Monday, February 14, 2011

welcome to liberia.

I made it!

After a long day/night of traveling, I stepped off the plane onto African soil around 3 PM yesterday (Liberia is five hours ahead, so 10 AM your time). The other travelers were friendly, and Delta had free new releases we could watch on the flight! I even had Facebook during my flight from Detroit to Atlanta. Airplane internet? Who knew.

I am currently typing this from the Chapman's house, where I will be living for my first week. I don't believe I'll have internet where I am staying for the rest of my trip, but I will definitely have it at the office Monday through Friday.

The Chapmans are a family that has lived in Liberia for a few years in a house they built themselves. The father, Keith, is a dentist who opened a clinic here, and his wife, Kristin, takes care of their two biological daughters and two adopted Liberian boys. Kristin made pancakes for dinner last night, so my first meal here was a breeze!

The Atlantic ocean is directly in front of the house. The beach is gorgeous, and was full of activity yesterday. My boss, Seren, says Sundays are usually the busiest days at the beach, as many of the locals come out to enjoy the sunshine. I bought plantain (similar to banana) chips from a Liberian girl who was walking along the beach carrying a basket of them on her head. They were delicious, and only 5 Liberian Dollars! (70 Liberian Dollars = 1 US Dollar).

It's very hot and humid here, but not unbearable. It's about 90 degrees during the day, and cools down a little at night. I have an air conditioner in my room I can run for $1/hour. I ran it last night for an hour before I went to bed and passed out before the room warmed back up. I was super tired from my trip, and slept for 12 hours straight!

This morning was the hardest part of my journey so far. I couldn't get my internet to work at first and felt very disconnected form home. In a crowded room full of smiling faces, I still felt lonely. While everyone here speaks English, their Liberian-English accents made it very hard for me to understand what they're saying. And I couldn't get the handshake down! You shake hands very loosely then snap using your, and the other person's, fingers. I'm still working on it :)

After lunch, a nap, and emails from home, my day turned around for the better. I saw so many incredible things today. I need to start taking pictures, because there is way too much to try to explain in words! Women balance everything on their heads here- and make it look so easy! Also, Liberians drive like crazy people!! Cars and jeeps are constantly honking at each other as dirtbikes swerve in and out of traffic. Dirtbikes here are called pang pangs, named after the sounds they make. (Paaaaaang pannnnnnng is Liberian for vroooom vrooooom)!

The beach directly in front of the house where I'll be staying for my first week.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome view! Glad you made it safely! Sorry we didnt' know the date of your departure - we would have called too! :-)
    Julie and Donna