Exclusive – Samuel Valcarcel Interview
Celebrated Sierra Leonean broadcaster Samuel Valcarcel for the first time opens his heart to Salone Jamboree on many issues including the sweetheart of his life, his unborn baby, his coming wedding and why he decided to mend many broken relationships in his ‘Merry Go Round’ radio program. Â (Photo: Val poses for a snap shot in front of the US Capitol building)
Salone Jamboree (SJ): Val…First of all Happy New Year.
Samuel Valcarcel (SV): Same to you.
Please share with us your New Year resolution, if any?
I keep telling people we are all happy in the New Year. 2010 is here and it is the year too many people have been looking forward to. For the first time they can say 2010 and not two thousand and something.
What’s the most memorable moment in 2009 if you could recall?
I don’t know…but I remembered celebrating my birthday for the first time in my adult life. Many people were around, 10 to 20 of them, and interestingly I used the birthday to announce my engagement to my long time girlfriend.
We will definitely come to your engagement but please predict for us. What would be the most remarkable moment for you this year?
2010 would be a very remarkable year for me because I’m expecting a child and I’m going to be married. I see 2010 to be a year to remember throughout my life.
Wow…this is perhaps the biggest revelation for me this year. Why have you decided to retire from the bachelors club at a time like this?
I’m losing my bachelor’s degree and I am looking forward to the next one.
So who is she?
She’s Hardy…She has always been my girlfriend. Those who actually know me know my better half.
She must be very lucky to have you as her husband. You don’t think so?
I must be very lucky too to have somebody like her.Â She’s not just beauty, she got brains too; she’s very witty and she knows how to cope with somebody who is well known, somebody who is always flooded by people. She knows how to cope with my demands and everything. Honestly, you don’t meet such women everyday; you don’t meet such cool and calculated person every day.Â Many of the girls nowadays are quite demanding for time, for money and everything. She’s none of these.
Well, many girls would say she’s very lucky to have you. Others might wish to have celebrities like you as their husband. What do you think?
Celebrated people in Sierra Leone are not that plenty. It is understandable considering the size of the country or else every other person would be a celebrity if you want the celebrity to be as many as those in the UK and USA. We are not in a very big country but the number is commensurate to the populace. It is one thing listening to me and it is another thing staying with me. I have heard telephone calls from people telling me that I like the way you sound on radio…oh I like the way you speak English, oh I like the way you walk and talk but that’s the way they see things. It’s the faÃ§ade of me but living with me could be something else. It could be a dream come true, it could be life in paradise, it could be hellish too or it could be a nightmare. So if there is somebody who is ready to take all that talking about temperament, my demands or whether I am always there for you or whether am always attending parties or clubbing or just walking. There are many things I have involved in myself but there is always that smiling woman who is ready to put up with all that knowing that “I said I loved him from the beginning and I am always going to say it”.
You’ve settled several dozens of broken relationship in your ‘Merry Go Round’ program at the United Nations radio over the last couple years. What inspired you to take up that job?
I have seen relationships fall, I have seen relationships fallen for little things, I have seen people failing to understand each other. After the end of the Sierra Leone war there were many problems with relationships. There were people who have been captured and taking to the bush and there were also those who have left their boyfriends to settle with Nigerian ECOMOG soldiers. At the end of the war, the Nigerians left whiles those former combatants went through the Disarmament and Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program. There were many women looking around asking people to speak to their husbands and boyfriends. Whilst everyone was concentrating on the DDR one particular area was left hanging on threads of uncertainty. The area of broken homes and relationship were not been countenanced. We initiated the program with my then supervisor Sheila Dallas where people will be able to call in and explain what their problems are and find solutions to them. In just weeks of ‘Merry Go Round’ , the program took the country by surprise and some eight years later it could not stop but then people still fall in love at 80 or 90 so it does tell you if you are always been the one falling in love you don’t fall out of love, you only fall in again. Love keeps the heart and the mind young so when it comes to love issues age doesn’t matter.
What’s your love life like over the years? Have you been a victim yourself?
I’ve always been a victor rather than a victim. I have girls following me flooding my street. The choice has always been mine. When you talk about victims what come into mind are people not appreciating you. I still have few things in my mind like mothers who thought I could be very dangerous for their girls because of the height of my fame. Some mothers were saying that “that could not be a very good guy for you”. My own personal love life has been great. The girlfriend I have that will soon transform into my wife has been around for nine years. She came into my life even before ‘Merry Go Round’ started and nobody has been able to successfully destroy that relationship that I have been building over the years.
I remember listening to one of your ‘Merry Go Round’ program.Â A girl openly admitted that she has fallen for you. How do you handle girls like that?
She was just one; they do it privately a lot. People go out pretend to be formal, get my number called and try to hook up. There should be the other side of you. You are nice but at times I say am a nice guy but am not ready for this. They come around and they’ll always come even when they don’t know who I am. I’ve met few people who don’t know who I am actually maybe my eyes communicating wrongly and they think I have another interest. It’s always been me standing firm.
So how do you intend to be a very good husband?
I am going to be a very good husband. I’ve been a good boyfriend, a good lover. I have left my girl several times going in and out of the country and she’s always been faithful.
What’s the most memorable moment in your ‘Merry Go Round’?
Several…hmmm I still can remember this lady you spoke about just now. After years of doing ‘Merry Go Round’ I became stupefied at a point, tongue tied when I couldn’t adequately respond to this woman who had taken me on a jolly ride about this guy that she really wanted; only that this guy was me. I started searching for words and the good thing is that it was three minutes to the end of the program.
So what happen next?
Well…I told her that am taken, am somebody else’ and I remain taken.
What’s the good thing about being a presenter for ‘Merry Go Round’ and a broadcast journalist in particular?
Broadcasting is a good thing; it’s the best profession to me. It’s quite fantastic. I remember when I decided to leave the SLBS for UN radio. People questioned why I was leaving a place where they were seeing me to a place where they would just hear me and to a radio many people didn’t tune to by then. It dampened my spirit a little but I’ve learnt that whatever you have chosen to do just do it well. It did not take long for UN radio, or radio UNAMSIL then, to be a widely listening radio. You might not be the richest person but you will likely dine with Kings, Queens or Princesses, Prime Ministers or Presidents. As a broadcaster the sky is the limit.
Talk us through your journey into journalism after you graduated from college?
I started working here (UN radio) before graduating from college. I hold a BA Hons in Political Science and M A in Peace and Development Studies. Sometimes people say why not enter the business service or work for some other company or go to big time broadcasters like CNN or BBC.Â It’s romantic to think about but am here doing something for my country. I do ask myself what’s job satisfaction is all about; you are in it, you’re not starving and people are appreciating. The only time I left UN radio was to work in Afghanistan at the United Nations Office for Project Service. I was in Helmand Province, Kanderher region, one of the deadliest areas in that country. I worked there close to six months well and fit. The British Prince Harry worked there too. I came back to UN radio here and I got promoted.
You said you hold a BA Hons in Political Science. Do you intend to go into politics some day?
I love Sierra Leone and I am eager to see this country transform into a Western country. If I can play a role transforming my country into one of those countries, why not?
So who is the best personality you have enjoyed interviewing in your ‘Tea Break’ program?
I think I love interviewing Francis Kai Kai. He used to be head of DDR; he is a very good interview partner. I B Kargbo has always been eloquent on ‘Tea Break’; he knows the issues very well from the days when he was President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists. Peter Anderson of the Special Court for Sierra Leone who I think is evasive he will use another route to answer your question for fearing to implicate himself. I also enjoyed interviewing the last Prosecutor of the Special Court who will close his eyes and begins to tell you a long story.
Tell us what we don’t know about Samuel Valcarcel?
I am very down to earth and most of my friends are poor people. I love to see people develop. I’ve heard stories about myself; cocky, proud but that’s not the truth. I am always willing to talk to people whether you are blind.
The UN radio will soon transform itself to the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation. Where lies your future?
Whatever comes my way… If there is an opening am qualified for I will apply. Or if it’s time to say you have served the UN well and good but try your hands further afield, that’s it.
SaloneJamboree wishes you a very happy marriage life and thanks for the interview.Courtesy of www.salonejamboree.com
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