Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Sounds of Life

One thing that I have really learned to appreciate about Liberia are the simple sounds that make life so interesting. Our neighbors have a generator ( Liberia has no power source, so all energy in the country is produced from generators)and unfortunately it is very loud, but for the last week it has not been running, and i have had the chance to listen to everything around me. Starting at around 4 in the morning some of the neighbors begin to chop wood, at first the sound awakens me, but within a few minutes the consistent sound sends me back to sleep. Around 6 I can hear the distant beat of a drum and the buzz of the insects all around which is actually quite relaxing. As I try to pull myself out out of bed i can hear the neighbors pound the cassava so that they will have GB( almost like a paste made from boiled cassava then pounded) to eat for lunch. Then soon the neighborhood is full of noise, the radios come on, children are singing at the water pump, there are shouts and buzzes from the soccer games that constantly fill our front yard, and the constant sound of motorcycles buzzing past and honking the horn. As the sun sets things slowly settle down and the buzz of insects once again take over.
School started last week which has been quite interesting. My students who are in grades 10-12 have difficulties identifying the subject and the verbs in sentences, so I think that it is going to be a challenge teaching them how to write compositions over the next 6 months. As I was coming to use the internet today I had a wonderful old man as me if I was Peace Corps and he followed up by saying that he wanted to congratulate me because he has always loved Peace Corps and he is so happy to see us back in Sanniquellie.
This past weekend I had to go to the next town to go to the bank( we only have 1 in our county). On the journey there are check points that all public transport must go through, being that our taxi was overloaded, like all taxis are we had to pay what the driver referred to as a "service fee." This service fee is actually a bribe paid to the police so that the driver does not get a ticket for having an overloaded car. There was a small argument between the driver and the officer and the last comment from the officer basically summed up so much of the goings on in Africa. As the officer is taking the bribe from the driver he says "Don't try and condemn our government." Oh the joys of people abusing power! To end on a more positive note, when the principal introduced me to the students they were literally jumping up and down because they have a teacher who is from America.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Sanniquellie is my new home! I am currently living in a "city" in northeastern Liberia. I say "city" because it is the county capitol, but it has more of a village feel. The citizens say that it is huge, but it doesnt seem so to me, but I love the village feel so I am very content. Sanniquellie is the home of the Organization of African Unity. I have yet to start teaching, but the past week and a half has given me a lot of time to go out and explore the town. I live in a neighborhood that is about a 20-25 minute walk from the main road, so i have made a lot of friends along the way. There are a few ladies who are giving it their best to try and teach me Mano (one of the two local languages). My subpar skills have made me quite a few friends at the local market. As I was walking to the market the other day I started keeping track of all of the things that people shouted at me along the way " White man, white woman, friend, Kau( the name given to me in Mano) man, woman, and friend. There have been numerous people who have approached Katherine( my roommate) and I to introduce themselves to us, and many of them have expressed their happiness that Peace Corps in finally back in Sanniquellie, one man even told us that it was announced on the radio in Monrovia.
My house is HUGE it has 4 bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. Katherine and I have closed off 3 bedrooms( yes we share a room due to the fact that our neighbors generator is so loud you cant sleep in 2 of them, and the other is only accessible from the outside) and the kitchen. There is no running water or electricity, so the days are kind of short, I am normally in bed by 9pm. Everything is going great so far, the village is beautiful and the the town is wonderful! I hope you all are well
Lindsay :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

One year, one month, and one day later

One year, one month, and one day after my arrival in the States I am getting ready to leave again. My next journey will lead me to the west African nation of Liberia. Liberia was settled by freed slaves from America and is one of only a few African nations that was never colonized. Liberia has a very interesting past and I am thrilled to learn the way of life in a new nation. Once again I will be teaching English in a secondary school, but this experience should be a little different, as English is the national language of Liberia. I am not sure if I will be teaching literature, or grammar or what, but I am very excited for the opportunity to live and learn in Liberia. I will update as much as possible, but at this point I am not sure what Internet availability will be like. If anyone has questions feel free to ask

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page