Many of the expatriates here express surprise when they learn that Elie and I moved to Liberia voluntarily. However, several of them have seen our move as a positive reflection on the forward momentum of this country--some of them suggesting that it would not have been possible for us to do this even six or seven months ago. The internet and telecommunications plans and devices that we depend upon for work have only been affordable and reliable for a short time. And, supposedly, options for food and diversion are increasing on a monthly basis.
I've been a bit surprised by the youth, sociability and professionalism of the development community. Because of the rougher nature of Liberia, it is not yet the playground of volunteers (though there are missionaries everywhere) and it seems to attract, instead, a fairly ambitious and career-oriented crowd. There are more NGOs and fellowship programs here than I have ever heard of. It's an interesting laboratory for ideas about reconstruction and development. I am eager to put some of my own thoughts into action for the small community around Robertsport, whose beautiful location is already being absolutely trashed by oblivious weekend visitors.
Most of our social activity here, so far, has derived from connections that we've made in the water--where total arbitrariness reigns with regards to what sort of people have chosen to surf in the active waters of Liberia. I've resolved, incidentally, to relegate surfing to the last two sentences of any given post; this would seem to balance the disinterest that most people feel towards my recreational activities and the total indignation that my surfer friends would feel if I didn't mention it at all.
Those two sentences: The waves have not been below shoulder high since we arrived two weeks ago. To my delight, they have usually been overhead and glassy for at least six hours a day--a trend set to continue for the next week at least.