Kevin in Liberia

Its Purpose: to raise awareness of current social, political, ethical, and spiritual issues within a relief and development context in Liberia. Its effectiveness is simple: It relies on me, the author, to provide insightful, and often debate-sparking material that will encourage you, the reader to get engaged through comment contributions, emails, and promoting others to read, re-think, and respond to the important issues discussed.

I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom. ~ a prayer by Blaise Pascal

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Latest...

Its been a really long time since I’ve posted anything on the blog so I thought you guys would probably enjoy hearing what is new in Liberia. Jonathan left here a week ago exactly and the work situation seems very “interesting” to say the least. There is a lot of pressure from all angles and its going to take a lot of getting used to that’s for sure. Some days are just brutal and others not so brutal. There seems to be so many things to do and so little help from the local staff. It seems, and only SEEMS, like in order to actually get things done I just end up doing everything myself. Its going to be a battle to get the accounting dept. on track but we’ll see what happens as time progresses. There are two final financial reports that are due and sitting nice and fat on my plate for next week and they’re almost complete so it will hopefully only take a couple good solid days to finish up the financial part of those two reports, not to speak of the narrative section which I think I’ll play less of a role on but who knows, I may end up doing those too. We’ll just have to see. Another big thing on my plate is training the national staff on using QuickBooks. That should be an adventure and a half for sure.

About a month ago or so I swore that I’d never ride motorcycle at in Monrovia at night ever again but you can throw that idea out the window. I’ve driven home in the dark on motorcycle for the past three nights. Tonight I was a little lucky I didn’t get into an accident. I was driving on Tubman Blvd. (aka the main highway) and with all the oncoming headlights (and the fact that Liberians have no clue how to properly use their high beams) I just couldn’t see a thing. So to make a short story even shorter I nailed a pothole and got the rear end out a bit. Tonight I plan to leave at a reasonable hour so I can get home before dark. Tonight I have a date with Samaritan's Purse to watch some Michael Palin Around the World in 80 Days videos so that should provide some funtimes.

A few days ago I went to check out the local football stadium with Sarah from Samaritan's Purse. We wandered around this stadium for about an hour breaking into the club seating section, climbing in behind the scoreboard, and admiring the cement architecture...all the while carrying on a reasonably intelligent conversation. The stadium was quite fascinating to wander through and think that only a couple years before it was home to over 50,000 Liberians during the war. The surround sports facilities (or what is left of them) show remnants of some serious exercise that used to go on. There are still 8 tennis courts behind the stadium that were being used by some UN folk and they had a quaint little game of mixed doubles. The grass on the field of the stadium was in remarkably decent condition. After talking to the stadium plumber I found out that there is a Liberian National Team game on October 9. Apparently Liberia is out of World Cup tournament running but it may be interesting to go check out a game while I'm here. Some potential for some riot action. Apparently last time Liberia played here and lost they looted the coaches house afterwards. I guess they'll have to pick on someone else next time.

The other day when I went into downtown Monrovia to make some photocopies, an adventure that took me about two hours, I was just sitting down under an umbrella of the outside photocopy booth I was at and I just sat there people watching for an hour or so. It was a pretty surreal experience. I just thought to I am sitting under this umbrella in the middle of downtown Monrovia, the capital city of the poorest country in the world. What a lonely feeling I'll tell you. I finally snapped out of it when I realized I had to ride motorcycle back to the office in the rain...always a sobering experience.

My hunger calls me since its 5:15pm and I've eaten the equivalent of half of a pack of Raman noodles today. I can always trust on SP to have some stellar food to eat when I go over there. I'll probably eat at home before going over there tonight because I do feel bad for always eating their food and drinking their coffee although they say that I'm welcome to help myself to anything basically. Before I go though I've promised a few people that I'd include another pic of our mongoose. This one particular picture is one of our training sessions on how to properly dispose of a Pringle. The Goose is getting pretty big and I think its only a matter of time before it disposes of our Palm Civet. Oh, that will be the day!

Anyways, it is time to head off for the evening into the hussle and bussle of Liberian nightlife. Hope everyone enjoys the pictures and whatnot and that everyone is doing good back in the homeland.