My first few days in Monrovia

Hey, just a quick update to let you all know I got to Monrovia safely.

Arriving in Roberts International Airport was an interesting experience. First, the runway could use a paving job, so while the landing was perfect the deceleration part of the flight was a bit hair-raising, even for someone like me who doesn’t worry much about flying. Then as we taxied off the runway and almost immediately came to a stop, we passed about a million UN planes. They really gave me the “we’re not in Kansas, Toto” feeling! Getting through passport control and customs was very easy, but then all my baggage had MSF logos on it, and I was wearing my MSF t-shirt. I’m told it helps immensely with customs.

We drove in from the airport last night in a tropical storm. This morning there was another downpour, but otherwise the weather has been nice. It is hot, but down here by the ocean the air moves so it is not terrible. Certainly not as bad as Mississippi and Guatemala were. I’m looking forward, nonetheless, to getting back to the team house in a while and taking a nice cold shower.

I had briefings all day, and also took a little walk. I dropped by MSF-Belgium to see Leo, who departed New York for Liberia on the same day I did. He’s got a bottle of whiskey that I need to trade with him due to our poor planning with respect to duty-free shopping! I’m also trying to find the phone number for International Medical Corps in Monrovia to find out when Jon will be here so that maybe we can meet up.

My briefings are boring, because they necessarily cover ground that other briefings have covered. But there’s new stuff mixed in, so you really have to keep on your toes to get it all. The best briefings come from the national staff, who are really excited and serious about their jobs, and enjoy teaching me about them. After Amos gave me the radio briefing, I called MSF-Holland on the radio looking for Leo. Leave it to me to come all the way to Liberia, then forget which country Brussels is in… sigh.

I’ve met so many people, it’s hard to keep track, but I’m doing my best. Perhaps I’ll write a list tonight and study it before bed.

Tomorrow I get to visit Benson Hospital, our other project. When I get back in the afternoon, I will visit the US Embassy and register with them. My trip to Nimba county is not planned yet, but it might be as late as next Monday.


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