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

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Incident #1, 2, & 3


The last few days here in Liberia have been some of the most intense/odd that I’ve had so far. Lets just say that. Where do we start…? Ok, lets start three days ago with the first incident that went down. I was sitting in the passenger seat of Fredrick’s, our Water and Sanitation project’s manager, car outside the Downtown Pizzaria waiting for him to come out after ordering. This guy proceeded to knock on my window and ask me for money like hundreds, if not thousands, of Liberian do on a daily basis. I told him that I had nothing for him. He proceeded to knock again and ask me for money again. I proceeded to tell him that I had nothing for him and for him to please go away. The third time he knocked I got a little annoyed and turned to roll down my window and tell him to get lost and when I turned to the window his friend/partner-in-crime reached through the driver side window and grabbed Fredrick’s cell phone which was near the shifter. I shouted and screamed at him and called him a “thief” and told him to come back. I would have liked to drop my laptop bag, play hero, and jump out of the car proceeding to tackle him…but I didn’t bother. The last thing I need is to rescue a cell phone at the expense of my laptop…or my life. Who knows what would have happened. I think I did the right thing.

Incident #2 would have to be the craziest thing that has happened so far here in Liberia to me. On the way down to the bank to get some project money out I drove up to a bunch of stopped cars at a traffic light (aka “policeman” with his hand up). The far right-hand lane was completely empty so I thought it looked like a perfect opportunity to make up ground on these cars that were so ridiculously waiting for Mr. Policeman to give the go-ahead. So this man in uniform proceeds to come over to my car and ask me where I was going. I told him I was going straight and he said I was in a right turn lane and that I had to “bend” right. I argued with him for a few minutes before telling him I’d turn right just to make him happy. I then proceeded to scope out the intersection and saw that there were no cars in the intersection. At that point something snapped inside me and I just gunned it. Ah yes, home free at last! Out of sight, out of mind. I had escaped the rogue/policeman! I went to the bank and did my business there. After walking to my Range Rover and climbing inside and starting it I went to look in my driver side mirror and here is this cop that I just blew off staring at me through my driver side window. He told me to roll down my window and proceeded to scold me about disobeying him telling me to “bend” right. He then told me that I had to go down to the police station with him and go to court and blah blah blah….all the rest of the nonsense he was shelling out at me. To make a long story short, I lost all morals and ended up giving him $20 which is probably way too much but I’m a rookie at this game, what can I say.

If Incident #2 isn’t enough for you today I had to pick up a consultant from one of our donors and bring him to the office but the Range Rover decided not to start. If its not one thing its something else over here. I had a meeting scheduled with UNICEF but ended up being about 4 hours late for that one. In Liberia plans are meant to be broken. Time just isn’t a factor here…and if it is a factor then something will come up to make you late or spoil your plans regardless of your intentions. I organized a ride to drop John, our last volunteer, off at the airport. He’s headed out of Liberia after 3 months here and is on his way to Switzerland to do a discipleship training school session. Its sad to see our last expat volunteer leave because that means that its just me now. Its time to recruit some people to come over here and stay for a while. Any takers?!?!

Well, its almost 10pm and I can feel a slight headache coming on here. Its been a long day and I wonder if it has anything to do with fact that its about 30C and I’m hot and sweaty. Anyways, hopefully the next few days will be a little less problematic then the last three. It can only get better I think.

Over and out.