Healthy Soul

Preparing for Harper, Maryland County, Liberia

Preparing for Harper

I’ll be taking the 24-48 hour road trip to Harper. Several members of the staff spent the holidays in Monrovia and most of them are heading back on Friday. There will be a Tubman caravan of vehicles snaking their way to Harper. I will be with three colleagues whom I’ve not yet met. They’re returning from vacationing in Ghana.

In addition to staff and personal belongings there are supplies that have to get back to Harper. Right, space is at a premium. The story is that whatever an item costs in Monrovia (and we know that most things are exorbitantly priced) it costs three times as much in Harper. I’ve stocked up on bottled water.

You can get money exchanged from USA to Liberian dollars at any of the street vendors. They also sell phone cards. Each has bundles and bundles of money in these show cases.

You can get money exchanged from USA to Liberian dollars at any of the street vendors. They also sell phone cards. Each has bundles and bundles of money in these show cases.

Benadu, one of the female security guards, took me into town so I could get internet access installed on my phone. We had to take the local taxis. What a ride! First we had to get the Liberian dollars to pay them. We walked to the corner where several street vendors were selling phone cards to convert USA money into Liberian money. I gave him US$20.00 and got back US $10 and LD$700. It was much more than a handful. What was interesting to me is that he had a showcase full of money, just sitting there on the corner.

Several staff members and faculty spent the holidays in Monrovia. On the first day back at work we all plugged in laptops and worked in the conference room.

Several staff members and faculty spent the holidays in Monrovia. On the first day back at work we all plugged in laptops and worked in the conference room.

At the afternoon logistics meeting I was asked to take just what I’ll need for a few days and leave the other luggage to come later. Whew! I don’t know how that is possible. A consultation is needed with Alicia Beatty, Lynda Black, Sherry Hill, Carla Jefferson, Edna Smith, and Sylvia Wright. They were my packers – coming several nights, some every night during that final week, and staying hours and hours – making sure only the essentials were included. How can I whittle down any more? I will need my pots and pans to cook. I will need my towels and bedding. I will need . . ., I will need . . . Help!

It took an expert team of packers to get all the essentials I need for the next couple of months into these three suitcases and backpack. I am unable to whittle down anymore.

It took an expert team of packers to get all the essentials I need for the next couple of months into these three suitcases and backpack. I am unable to whittle down anymore.

The past few days have been spent observing and learning. I have been getting answers to some of the questions you’ve been asking. Look for them in tomorrow’s blog post.  Keep those comments and questions coming.

 

10 Comments

  1. J,

    I don’t envy you!!!!! But the only advice I can offer is repack one bag with enough clothes for a week and your essential other items. To be sure they have laundry facilities (fingers crossed).

    Ok, so I really want to come to Liberia and visit, and if the Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise, I will. But WOW is all I can say for your journey so far and you are still not at your destination and it’s 1/5/2012!

    Good Luck Jennifer, you’ll figure it out. You’ve inspired me to do more and different things (moving to another continent, probably not, but….).

    Miss you already,
    Edna

    • Hey there Edna – luckily I have been spared the need to repack. Thanks, dear God. As it now stands I will not be in Harper before Monday the 9th. Hmm!

      Please plan to come visit. Until then . . . just stretch in any way possible.

  2. Jennifer, what an adventure. I am wondering if the street vendors/money exchangers have body guards ;). I am glad that you are safe and am adjusting to your new life. Packing is often very difficult; however, you seem to have mastered the art.

    • Hey there Laverne – it is quite possible that they have bodyguards as there is usually a cluster of them together, especially in the downtown area. My colleagues just informed me that I’ll know that I’ve adjusted after the first meltdown. Something to look forward to? Hmm!

  3. Jennifer, Edna is right. Try to get those pots and pans in there too. what an adventure!

    • Hey Lynda – The universe solves all problems. I have been approved to fly on the United Nations helicopter to Harper on Monday so am not doing the road trip with my colleagues who just returned from Ghana. Two of my three suitcases (yes the one with the pots and pans is included) is gone with them this morning. I will still need an intervention from the universe for the third one because the helicopters do not carry luggage cargo. It is an adventure in more ways than I could ever imagine.

  4. Hi Jennifer, I was born in Monrovia and still have family in Harper, Maryland county. I am now a citizen of the United States, where I now live. I would like you to contact me at my email address listed if you can help me contact my family. Thank you

    Sincerely,
    Moses Fofana

    • Hello Moses – thanks for your comment. Wow – it is a small world indeed. I am making my first visit to Harper, and as you can tell from my blog post I’m in your country for the very first time, so am not sure how much I can do, but will be in touch.

      When was the last time you were back?

  5. Hi Jennifer! I am glad that you arrived safely and that you are experiencing a remarkable experience. Please continue to share your experiences about the “Mother” land. I’m a little invious because I really could be traveling right now. I’m doing fine and living one day at a time while appreciating good health. Enjoy yourself and please continue to share!

    Carole E.

    • Hey Carole – Good hearing from you. It is an incredible experience in so many different ways. I’m learning to suspend all expectations and simply enjoy each moment. Just let me know when you want to come to Mother Africa. There are lots of places to explore. Stay strong and keep those comments coming.

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