Taking a break from our endless report writing, my teammates and I soaked up the view at a local restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean while enjoying some delicious seafood and plantain appetizers. With the stereo in the background playing Sade’s “Smooth Operator” I could not help but think how surreal it felt to be here in Monrovia enjoying a peaceful afternoon with great company in such a serene setting. I immediately also found myself wondering which part I actually thought was most surreal: the fact that the afternoon was peaceful and the setting serene or the fact that the stereo was playing Sade and the company delightful? I sadly have to admit that like many before me, what most amazed me is that yes we were enjoying a very pleasant afternoon in Monrovia and it is hard to believe that not long ago the country lived through such turbulent times.
Liberia will be remembered for a very long time for its war but as we have discovered firsthand throughout our five week stay here, Liberia is surely breaking away from its past. We have been fortunate to have met some amazing young entrepreneurs who are eagerly working to change things for the better. We have seen passion, resilience and commitment. We have also seen some of the remnants of the war but this is a conversation that most avoid and understandably so. We have had some good Liberian food from pepper soup with fufu to BELIEVE it or not, agouti with palm butter (a wild rodent that is quite a delicacy here and apparently tastes like rabbit.- can’t say I’m a fan, but I’m also not a fan of rabbit and I’m still working on becoming a vegetarian).
Today as we were enjoying the view, the company and the music we truly felt that we could have been anywhere in the world but being in Monrovia just made it that much more special and memorable.