Monday, 3 July 2017

Evening walk

Kavita and I took a leisurely walk in central Monrovia. We walked past the cemetery on Centre Street. They have recently re-fenced the cemetery and I think it looks better, now. 

I remember when I was with UNDP Liberia, our organisation received a tranche of funds from the World Bank under the heading of Transitional Support Funding (TSF) and, this funding was used for a range of activities: reconstruction of schools, clinics, road repairs, etc. At this time, one of my colleagues (and now a very close friend), the head of procurement, was handling the contracts for these projects and, I remember she said she directly managed the construction of the walls at the cemetery. 

So, these walls have been since broken and, this new fencing has replaced that UNDP-World-Bank wall. 

I remember always hearing that this cemetery was full of druggies and criminals who sleep amongst these graves. 

Even when we walked past the cemetery, someone told us not to linger here! 

I clicked a photograph of a grave and, was astonished to see the details. The person had been buried back in the early 20th century:

Mary Antoinettee Bernice Padmore
Born January 26, 1893
Died August 29, 1919

"Ours is an unending love
Higher than the heights above
Deeper than the depths beneath
Lasting ever, even in death"

It is such a beautiful loving epitaph. In case a family member reads this, please know I am only writing about this here because I was so moved by the sense of history, through this one tomb stone. 

To think I've lived in this city for so long and still find new things which surprise me. 











Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Weekly Round Up

See some of the articles I have read and shared on Facebook:



Donald Trump ushers in a new era of kakistocracy: government by the worst people BY MEHDI HASAN 20 January in the New Statesman:

“Do Trump’s cabinet picks want to run the government – or dismantle it?” asked a headline in the Chicago Tribune in December. That’s one rather polite way of putting it. Another would be to note, as the Online Etymology Dictionary does, that kakistocracy comes from kakistos, the Greek word for “worst”, which is a superlative of kakos, or “bad”, which “is related to the general Indo-European word for ‘defecate’”.

AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by David Remnick, November 9, 2016 in The New Yorker. See the opening lines: 
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.


Evening walk





















Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sunday walk

I walked back from yet another potluck lunch at friends at Oasis Compound. A group of friends started the potluck series on weekends and, various friends hosted it. Most recently, it's just our friends Justin and Jyoti who have continued hosting it. And kudos to them for their time and energy! I used to think I had the most josh and jazba for entertainment but Justin and Jyoti are quite more advanced in their social obligations. 

These potluck series were dubbed feasts of gluttony by our friends. Today, there were 4 types of chocolate cake and brownies! 

I left Kavita to continue playing Kavin and friends and, told Haresh to come later. I bid farewell to my hosts and, looked forward to walking and digesting all the delicious food. 

I took some photographs, of course, along the way, to capture my walk on this sunny Sunday. 

See the photographs of girls dressed in their finery for Eid. 












Saturday, 10 June 2017

A lovely rainy Saturday walk around town

The rainy season is here although we've been having freak rainstorms and full rainy days these past few months when it was still officially dry season. When I first arrived in Liberia, I was told the rainy season starts in April and ends in October. However, the rainy season starts a little later now.

I was recently chatting to my Karachi cousins on WhatsApp and, sent them a picture of a rainy day. They didn't quite understand how much it rains in Liberia. 

I must say the rainy season is my favourite time of the year. The city feels completely different. 




Kavita dressed herself up for a rainy day with her rain boots, a sweater and her umbrella. We took a keke to L'oven Bakery to buy some meat and spinach pies which we had with Haresh back at the NATC office where he was working. For LD $ 150, the keke took us and brought us back. Kavita is slowly getting used to the concept of money and one needs it for things and keke rides. 

The feel of the cool air on our faces was delicious. How nice it is to finally feel this weather. 




Kavita and I left Haresh at the office to continue strolling around Monrovia. As we walked back up Randall Street, Kavita stopped at Super Cool's store. She wanted to pop in and say hello. The lady was quite pleased to see her. I understood that Kavita has made quite a few friends on Randall Street while she walks with Musu. 

We then met a couple of fellows selling moringa leaves. They told me to boil the leaves and drink the tea. I bought a bunch for $ LD 100.00. One of the men walked in front of me and, started selling the leaves. "Back pain, malaria, anything" could seemingly be cured with these leaves. "See moringa.com," he called out. That part of his marketing made me smile and I paused to take his photograph. He gave me shot with his arms wide open. 


We dropped off the leaves at the house. Kavita wanted to stay on to practice her ballet (she makes graceful leaps around the living room, I think she's learned about ballet from Max and Ruby and some story books). I convinced her to keep going for another short walk. "Let's enjoy the weather," I implored her. "We'll have tea when we come back." 

So, we kept walking. Kavita insisted on walking into Tiny Tots, a children's clothing and toy shop right next to Compu Tech. She looked around and I told her we're just window shopping. 

We kept walking and bought some bananas to snack on. 


We stopped by the mosque on Benson Street. The azaan was being called out and, I peeked into a small stall selling tasbee, jaanamaaz, skull caps, incense sticks. I even bought a few "Aladdin" incense sticks from India.



We passed some boutiques. 


We passed a DVD shop and I saw some interesting film posters. Kavita became obsessed with a fake fire. It was one of those devices that looked like a flame. She didn't believe it until the shop keepers let her touch it. She kept asking to touch it over and over again. 

We kept going and, came to the intersection of Mechlin and Carey Streets. I bought some honey from Guinea. The vendors were from Guinea but they were third generation Liberians. When I asked why they still considered themselves from Guinea, they said it was because Immigration officials would often harass them and tell them they are from Guinea. Some girls shopping in the next store turned around and engaged the conversation. It kept going and, I couldn't stay because Kavita got bored. 



I hope the honey will be good. 

We walked on and browsed in the book stalls under the old Ministry of Education. I managed to find some Liberian children's books! That was quite exciting. What was nice to see was that the illustrations by artists I actually know through the NATC technology art contest. 




Kavita wanted to go home but I convinced her I wanted to see the red flame trees on Broad Street. So, we kept walking up Broad Street and, I took some photographs of the beautiful trees.