For all of you who have faithfully followed my blog over the years, I wanted to post an update on what life is like in Liberia these days.
Some of you will remember the blog I posted my first year here, after I walked the 10 km home from downtown Monrovia in my flip flops. Now, I’m not going to do that again (ouch!), but I do want to give you an update on some changes since that epic walk.
Monrovia has seen a significant amount of new construction over the past 6 years as a result of diaspora returning to their home and foreigners gaining confidence in the stability of the country. The main road leading into Monrovia no longer looks like a meteor shower hit it, but there are so many cars on the road now, it still takes forever to drive the short distance to the city center during rush hours.
There is a massive bank of generators powering the city now and the Liberian Electric Corporation has strung lines to most major communities. Faith in this system is low so the wealthy still run their own generators and the less wealthy still use candles.
Chickens continue to roam downtown Monrovia, but the pigs tend to stay at least 5 km away from the heart of the city (better rooting possibilities a bit further out, I suppose). Dogs have seen a population explosion, as people like to use them as a low cost form of security, and also because there is still no vet here who will spay a female.
Village life seems to remain somewhat the same, with the most notable change being the increase in animal husbandry. I never used to see any animals other than chickens and dogs, but now goats, sheep and pigs are common sites in villages. The majority of them are just wandering around as they please, some even popping their heads out of people’s houses as I walk by.
The medical system continues to falter and people die from preventable illnesses all the time. That’s the aspect of life I find the most difficult to accept here. More doctors are returning to Liberia but without consistent power, diagnostic equipment, reliable labs and trained specialists, Liberians continue to die from treatable disease and illness. This fact is a driving force behind our well program. If people have clean water to drink it significantly decreases their odds of dying from water related diseases.
These days you are most likely to find me in a village working with the well team, but as the program expands and my team perfects their skills, I spend more time in water and sanitation meetings with various government ministries or working out logistics and monitoring the program.
I’m still a dedicated shade chaser and occasionally I can be seen raising my hands to the sky begging a cloud to cover that relentless Liberian sun. Some things never change!
It really been wonderful catching up and I look forward to next time!