Monday, February 10, 2014

The other Monrovias

Driving across the US for the holidays, I happened to pass a small town in central Indiana: Monrovia. More than 5,000 miles across the planet from the capital of Liberia, my journey to my brother's house happens to bring me to the exit of this little spot outside of Indianapolis.

It's not the only, nor the largest, Monrovia in the United States, of course. That would be Monrovia, California, a city of about 35,000 in Los Angeles county. It was named for an early California rancher/railroad real estate speculator named Monroe, and it especially prominent because it is home to several well-known companies such as Naked Juice drinks company and the corporate headquarters of the  beloved health food grocery store chain Trader Joe’s. There's also a Monrovia in Maryland, close to one of the main concentrations of Liberians in the diaspora around suburban Washington, but its not officially incorporated.

I just image little school kids in these towns' public schools, learning about the namesake capital city in a sweltering equatorial country in far-off Africa.

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