Monday, January 07, 2008

ReedNews Update: January Edition

Weather: Hot in the days, cooler at night, with daytime highs in the low 90Fs (33C) every day and lows as low as the upper 60Fs (19C) by dawn. Light ocean breeze throughout the day. Virtually no rain since December 1.

Harmattan is returning as I write and promises to give us a couple weeks of cool dry breezes, which makes this the most pleasant season of the year for me. We've been sweltering in hot temps and moderate humidity.

The most humid time is May but dew points have still been high enough to produce lots of sweat and tee shirt changes. I've been going through about four a day. This is a dusty time, with virtually no rain from December to April. We have had a couple cooler nights—got down to about 79F in the house. Very nice relief from the norm. We are just coming off Christmas break which means back to work for Hannah, Noah and Yers Trooly, and simply turning up the volume for Renita. Here’s more news.

Item: Former president Charles Taylor's trial in the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity has begun after a six month delay. There are supposed to be many eyewitness to his actions. Keep up with the developments on the BBC.

Item: Road work is happening in lots of places, with resurfacing and patching being the primary activity. So far we’ve seen no signs of widening any roads. They really need to rebuild the shoulders at least, because it is not uncommon at all for there to be a foot or more drop on either side of the road. Traffic is fairly jammed during rush hours, but it clears up during the day and on weekends. The government just received a bunch of buses from Spain that they say they are going to use for public transportation.

Item: The cost of living is exploding with food and gas prices leading the increase. As the economy improves, merchants see an opportunity to boost profits. Everyone, from Lebanese building supply owner to Liberian microbusiness operator is asking more for their product. For us it has meant a 20% increase in operating costs this year, with most of that in the last quarter of ‘07. In addition, the value of the Liberian dollar is showing signs of weakening.

Item: Renita continues her LEAD collaboration with the World Food Programme while also interviewing candidates for the new LEAD office in Gbarnga. She is also preparing for a LEAD-sponsored conference on the future of small businesses in Liberia. More on this later.

Item: I’m working on a joint project with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the MPCHS Women’s development program on a series of workshops in the village of Koons Town. Ironically and appropriately, the women’s program is targeting the men of the village as it tries to reduce Gender Based Violence (GBV). More on this later. I’m also getting ready to teach a course in Conflict Analysis and Peacebuilding for the MPCHS social work students.

Item: Without getting graphic, Max and Niki are behaving rather “amorously” toward one another this week. Very touching. I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up, but we will be listening for the patter of little paws sometime in early March.

Item: Trokon’s mother, who lives in the interior, brought us a creature from her neck of the rainforest. It is an African palm civet (Nandinia binotata). I actually ate one a couple years back in Cestus City with cassava leaf over rice. Kinda chewy. Most Liberians call it a “Tree Coon.” These creatures are not in the same family or genus as most civets, and are sometimes confused with another civet of the same name. Common creatures, they are not threatened, and do quite well in captivity. So we’ll keep her a while. Reminds me of a cross between a house cat, a raccoon and a teddy bear. Omnivorous, she loves bananas and crickets. Noah named her Houdini.

Look at this lil' lady! No, she's not getting squished, just held with authority. Note the pink feet.
She eats a banana a day. Finding a warm shoulder to rest upon.
A non-civet related shot of the kids. This was actually last Halloween. They banged on our bedroom door demanding candy.


Julie DeGraw said...

Hey Reeds,
Happy New Year! Boy is Houdini cute. And possible puppies (I won't get excited yet). Of course you know the animal lover in me had to leave a comment. Hope you are well. Did you get your package?

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

Cute critter! I NEED one of those!! Too cute.

C.F.B said...

That is the cutest little animal!
And way to go Hannah and Noah...that is the way to go on Halloween!
Hope you all are doing well! Love you all!

The Reeds in Liberia said...

yes, we got it-- and thanks! Still unsure about Niki though.


We're still figuring out how to potty train the lil' critter.


Thanks-- the duo got their treats.