Everyone has been very curious and nice to me. Sometimes I am afraid they’re being overly nice. It goes back to colonialism. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around white people in Liberia. Liberia was never colonized (by Europeans). It never had a large population of white people show up and take anything except people…I’m pretty sure. But now, there’s a Firestone plant by the coast (drove past that on Monday). And I know that the rubber companies pretty much ran Liberia before 1980s
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday have blended together. Without the internet or anything specific to work on, I’ve been sitting around the office reading the DEN-L strategic plan, the Bong County development project, the GAP information (the gender action program) and most recently Miriam’s thesis (the organization’s beloved researcher, part founder, part Irish nun). I also played minesweeper, watched some of The Devil Came on Horseback, most of The Simpsons movie, and an episode of 24. I hate 24. But it was nice to see DC, even if it was on a crappy show. I may not be completely in love with DC either but the familiar is always welcome in a new place. I have pictures though!
One thing I forgot to mention, that has become a bit of a problem, is that it gets dark around 7pm during the rainy season here. Which means going into town is a bit of an adventure. Armed robbery is still a very real concern, especially for the older people who probably remember the war a little more vividly so travel at night is greatly restricted. However, as of Friday, I’ve been to Gbarnga three times. The first time was by foot with one of my little brothers.* His Liberian English is thick so I have some trouble understanding but it’s good practice to talk with someone and try to catch the accent. This was the first time that I noticed the kids yelling “White Woman” as I passed. They also love getting their picture taking so whenever I pull out my camera I end up taking a bunch of photos of kids, maybe I’ll post one or two, don’t want to be exploitive here. On the way back, after taking the photo of a girl on our way to town, there were about 8 girls waiting for a photo-op. It was getting dark and I couldn’t see the buttons real well on the camera by the time I took the shot, it became this mess of color and jumping children. See below.
As we walked back my supervisor, and the head of the organization, called to make sure we were on our way back as it was getting dark! Like I said, a compound full of big and little brothers.
*I call them my little brothers because lately whenever they can’t find me on the compound they search for me and they’ll call if they don’t see me. I actually live on a compound full of my brothers who are looking out for their sister all the time! I think this also may be cultural, as the idea of looking out for your neighbor seems to be very internalized here. So far, I haven’t found a good way of looking out for anyone besides myself…