Chef Morou, President Koroma Bring Monday Flavor

Sorry folks ... Dealing with a minor medical situation here. One of the kids is sick — got stung by bees, actually. Yikes. I'm trying to do what I need to do and get out of here.

One of the things we try to do here is bring you stories you're not getting everywhere, or to tell those stories in ways you don't always get to hear everywhere. Africa is a place that we try to showcase, in part, because we don't talk about Africa very often ... unless it's in the context of disaster.

This isn't to diminish any of the problems in Africa; but it is to say that it's also important to pay attention when people on the continent are trying to address them. That's why we were pleased to bring you our interview with Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of Sierra Leone. If you saw the movie Blood Diamond, or if you pay any attention to Africa news, then you know about the use of diamonds to fund the horrible civil war waged across Sierra Leone. Former Liberian Dictator Charles Taylor is set to begin trial for his role in stroking that conflict (we've discussed Taylor on the program, as well). But Koroma was elected as a change agent last month. It is VERY interesting to hear him talk about his vision for Sierra Leone; when is the last time you heard of that country descried as "heaven on earth"?

... And speaking of heaven, we end with a visit with up-and-coming restaurateur Morou Ouattara. Ouatarra is currently competing on the Food Network's The Next Iron Chef. We believe the taping is already completed, but we couldn't get him to tell us who the winner is. Chef Morou's story of how he came here from the Ivory Coast, learned the restaurant business and is now trying to introduce Americans to the flavors of his homeland is yet another story about diversity ... and change. A delicious one.

And in the middle of today's program, a very personal story about how one military man believes that constant deployments helped destroy his marriage. He is not some big expert and he doesn't have a fancy degree. But it's one man's story that's worth hearing. Listen, and tell us what you think.

Now, I gotta go put the mommy hat on ...

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Dear, Michel Martin & "Tell Me More", thank you for the outstanding interview with the new president of Sierra Leone's, Ernest Bai Koroma. Your interview with the new president was insightful, & underlined, the Hope that he see's & feels for his country.I wish him & his country, Sierra Leone, nothing but the best, for the coming years !

Also, your interview with Chef Morou Outtara, was a delight to hear. I love the way you can bring out humor, & joy in your guest, that seems to leap across the airways into one's home.You are truly at the top of your game, as one of the Best on NPR, sincerely Robert H.

Sent by Robert H. | 1:56 AM | 10-16-2007

Michel,

I found your interview with Percell Artis Jr. interesting. You definitely prodded and tried to get personal details but did so in a respectful way. That took skill and courage. Even though he has apparently shared a lot through his book, it seemed like a different thing to speak about it out loud.

What are your thoughts about the interview? What was going through your mind when you asked some of those really personal questions?

Sent by Steve Petersen | 1:57 PM | 10-16-2007

Michel & TMM,

I've got a confession to make - I'm very cynical when it comes to the media reporting on issues concerning Africa. In past times, I've had to brace myself for yet another doom and gloom reporting regarding the continent and only on rare occassions have I seen or heard a different take; a ray of hope so to speak.

Your interview with Sierra Leone's new President Ernest Bai Koroma was one of those rare occassions and dare I say it was "fair and balanced."

So thank you very much for highlighting something different and also, thumbs up for the Chef Morou's story.

Sent by Moji | 9:29 AM | 10-17-2007

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