Liberia – Day One

There were only 2 other planes in the airport, as my plane made its landing.  An Air France flight from Paris and a UN airplane, bulky and narrow, its purpose clear.  I could guess that the size of the airport building was perhaps 2 times the size of my house, walking through customs and getting my passport stamped was as much an effort of my part to put one leg before the other and as much a process of being carried by the masses of humanity around me.  My 57lb broken suitcase did not collaborate when I had to dig it from a pile of equally heavy suitcases and carry/drag/push it outside, where it was not long before I saw someone waiting with an ACDI|VOCA sign and soon I was sitting in a pickup truck ready to go to what would be my home for the next 2 months.  As I walked to the pickup truck from the airport, I passed at least a dozen (if not more) trucks and jeeps with UN and USAID stickers all over them, as if Liberia was still a warzone.

The sky was heavy with grey clouds ready to pour down, the scenery green and lush.  It was a sort of deja vu for me, as it reminded me so much to French Guyana, both countries are roughly on the same latitude and share extremely similar climates.  I saw women walking bare-chested painted with white chalk, I saw little children running behind my truck and vendors selling pineapples and bananas on the side of the street.  I saw women dancing and a car driving with busted tires.  The stereotype coming to life.

My apartment is nice, I will be living here for the next two months, and even when I go out into the field I will be coming back.  I am not to go anywhere alone but will be driven there by an ACDI|VOCA driver, even to the supermarket.

In a few minutes I will go to the office, so I leave you with my first glimpse of Liberia.