Reporting from Liberia

Today other things struck me.  The numbers of young men in the streets all day are just hanging out - not working, not studying, not involved.  This is a concern for a nation that wants to get back up on its feet, that’s for sure.  I bought fruit today and marveled at the market - mangoes, watermelons, ginger, oranges, bananas and even fresh pineapple.  A girl who works at the WE-CARE Foundation (and studies building at the local Polytechnic) helped me out with the bartering, always a fun engagement with people. 

 Today I noticed the poor state of the roads and the garbage in the streets and the children working.  I saw young boys sewing those West African shirts we all associate with this part of the world.  They might have been 9 or 10 or possibly 12 or 13 since many children’s growth has been stunted.  I was uplifted by the new space for the WE-CARE library and its attention to making a child’s area welcoming and warm and filled with fun books.  There were groups of students, one of girls and one of boys working away on their homework.  There was a man and another boy who were both reading the local paper.  It was organized, bright and again, welcoming.  The blaring din of being downtown does pour in but there is still calm and they really do need to be in the thick of it so that many people have access.  The Liberian couple, Mike and Yvonne who run the organization, told me today that 12 schools in the area make use of the library. 

 My day ended with a walk across the road to the beach to take in the ocean expanse and watch 2 boys play soccer in the near surf.  Soon there were a dozen kids, talking and laughing at me and wanting their photos taken and snuggling up and touching my hair and laughing some more.  After my novelty wore off we had lots of fun chatting, playing hand games, and looking for crabs.  It was wonderful - I missed my kids.  Two hours rushed past and I had to leave after the copper penny sun faded in the sky.  Such friendly people and so much for the country to offer.

Ingrid Ermanovics

Program Manager, CODE