Monday, September 27, 2010

Liberian Stories

Monrovia, Liberia
23 September 2010

"neighborhood watch"
For the second day in a row our friend in Monrovia was woken up in the middle of the night by calls for help from his neighbors. Two nights ago his neighbors home was invaded by a robber wielding a cutlass (machete) in the early morning hours. One of the family members was able to text for help in the confusion and quickly word spread to all the neighbors. Within minutes a group of friends stormed the house, grabbed the robber, and dragged him into the streets where the angry mob began to beat him. Eventually the police arrived and were disappointed that he was still alive, the robber was beaten nearly to death, but was happy to get away from the mob and get to the safety of the jail.

Last night, around 2 am, another call went out to friends and neighbors for a house fire. As soon as the got the call, everyone grabbed their buckets or large containers of water and ran to the neighbor in need. Even with the help of the fire brigade they couldn't save the mud hut and the fire spread to several other huts which also burned to the ground. Right after the fire brigade extinguished the last of the smoldering rubble, the torrential rains began again. The fire was caused by the mother who left a lit candle in a bedroom and when she went outside to talk to a friend. Luckily no one was hurt.

"smell, no taste"
A small town in a rubber forest has a local name i couldn't pronounce (like most villages with local names). Loosely translated, the town is called "smell, no taste." During the war the relatively well supplied peacekeeping troops would cook their food over open fires while the rubber farmers hiding among the trees could smell it, but had nothing to eat for themselves.

"marriage problems"
My Liberian friend was telling me about his problems with his wife. He started by stating he didn't think he could be a polygamist, like many Africans, because dealing with one wife was hard enough. After he had been married for four years or so he felt his wife didn't love him and he wanted to get rid of her, so he got another girl pregnant. Eleven years later he has the daughter from the other girl, and the same wife. She stuck by him even though the mother of his child gave him the child and walked away and he adopted another kid from the neighborhood. The kids live with his parents (their grandmother), but he and his wife still share a house in the city. Both work, but both are on the road all the time. When he is at home, she kicks him out and sends him to the club or has his friends pick him up and take him away. What she does at home he doesn't know.

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