Before I came to Liberia, I never thought I would…

1.      Be invited to a wedding there (or anywhere!).

2.     Witness the world’s longest (and slowest) bridal procession.

3.      Be on the beach on the first day

4.    Dance in the streets of Gbarnga

5.      Be forcibly ‘saved from drowning’ at Kpatawee waterfall

6.      Be gowned

7.      Be taken for crazy Scotsmen

8.      Eat a meal consisting only of pineapple – by torchlight

9.      Sleep in a bed that was wider than it was long

10.  Take part in a Peace Parade

11.  Lose count of the number of marriage proposals

12.  Have a 62-year-old man call me ‘Mammy’

13.  Learn about the toilet habits of four previous Presidents

14.  Peel banana, peel peel banana, chop banana etc

15.  Hear so many stories about ‘Spider’

16.  See a shop called ‘United we Stand – Used Shoe Store’

17.  Eat such tasty pineapple

18.  See ‘Discuss Me’ painted on the back of a taxi

19.  Go over so many bumps in four hours on the way to the Ivorian border (and back again)

20.  Be so happy to see a ceiling fan

21.  Eat so much Bangladeshi/Pakistani/Indian food

22.  Master the snap handshake

23.  Hear the dialogue: “How far is it?” “It far small.”

24.  Wash my ‘tan’ off at the end of each day

25.  Debate teenage pregnancy for half an hour live on the radio

26.  Have to answer the question ‘How was your night?’ every morning

27.  Greet the people with the sentence ‘How is it?’

28.  or respond with the sentence ‘It’s very fine’

29.  Talk so much about football

30.  Start adding ‘oh’ to the end of words-oh

31.  Eat sugar cane

32.  and then chunder it back up

33.  See a tarpaulin fall on an Archbishop

34.  See a shop called ‘Amos the Famous Tailoring Shop’

35.  Be renamed Marian Hawkins

36.  Be renamed Jeff or Gary

37.  Be renamed RB (pronounced Arrabee)

38.  Have my name pronounced correctly every time!

39.  Have ‘Chinee Man’ shouted at me

40.  Have ‘Chinee Man Girl’ shouted at me

41.  Have section within a section

42.  Meet such a friendly bunch of American Peace Corps people learning to make peace gardens

43.  Hear a story about a dog with a face like a shovel

44.  Be mistaken for Becca’s mum

45.  Visit a (possibly illicit) cane juice factory

46.  Visit the grave of an ex-President

47.  See a church that was dedicated in 1842

48.  Have to learn the names of all the villages between Flumpa and Gblala (Blala, Glala, etc…)

49.  Visit so many Master Artisans

50.  Learn what a ‘Master Artisan’ actually is (mechanic, tailor, cook, cosmetologist)

51.  Ditto ‘cosmetologist’

52.  Meet the Treasurer of the Liberian Olympic Committee

53.  Survive here for a month without eating any meat

54.  Travel in a car with 17 other people

55.  Visit a massacre site

56.  Scramble down a waterfall

57.  Spend so much time under a tree in the Lutheran Compound

58.  Meet so many people who remember your name

59.  Scare so many small children

60.  Be a wig model

61.  Hear the phrase “You can laugh till your sides lack”

62.  Hear the phrase: “Steal like cats” (re: a wayward child and his friends)

63.  Pay 300 Liberian dollars to get into the County Meet football final only for the President to declare it a ‘free gate’ an hour later

64.  See stadium security handled by a bunch of kids in karate suits with sticks.

65.  Eat so many eggs

66.  Suffer the resulting stomach problems

67.  See toilet roll processed down the aisle during the Offertory at Mass. Along with a bottle of bleach

68.  Witness Climate Change brought to life in a torrential midnight downpour

69.  And join the fight against it with our air conditioners

70.  Be so humbled by the wonderful, dignified CAFOD partners we met.


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