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.