After two days of constant raining after arriving in Monrovia, the sky has cleared up and the sun has appeared from behind the clouds. We are siting at the Royal hotel, the prominent place for business meetings and I can smell the cheese on the pizza is melting in the toaster oven right behind me. I imagine everyone is hungry, since we have not gotten any food the whole day. Fabienne is flipping through the menu as our meeting draws to an end. As soon as the meeting is over, in one unified voice, the whole team comments on how expensive a burger is and that we want to get some local food. Where to go…Sam’s BBQ!
Sam’s BBQ is a local eatery introduced to us by Katy. The restaurant has a daily special menu that consists of different stews at very reasonable prices. In the first week, Sam has become our favorite place to go to get some local Liberian hearty food. You cannot beat a plate of palm butter with mystery meat and a large portion of country rice.
Besides enjoying Liberian food we have also been doing a little bit of cross-cultural (mis)communication. We tried to schedule a meeting at the Royal hotel with an insurance provider, but the intended person informed us he was at the hospital and was traveling to Ghana the next day. Since our schedule was quite tight and we could not afford to reschedule, we asked if we could go visit him at the hospital, thinking that hospitals seems like a logical place for insurance providers to meet people. Little did we know that the person was actually in the hospital due to illness and was going to Ghana for further treatment. Upon arriving to the hospital, we realized he was lying in bed and looked quite sick. Fortunately the family viewed our action as goodwill and a sign of friendship.
As part of our initiation process, Katy decided to take us to Sajj, the expat central on Saturdays in Monrovia. Upon passing all the UN cars parked at the front gate, we could hear the Brazilian song “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” pumping loudly in the back. It was Friday Latin night at Sajj, if you are an expat and you are not here, you are not cool. Watching all these expats drinking $6 dollar drinks at a club serving pizza and playing Latin music was THE cultural shock. However, the night was quite entertaining and it was a nice thing to do after a long week of non stop work.
Thanks to Katy, she has scouted out all the best places to go in Monrovia. In essence, Katy has become our own Lonely Planet, Liberia, guide. I doubt our arrival to Liberia would have been so smooth if it was not for Katy. She knows all the people we meet and everybody is extremely happy to see her. She helped us schedule all the meetings before arriving. I think a big THANKS is due.