Op-ed 

Conversation with Rev. Dr. Paulina Cole-Hardy

Rev. Dr. Paulina Cole-Hardy

Liberian Listener: For those who don’t know you, who will you say you are to them?

Paulina Cole-Hardy: I wear many hats, l am Rev. Dr Paulina Cole-Hardy, a speaker,
spiritual counselor, influencer, mentor, entrepreneur, a cook, wife, mother, and a
grandmother.

LL: You are a writer, a Pastor, you have a YouTube cooking channel through which you
share your cooking experience. That’s too much for one person. Where do you get the
energies for all of that?

PC: I have developed a healthy eating and resting habit over the years that guides my
energy. I am intentional about what my daily activities consist of. l stay focused on the task
by itemization and prioritization. This way l am able to meet my daily goals effectively.

LL: As a published author, what do you write about?

PC: My writing is sometimes direct and generalized. I mainly write inspirational books and
about special moments in my life ( memoir)

LL: We live in the multicultural world. How do you relate to people who do not share
your religious faith?

PC: I have an awesome relationship with people who do not share my religious belief. l
respect them and what their beliefs are and they do the same. Inasmuch as our beliefs are
different, there are other things we can agree on to benefit our both communities and still
maintain the respect with each other.

LL: Is it possible for people of different faiths to develop and maintain cordial
relationship?

PC: Absolutely, my answer to the previous question covers a part of this question.
Respecting others for what they believe and getting to know them by inviting  them into my
space makes it easier to maintain a cordial relationship.

LL: You were recently awarded PhD. Is that an honorary or academic degree?

PC: Yes, it’s an honorary doctorate degree in divinity, from the Cypress Bible College in
Taxis.

LL: We all are living outside of our original homeland, though we may as well consider
America our home. What do you make of the duality of consciousness about home here as
well as in Liberia?

PC: This is an opportunity in twofold; this makes it kind of great. I often try to make some
comparison with both countries, but it becomes difficult to do so. l am aware and also being
made aware on a constant basis  that l do not belong here and because of the stigmatization
l feel l will never be fully accepted, l am limited to what l can do and cannot do. This fact
makes me wonder about this home, USA. Nonetheless, l am very conscious of the fact that
l have a home where l am most comfortable and accepted for who l am and what l look like
( FREEDOM). I am not limited to what l can become and the freedom to be me without
looking over my shoulders all the time.

NNK: As a pastor of a church, do you currently have any project in Liberia?
PC: I am currently revamping my nonprofit organization established in Liberia in 2014. We
made some progress but many challenges still remain. The organization has previously
educated two young ladies. One through high school and now about to enroll at the
University of Liberia and the other was assisted with tuition for two years while attending
the teacher college. The organization made donations to several schools and maternity
clinics, held Christmas parties for different communities over the years. I am also in the
process of establishing the first of many brunches of my Women Ministry (R.E.A.L.
Women Ministry)  in Liberia. The establishment of this ministry will provide women the
opportunity to train and serve in their communities as mentors and coaches.

NNK: Sometimes ago, you posted about growing up with much interest in being a
mechanic. Did you follow up with that as a career or you have to pursue different career?
PC: I actually graduated with a diploma in automotive mechanic from BWI, Booker
Washington Institute in Kakata. Upon my arrival in the USA l continue on that career path.
l attended the Lincoln Technical Institute and completed the advance program in diesel
mechanics. Upon graduation, l sat for my first interview at a well know company. l was
offered the job and given a start date. I showed up to the job on the first day just to be told
they couldn't keep me on the job due to the fear of sexual harassment complaints. They
would rather let me go to avoid losing their seasoned mechanics. I felt discriminated
against.  l heard similar statements from other companies. I then got frustrated and decided
to further my studies at the end of which I obtained my MBA.

NNK: You are a married woman. You care to say few words about your family and how do
you maintain the balance between family and all the things you are doing?

PC: I am happily married to my handsome husband Sam. We are now empty nesters so we
make the best of our time working and doing what we love. We travel every now and then
to see our kids and grandkids. The grandkids come over during the summer and we have
the best time of our lives having them around. Always sad when they have to leave.

LL: There are many who are disillusioned about religion, either because of hate, violence
or cockishness of some religious leaders and their followers. What can you tell such people
about religions?

PC: I believe religious leaders are responsible for instilling values and instituting behaviors
that are driven by respect and dignity for all life. They are also a channel of communication
for social change and transformation. But if they are indulging into violence, hate and
cockishness, then they are no better than those partaking in lawlessness, and are no more
considered leaders because of their involvement in the opposite to what they are to be
representing. They will have no voice at that point until they repent from such behavior.

NNK: It is said that we Africans are the most religion people but at the same time the most
suffering people. What are we doing wrong?

PC: While I also believe we are the most religious people, yet the most suffering people,
this could be due to the brainwashing that has gone on for so long by the westerners.
Example: Africans were told that being is Godly, but in Psalm 24:1 the Bible states "The
earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.
If God owns everything, then why me, an African, one of his children have to appear and
remain poor? You don't see a rich man’s child in rags. They told us to have faith and trust
but left out the works part. James 2:20- Faith without works is dead. You can have all the
faith if works (action) is not a part of your faith, it is incomplete and that’s a recipe for
stagnation. Faith must be followed by ACTION

Thanks again for this opportunity. I am very appreciative of your kind gesture.

About the author: This interview was conducted by Nvasekie Konneh, Arts and Culture Editor of the Liberian Listener.

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