Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More “Life in Liberia” Factoids

Weather: Strong storms Monday night dumped a couple inches of rain in an hour. Tuesday mosly cloudy and very humid with dew points in the upper 70's. Almost no breeze.

Well, Renita is up visiting the towns of Gbarnga (pronouced BANG-ga) and Ganta today (Tuesday the 13th) doing some advance work for LEAD. Ganta is on the Guinea border and is about five hours away on ok roads. She should be back by 7:00pm tonight-- 2:00pm EST.

Meanwhile, I'm home with Hannah and Noah having some nice chats. I told them I did not know what to write today, so they suggested a few more of our ever increasing list of items that we find interesting about this place we call home. I included a couple Monrovia pictures.

- Monrovia has about ten daily newspapers. Most costs about 35 cents. (20 Liberian dollars)

- Night time temperatures in our house rarely fall below 78 degrees Fahrenheit. At 79F, we start shivering and reach for our blankets.

- If you are sending your child to a Liberian school, you may be asked to supply the desk, which the school will keep. You must also supply toilet paper.

- Mosquitoes in Liberia are three times smaller than Michigan mosquitoes. One rarely feels the bite.

- If a schoolboy’s hair is over a quarter inch long, he is sent home, sometimes with a chunk of hair shaved out.

- If you need to go to a hospital, be prepared to pay a deposit before treatment and if admitted bring toilet paper, soap, towels, plates, and usually food.

- A 55 gallon steel drum used for burning trash in our yard falls apart from rust after five months; by eight months it will have completely disintegrated without a trace.

- Price of a typical Liberian meal (Rice, greens, meat or fish, oil) for four: About $2.00

- Price of a typical American meal (Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic toast) for four: About $12.00

- When a mouse dies in our house, Renita always smells it first. Bob always gets to dispose of it.

- A favorite treat of Liberian children is “putuh,” a light gray smoky flavored chunk of dried mud.

- DVDs containing up to 16 movies sell for $5.00 apiece in downtown Monrovia. The movies are bootlegged. The worst are simply videos of the movie taken off the theatre screen, so you can see silhouettes of patrons getting up and sitting down.

- The soil quality of Liberia, as in much of Africa, is classified by experts as “poor” or “very poor.” Plants grow here because of the enormous availability of water and the rapid decomposition of everything dead.

- Large pineapples cost a dollar out of town, up to $8.00 in town.

- Foster Town Market ladies love to pray, and they love to dance.

- If you need to go to jail, your friends or relatives must feed you. And provide toilet paper.

The view from Monrovia across the Mesurado past Powder Island to Bushrod Island and the port in the distance. Looking NE.

Traversing the only operable bridge linking Bushrod Island/Freeport with Monrovia. Traveling North, looking West.


Anonymous said...

Do they really eat putuh, or is it the equivalent of our mud pies? Inquiring minds want to know...well, the Vander Stelt children want to know.


P.S. Bob, every one of your shell-shocked pores will happy to hear our pool is closed for the season. :-)

The Reeds in Liberia said...


They really eat it. The stuff turns the lips and mouth gray. I'll try to remember to get a picture.


ps That pool sounds like heaven from here, as the sweat is dripping off of me in thus internet hole in the wall. But I wouldn't jump this time. I'd just kinda splash it all over me.