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Typing Pastor in Liberia Helps Idle Youth

A pastor in Liberia who is also a street side professional typist has decided to teach idle youths for free how to type. William Saydee says it is the best he can do to help in his war-ravaged country's slow reconstruction. VOA's Nico Colombant has the latest installment in our series: Making a Difference.

In a run-down building in Monrovia, the sound of typing mixes with traffic.

Pastor and former accountant William Saydee has set up his shop here, as a professional typist and teacher. "As you can see, our country, we are rebuilding," Saydee said. "Investors are not coming. It is a national reconciliation and reconstruction process. So I feel that I should be part of it. Before the government can find a way and things will be all right, I can do something to live, and help others to live."

One of his best students is his own son. The two of them are the fastest typists on this block.

Former night guard Isaiah Thomas, 33, is slower but says he is learning. "It is a little difficult because the typewriter is not fresh," Thomas said. "It is an old typewriter. So when we are doing it, it gives a problem a little bit. But if you are willing to learn to the best of your ability, you have to do it, because you can achieve something tomorrow, for the benefit of your life."

Thomas says he wants to become a secretary for an international company.

Saydee makes money by typing out contracts and resumes for passersby.

"Whatever little thing I get for the day is enough. I thank God for it," Saydee said. "And looking at our brothers too, wanting to do something for themselves but they do not have the skill. I have the initiative to give back to them on a free of charge basis. I do not charge them any money because they do not have any."

Saydee says his life has taken many twists and turns but that his faith carries him. He says decency and helping others, even in very difficult conditions, is what he can do.