Suakoko, Here I am!

July 20, 2009

Well, all my arrangements came through…as they eventually do.  Sometimes it gets shaky, but with patience it comes through…the experience thus far has been great!  The folks at the Royal remember me now from the other trips so it is wonderful to renew old acquaintances and feel comfortable in your environment.  Something how four hours of a time difference can really throw you off, maybe I am just getting old, but it is kickin my _ _ _…if you know what I mean…

The good thing about this trip is that I have been here enough to adjust to the initial bombardment of a new experience drastically different than my usual life, so that I can actually soak up some of the deeper nuances and just enjoy.  Now I am more careful with my camera for the last thing I want to convey is something negative.  And you know, we as Americans can tend to be so caught up in our conveniences, appearances, and simplicities that we are quick to look funny when something isn’t the same or doesn’t appeal to our silly sensibilities.  Let me tell you something…there are challenges here…having been through a war this long makes that obvious…but, these people are RICH!!! In so many other ways…they know how to live…which some of us who have abundance could actually learn from them.  So…keep that in mind when you go through my Blog and see the pics…

My man Jerry Mbagwe, special assistant to the President of Cuttington University, picked me up from the hotel that morning…and since Jerry is such an excellent reader of people, he knew to immediately take me to the local watering hole and get me a nice cold guiness…this is foreign stout guiness…not that water we get in the States Draught Bottle…yuck!  One thing about West Africa…things may get rough, but you can usually find a cold guiness somewhere close 🙂

Jerry Mbagwe

Janie’s was a great spot…right across the street is the huge empty complex of the Ministry of Defense built when Samuel K. Doe was President.  The building was not finished and currently sits empty…I’ll post pictures of that one on my web-site later.  After our cold beer, a friend of Jerry’s friend had us over to her home for lunch.  It is located right behind Jenie’s…’oh’…let me tell you…the food was so Good! 🙂  We had ‘Rie’…Liberian for Rice…and when you say Liberian…the ber is pronounce beer…as in Libeerian…emphasis on the ‘b’ 🙂  We had Rie, chicken with eggplant and palm oil with African pepper!  Now, African pepper is not regular pepper…if you are not ready, or have a weak stomach…it will clean your insides out 🙂  But, I love it…it is so good…now the Palm Oil, if you are not familiar with it…It will make a rubber tire taste good!  They take the fruit from the palm tree and gather them up…put them in a press and squeeze it until the oil comes out…imagine somewhat of what they do with Olives to make olive oil…except in this instance we are talking about Palm Oil…it is a staple with rice…

I’m sure my Dr. won’t be happy with me because of the Cholesterol…but, hell what am I supposed to do…the Dr. will say why is it high…I will say, because I ate Palm Oil, Dr. will say why did you do that, ( in a chastising kind of way) and I will say sarcastically…because, it like…”TASTES GOOD” 🙂 ok?

Lunch

that is my Clean plate on the left…as we might say in Liberia…”Happy Belly”

On my site, I’ll eventually post a brief history on Liberia…suffice it to say for now though that there has been serious conflict off and on since the Military Coup in 1980.  The vast majority of the infrastructure was destroyed and untold atrocities visited upon the Liberian people.  When I first landed in 2007 on a UN jet, there was a burned out jet with a rocket hole in the side.  How do you think you would feel landing next to that :/  It was sad to see how bad things were those first few trips.  But, I am so proud to say that the Liberian people with the leadership of Madame President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  “O’ Ma” as in “Old Ma”  are really making a strong come back!!!

On the way to Suakoko from Monrovia, we passed the new campus for the University of Liberia at Fendall..The Chinese are building it…and if you have been keeping up with China and Africa you can see that they are investing heavily to build relationships…

UofL Fendall

And on the way past Fendall, of course we saw the rubber trees.  A huge component of Liberian foreign relations is comprised of the role of Firestone in the development or lack thereof in Liberia.  For those of us in the developed countries, we all know to well the high demand for rubber in our countries.  Huge plantations of Rubber trees still comprise the terrain of Liberia…ever seen a Rubber tree?  They are the ones off in the distance with the White coloring.

Rubber Trees

Well, It is getting late…I’ll be posting tomorrow if I get some time.  After that I will probably begin to wax eloquent on the spiritual implications of my visit…may be a cross between Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Frost, but I’ll try and keep it together!

Thanks for the support, thus far!

http://www.takingownership.org

3 Responses to “Suakoko, Here I am!”

  1. Kimberley said

    Malik,

    Your updates are so engaging! On the rubber trees, does Firestone still own those plantations or did they pull out?

    Good to hear about the progress being made. I wonder if the Chinese are paying the day laborers fair wages to build the new campus?

    ~K

  2. Darla said

    Keep me informed..

  3. I am enjoying reading your blog…..lots of memories.

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