Hope everyone is doing well...For those in the U.S., I hope the heat wave hasn't caused you any damage and for my beloved readers in Naija, I hope you're seeing the rainy season as a cleansing season and not as a "day ruiner".
Sorry I’ve been MIA…I’ve been traveling and experiencing unsteady Internet connection. You never realize how lucky you are to have constant fast Internet until you don’t have it. Like they say, you never appreciate what you have till you loose it. My hunt for internet deserves a post on its own. Stay tuned.
I’m currently in Monrovia, Liberia for about a month, for consultant work with UNWomen, assisting international consultants to support civil society organizations to prepare an alternative CEDAW report. UNWomen is the United Nations entity for gender equality and empowerment of women.
I’ve been here for a week and I’m still trying to make sense of the place. So far, this is what I’ve noticed…The United Nations’ presence here is deep…Because Liberia is a post-war territory, the UN is visible and prominent here. There are several UN agencies here. So far, I’ve noticed United Nations Missions in Liberia (UNMIL), UNDP, UNFPA and UNWomen. You can’t go a mile without seeing a vehicle marked United Nations.
The country is also infested with Lebanese nationals who are making a lot of profit from the UN presence. What they do is open nice businesses that are replica of American businesses to lure foreigners who are here working for the UN and are used to that kind of comfort, then hike up the prices…for e.g., supermarkets that carry American brands and hotels that are cozy and expensive. They also buy war-damaged buildings, rebuild them nicely and rent them out to UN employees and consultants who seek comfortable places to live. I don't blame them though....Business is Business.
Things are also very expensive here…Oh my! Although, they have Liberian money, United States Dollars is what’s used as a main medium of exchange. I went grocery shopping and spent almost $200 on grocery that would cost about $75 in the States. As you can imagine, I wasn’t so happy about that.
Generally, it’s an interesting journey for me. I'm trying to stay positive, I’m learning new things, meeting new people and doing fulfilling work. I'm finding inspiration in being grateful for the things that I have that people here can only dream about.
I feel privileged to be part of rebuilding a country that has been devastated by war. I’m taking lots of pictures and I’ll keep you updated….I have a feeling this is an experience I’d never forget.