Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Liberian Landscape

One thing clear here is that Liberia is just out of a 15 year civil (or multiple) war.  The infrastructure is a complete mess and sad to behold.  As my friends say here “those big men who wage these wars do not love Liberia”.  The evidence of that is clear. 

This is not to be a downer just some of the reality of the conditions here.  The great news is the people are pumped about the future and super outgoing. 

View from the kitchen

IMG_0830 View from the bathroom, house obviously not laid out with western interests in mind. Sunset on the Atlantic.

IMG_0835The house just before the sunset is a large UN housing complex with beach and pool.  Would be great to hang out at but the high volume of “lady” visitors makes it off limits to the staff here.

It is dry season here and brush fires are frequent

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One of the strange sights is hundreds of wrecked vehicles at the side of all the roads as well as the UN and NGO vehicle grave yards that abound.

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DSCF2806DSCF2825Liberian Police Station

DSCF2849Local St. Paul’s church

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Market area

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Things you carry on a moto

DSCF2830To all my Auburn Plainsman Eagle Tiger friends….a graduate?

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DSCF2835My favorite New Orleans own Blue Plate mayo, actually available here, bringing some home to Rwanda. 

Downtown Monrovia

IMG_0824IMG_0823IMG_0819The sad thing to see is the absolute destruction of once serviceable facilities.

DSCF2845DSCF2846The former Ministry of Defense

DSCF2847DSCF2900The Unity Conference CenterDSCF2902DSCF2904

Guard post for the once famous “Hotel Africa” and golf course.DSCF2906DSCF2908The former hotelDSCF2910DSCF2911DSCF2912DSCF2913Kids playing football in the yardDSCF2914UN vehicle on our compound road, they have tons of very cool DefendersDSCF2909

Now this is what I have enjoyed in the late evenings, reading and walking on the beach, oh boy do I miss living on the water.IMG_0870[1]

Friday, February 11, 2011

Liberian Living

I have been in Liberia for a week and a half now and am enjoying it immensely.  The weather is very Louisiana like, the people are shockingly friendly (but passionately argumentative) given the 15 years of civil war just ended in 2006, and our workers are very ingenious given the limited resources locally available.  All in all very much live living is SE Louisiana.

DSCF2800The reason I ventured out of my normal East African zone is for this guy, William, to get some leave time.  William is our country director and was ready for some time off.  DSCF2836IMG_0841William does a fantastic job of leading and loving his team.  I first met William at LWI’s drill training school before I had joined the organization and he was leading short term teams to Central America.  It was great to see us both wind up in Africa.  One of the fun things they do is have Friday evening movie.  Last Friday we watched a favorite of mine “The Gods Must Be Crazy”.  It was wonderful to watch the guys as they saw this movie for the first time.IMG_0844The living conditions here are tough to say the least.  We collect our own water from one of the nearby wells in the community.

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The current facility is 45 minutes from town without traffic so I am not going into town too often, the great news is there is a Lebanese grocery only 20 minutes out so I am eating a ton of humus and fruit.  Realizing I am at my top weight and have to change my activity and eating routine (old age setting in).

IMG_0840DSCF2894I know it looks like a junk yard but that is the lot William has to work with.  Old army trucks converted to use in the drilling operation.

DSCF2811DSCF2816KV is our drill leader and is from Bangalore, India area.  He is a heck of a cook and will cut the spices way back for me.  I love his motorcycle helmet when he is drilling.IMG_0859DSCF2820

Some of my enjoyment over the last week plus has been the constant maintenance needs of the aged fleet.  We have a great mechanic, Bill, and we have lost the generator and three trucks so far.  All but one are back in action as of this afternoon.

DSCF2856lost it’s oil seals

DSCF28605-Ton truck sheered a stud, we had to burn it out.DSCF2862

Toyota HighTop slipped the timing belt and bent valves plus some other bits.DSCF2896

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IMG_0855DSCF2916Some of the Cajun like engineering that I have enjoyed….battery dead, just take a monster from the rig and make it fit….DSCF2919

We are in the process of constructing a new staging and living area on some land we purchased about an hour or so out of Monrovia.

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DSCF2801The gate was completely dysfunctionalDSCF2868so the guys let me pretend I was helpful and weld for a while.DSCF2875Then we got hungry and cooked up a field lunch.DSCF2887IMG_0832DSCF2888I knew I was putting my gastrointestinal health in God’s hands but He kept me covered.  It was fantastic and some kind of hot.  The wildest food choice I have had to make was to turn down some sort of monkey…guess it is just not my thing…a little to close to my own DNA.

stay tuned for some pics of the area.  I usually post tons about the actual ministry portion of the work but figured I would go more behind the screens stuff here.  Rest assured two new communities received water, health education and evangelism by the team here this week.