Monday, March 05, 2007

Q & A

Local Weather: Temp mid 90’s and humid in the day, upper 70s and humid at night. Partly cloudy most days. Precipitation: Two days with rain since mid November, approximately 1.5 inches total.

We have received many emails and notes in the last twenty months. We might miss one or two, but we try to answer them all. We figure others have similar questions from time to time, so here is a smattering of those questions, with our response.

Q. How much does food cost?

A. It depends where you shop and what you want to eat. A Liberian meal, which we eat every week day, costs us an average of $5.00, and with it we feed about eight people, four dogs, a monkey and a deer. A weekend “American meal” costs between $10.00 and $15.00 for four people and the animals. Here is a list of random items, expressed in US dollars. The red is purchased from city grocery stores, the green purchased from open markets:
1 bunch of Potato greens: $.20
16 oz rice: $.20
50 kg bag (120lbs) rice: $22.00
A six pac of soda pop: $4.50
A large pineapple in the city: $5.00
A large pineapple in the country: $1.00
1 pac Chicken hot dogs: $1.00
1 pac Beef or Pork hot dogs: $8.00
16 oz. Ranch dressing: $4.00
Turkey (2 wings): $1.25
Pringles potato chips: $3.50
1 lb Sliced lunch meat (salami or ham only): $5.00
1 loaf bread $1.20
1 loaf bread $.30
Fresh Milk: unavailable
1lb Apples $4.00
1lb Mangoes $.40
1 quart ice cream: $8.00 (we have no freezer anyway)
12 oz Gin $1.00

Q. What’s the status on all those people being displaced because the roads are being widened?
A. The good news for them is that nothing has happened yet, although the yellow “X-MPW”s painted on houses, schools, churches, and businesses are steadily moving down the road. Renita and I think there is no way we will see structures coming down this year: too late in the dry season. My guess is everyone will get a year reprieve. But you never know.

Q. How are the solar panels treating you?
A. The panels are fine, although in this dusty season we have to climb onto the zinc roof and rinse them off. The solar batteries are still supplying us with dc power for the refrigerator and fans, and we found cheap modified sine wave inverters here for our computers and for charging stuff in the day. By the way, the country is going 220w, so finding 110w items here is getting increasing difficult. Finding 110 inverters was worth celebrating.

Q. Hey, how is Bob doing on the weight thing?
A. Hey, why don’t you just come out and call me fat? Ok, ok, I get a bit testy. As some of you know, I lost a small portion of my large amount of fat before we came here, about 70 pounds worth. I did it by getting a lot of support and eating fewer calories, and focusing on non processed carbs and protein. Since I’ve been here, the low protein, white rice diet has made every day a struggle to maintain what I lost. I’ve gained 20 pounds in the year and a half we’ve been here, but have leveled off and am fighting the good fight.

Q. We haven’t seen much of Hannah lately. How’s she doing?
A. Hannah continues to change, as adolescents do, but we could not be more impressed or proud of her. Her courage, strength of character, and helpfulness are inspiring. Look for a blog on her soon. I just need to talk her into letting me publish that picture of her eating spaghetti.

Q. How do you get your news? Do you have TV?
A. We are always way behind in getting big news stories compared to the West. We do not have TV connected to the airwaves, although we have a TV to watch movies.

Q. What do you miss most from your life in the US?
A. Faces of friends and family. A cool dry breeze. Cheap but good chocolate. Flushing toilets. Good loamy soil. Maple trees. Michigan Octobers. Looking out my window and pretending all is right with the world.

1 comment:

Joy Hancock said...

Great post!

I was especially interested in the food prices and the news about the electricity moving to 220. Good to know.

Also glad to hear that the X-MPW locations are not yet being destroyed. I just hope these families and businesses are making the most of the extra time to plan ahead.