Initial days in Africa, visions of rain and awe.


The flight out was long, it followed a 2 hours bus ride and a 5 hour wait in the airport.  I had a difficult time sleeping on the plane.  I could not get comfortable, I was totally exhausted by the time I got off the plane.  After getting through the customs and immigration, we were swiftly shifted onto a bus and driven upcountry to the  fairly decent sized city Kakata.   The first night was exhausting and the bus ride was about an hour and a half.  Our first meal was nice and quickly served.  I immediately unpacked enough to take a shower and crawl into bed.

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Sleeping with a mosquito net is very strange.  I am not a fan of having to sleep under it, but I am less a fan of getting malaria.  The food is spicy and not at all salty.  It is basic but filling.  I love having fresh bananas, pineapple and mangoes.  Cabbage is a common salad component as is green leaf.  I am fascinated by the salad dressing is just left out on the tables.  refrigeration is not common here.

Classes have been very intense and I need coffee so badly.  I am so happy that I finally found my coffee, grinder and french press.  I keep nearly falling asleep, but that actually could be part of the jet lag.  Today we actually ventured out into the markets.  It was like a swap meet with food.  Very young children carrying bags of water or treats to sell on their heads was a common thing.  The transportation here scares me.  The motorcycles seem to just go willy nilly down the roads.  Pedestrians are very near the traffic and it feels so unsafe.  We changed money over at some of the money vendors at the market.  I felt like I was going to be robbed today.  After I converted $70 to Liberian dollars at an exchange rate of $88 per $1 USD, the wads of money get quite large.

ImageI bought a bar of soap for $50 today, which in American money is literally $.70.  I had to remember that I have quite a large sum of money here and it seems there are no coins.  So for all of you who hate pennies, this is great news for you.  But, it comes at a price, sanitation, safety and modern conveniences are non-existent.

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I am still taking in all of my thoughts and I am so excited to be here.  I cannot believe that a life long dream is actually a reality.  Food is spicy, the weather is stifling, and the humidity is intense.  The people are wonderful and I am excited to see so much more of the country.  Tomorrow we head into the country and we get to spend 3 days visiting different sites.  I look forward to updating in a few days.

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