Monday, January 15, 2007

X- MPW: The Painful Price of Progress

The MPW stands for Monrovia Public Works. The X means “This structure must be removed.” Throughout Monrovia all the way to our home and beyond, Liberia is preparing to rebuild its major highways. To do this, it has flexed its Eminent Domain muscles and declared that all structures within 75 feet of the relevant highways must go. This is a significant and welcomed sign of progress for the nation and most of its inhabitants, but a crushing blow for families, schools and businesses that are suddenly in the way. If you were to drive from Monrovia to the Reed house, you would see many sad stories in the making, as home after home and business after business display the huge yellow hand painted “X-MPW.” Some of the homes are brand new, or not even completed, whose owners thought the coast was finally clear to build after years of waiting.
Progress is always a mixed blessing, and in a land of poverty, whoever is on the short end suffers far more that those of us in the West. There are many stories here; we know some of the people who stand to lose. As time passes and the work starts, we will share some of those stories with you.
A Parade of Homes...

... of lives about to be uprooted. The Yellow X says it all.

The blocks in front of this home were to go to an addition to the house. Now the blocks, and the family, have no where to go.

A brand new structure, too close to the road, must come down.

A neighbor's storage shed.

One of our favorite gas stations. Slated to be demolished next week, the shocked owners are scrabbling for a plan.

A LEAD business.

This wall will soon come a'tumbling. The line tells the owner where the structure begins to be in violation. But it wasn't in violation until this week. The lines drawn on homes are especially sad. What good is a half demolished home?.