Winston’s fellow co-founder, Aaron Milton.
The name of this architect we are nominating for this project is Mrs. Karen Richards Barnes, Winston’s daughter, who chose to follow in the professional footsteps of her father. She is currently involved in the architectural works at the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydro-Electric Plant.
We are sure that Karen can and will provide a creative design for the refurbishing of the LMA Headquarters and the beautifying of the façade of the Rally Time Market.
We hope that Lusu and her team can find a competent Liberian sculptor to create a sculpture of a dynamic Liberian market woman that will be placed in front of the building, or maybe somewhere inside, representing this great cadre of dynamic and resilient
Liberian women who, like the women who are key to the production of Liberia’s food, are also the ones who day and night, in sunshine and rain, on coal tar or in mud, on dry land or in water, bring the farm produce to the market to feed the Liberian nation.
There is one thing more that we urge the LMA to consider; and Lusu is challenged to make it happen before she retires. The LMA should establish the poultry industry in Liberia, in the same way the market women of Mozambique have done in their country.
These Mozambican market women now control the production and distribution of chickens and eggs in the country.
Lusu, you and your women can do it, and we challenge you to try. Remember the old Liberian saying: “You never try, you never know.”