Tuesday, 31 December 2013

First-year birthday preparations

Haresh and I are excitedly preparing for Kavita's first birthday. I can't believe she's going to be a year old this Sunday. 

This time last year I was told by my OB that I needed to come in for an induction since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. I was resisting it since I had heard that inductions commonly lead to C-sections. So, I never went for the scheduled induction and, instead went to see "Django Unchained" on New Year's eve at Chipo's local cinema with Chipo, her cousin Mardia, and of course Haresh. We had an amazing time and had sips of bubbly afterwards. 

Haresh designed the cards on his computer and then we printed them out on our inkjet printer. Honestly, the result is not so sharp but they look endearing since they are handmade. 

For some reason we have pink construction paper in our office so we decided to make our own pink envelopes. We used this link to make them: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Envelope

Sunday, 29 December 2013

LEC and water blues

The LEC has been going on and off on a schedule for the past few days: 11 AM to 5 PM and, 7:30 PM to midnight. It is what we call "load shedding" in Pakistan. 

Today, the LEC broke with this schedule and, it is really nice to be sitting at home without the hum of the generator. Let's hope it doesn't go off in the evening, too. I wonder which Sunday movie is going to be on tonight on M-NET 1.

It goes without saying that one spends a lot of one's time worrying, stressing and, thinking about electricity and water:
  • Is the LEC on? How many units do we still have? 
  • Is that a power surge? Switch everything OFF!!! 
  • Turn on the generator! Turn off the AC first. 
  • Please make me a cup of tea but turn off one of the ACs since we can't turn the kettle on at the same time while the generator is on.
  • Is the LEC still out? Oh my God, I can't stand the generator hum. F*** the LEC! I hate this place. What am I doing in this godforsaken place?
  • Don't forget to service the generator this weekend.
  • No, we can't turn on the microwave; we are on generator. 
  • The LEC is back!  Switch the breaker back to the LEC. Oh my God, the breaker just burnt. It's Christmas tomorrow. Where will we find an electrician on Christmas day?
  • Here is $ 20.00 and please go and re-fuel the generator. 
  • Why is the generator not coming on? Go and, get a technician from Hi-Tech. Why do I need to change all those parts. Make sure you test the generator before you pay him.
  • Patience, create a separate file for LEC.
And, here are some memorable moments concerning water which like electricity you don't even think about in other countries:
  • Haresh, I had a dream about LWS and I was cursing them.
  • For 2 years, we haven't had running water in our pipes. 
  • Guess what, Master Trading folks told me that they asked LWS to cut off the building's line because they keep coming up with bogus bills. But I wish they had asked the rest of the tenants. 
  • Christiana is saying the water level is low so we must call the water truck, Haresh. 
  • Farzana, please give $ 20.00 to Emmanuel so he can give it to Christiana at the house for the water truck.
  • Haresh, it's 7 PM and the water truck still hasn't come round. 
  • Farzana, let's just buy gallons of water for tonight because Hussein is not answering his phone.
  • Please turn off the water heater before you turn on the generator.
  • At least we can harvest rain water during the rainy season and, not have to spend friggin' $ 20 every week on water.
  • Haresh, look, the ceiling is leaking from all the rain. Remember when you were securing the outdoor AC unit and, you guys dug too deep?
  • Yuck, this water is so muddy.
  • "Haresh, please put some Dettol in the bathwater." "Farzana, No, it burns my eyes."
  • Haresh, look those friggin' neighbour's tanks are again leaking all over the place.
  • I am so used to bucket showers now.
  • Friend: "When I first came to Monrovia, I used to check in to the Kendeja just to take a hot shower."
I fully appreciate that for people who are not as fortunate as me, their day to day efforts to get access to electricity and water are very very different.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Cloud formation

Spotted an interesting cloud formation on the roof top terrace garden while waiting for our dinner party guests to arrive. 

Have you ever seen clouds like these?

What do you think they look like?

Nine soldier heads?  Nine helmet heads? Nine mice? Nine flying saucers? Nine sea horses?

Sunday, 22 December 2013


A wonderful day trip with Sando and Diane which we thoroughly enjoyed. We haven't been to Robertsport in quite a long while and, it was really nice to be back. We left at around 9:30 AM and, got there just in time for lunch which we had at Nana's Lodge. Lunch was a delicious joloff rice with fried chicken. I was a bit disappointed, though, to see how run down Nana's Lodge is now. Kavita enjoyed the ocean, the sand and the water. I donned on my swimsuit and got a little bit wet but the huge waves were quite scary. I just sat on the beach and, enjoyed the waves lapping over me. No, there aren't any pics of me in a swim suit because they aren't too flattering. I dozed off under the tree at one point while Kavita was happily pottering around on the sand and, Diane was only too kind to mind her. I wish we had some more time to walk around the town and take some pictures of the pretty buildings. On the drive back, we played some car games like "I spy with my little eye" and counted off capitals alphabetically. We got stuck at E.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Good Monday morning!

This morning's workout was quite hectic and, energised me. We went around town, interrupted our walk by bursts of stretching exercises, and, then went back up on Benson hill. We left at 6:30 AM and, I came home just after 8:00 AM. 

I was sweaty, bothered and, extremely thirsty since the dry season sun was up and beating down on my head. 

I really enjoyed it because we took a different route. 

Traffic and people were already teeming on the streets. 

I came home, showered, woke up Kavita and, bathed and dressed her. We came to the office. I am having my first cup of tea and, will soon eat my egg sandwich that I bring to work every day. But I am already feeling drowsy and, extremely tired. It's that delicious achy feeling and, you know you're going to have a beautiful nap. 

Let's see how long I am able to function for this morning without falling asleep at my desk. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sunday walk

We had a very scrumptious brunch at the Royal today with some friends. We stuffed our faces, then went down to the ground floor to have a coffee at Kaldis Koffee. 

Usually, we go home in a car and, then take long naps. The three of us!

Today, we decided to take a leisurely stroll home. 

It was a cloudy, slightly drizzly day so, the walk was quite pleasant. 

It took us about an hour to get home since we were not in any rush. Kavita managed to get a nap, too. 

I always love taking pictures of the barbing salons. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Plastic Christmas Trees on Randall Street

See a picture of plastic Christmas gleaming under the scorching sun on the corner of Randall Street and UN Drive. 

Somehow, after ten years of living in Liberia, I can't imagine Christmas without these these plastic trees with their kitsch decorations. I even have one in my office. Christmas is celebrated with such zeal and fan fare here. Who is to say these Christmas trees, the throng of street sellers, the Christmas carols blaring out on the old cassette players, and, the magnificent overcrowded Waterside is not Christmassy? 

Not to say that I don't enjoy being in a city like London or Chicago when it is Christmas and, everything is so cozy and, consumerism is at peak levels. 

My friend in Chicago, Chipo, is complaining of the bitter cold (-18) and resenting all the layers she has to put on while muttering "Bah Humbug!" under her breath. And, here I am, my face literally melting in the dry season heat of Liberia and, cursing "It's not easy oh!" over my breath. 

I love talking about the weather.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas lights on Randall Street

The supermarket, Harbel Supermarket, opposite our office has put up some Christmas lights. 

My first three funky bookshelves

Check out my funky book shelves! The carpenter is going to bring the picture frames in a day or two. Then, I'll design some funky chairs. I don't know whether to put the word out now or wait for everything to come together. 

I told my best friend about the idea and, the name Tea Reading and Books. She said that could be tag line and, the company name should be Tea Salon. That's not a bad idea at all! 

So, I invested the money for the first 3 bookshelves and 9 picture frames. I'm going to set it up as a picture framing service. 

By the end of this week, I'll need to figure out pricing. 

Friday, 6 December 2013

Good morning from between two Doric columns!


 Nelson Mandela was great because he devoted his life to FIGHTING apartheid. He trained to fight, he fought and went to prison. Let's not forget it and, remember to honour that, too.

He was great because he was in solidarity with his great contemporaries such as Castro and Arafat. Let's not forget him or his contemporaries, those he received support from and, who he admired. 

Coming out of prison and forgiving his tormentors, enemies and, the apartheid state is just one aspect of his struggle. 

The so-called peaceful end of apartheid came at a great cost, years of fighting and organising by the ANC, by ordinary South Africans, black and white, international boycott of South Africa and, Mandela's role. 

Nelson Mandela's legacy will live on if the more powerful and rich in South Africa start building an equal and just society selflessly. Mandela's legacy will live on if the black peoples of South Africa finally get to see some social justice in exchange for the enormous leap of faith they made after Mandela and the ANC led post-apartheid South Africa into a new future. 

Mandela's legacy will live on if world leaders would speak honestly and truthfully and, work towards real peace and justice. Mandela was great because he spoke against imperialism. 

He called Bush's advisors "dinosaurs" when they were getting ready to invade Iraq. 

Mandela first visited Israel as well as the Palestinian territories in 1999 and said: "To the many people who have questioned why I came, I say: Israel worked very closely with the apartheid regime. I say: I've made peace with many men who slaughtered our people like animals. Israel cooperated with the apartheid regime, but it did not participate in any atrocities". 

Almost all the world leaders who paid lip service last night at news of Mandela's passing away, sadly, none of them will not carry on his legacy. 

Mandela was a great man in every sense of the word. Mandela was one of the greatest Africans and, we thank Africa. 

I can only hope to have to a little bit of the courage, humility, sense of justice, and dignity that Mandela lived his life by. 

Today is the day we all lay claim to Mandela, to his struggle, his life, his legend. 

Long live freedom and justice. Long live Africa!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A government official with atheistic tendencies

After meeting and dealing with countless corrupt, slimy and greedy public officials, it was so refreshing to meet a government figure who is principled, charming and has atheistic tendencies. 

The meeting started out in quite a stern and rather daunting atmosphere. I nervously presented our explanation for an invoice we presented to him regarding a faulty printer which, after replacing a very expensive part, is still acting funny. We got a lengthy lecture on customer service, how things are done elsewhere, and, what we need to make it up to him. We had a very professional discussion and, eventually came to a very reasonable agreement and, got more business. 

Inevitably, though, the conversation meandered to corruption, politics and, how Haresh and I met. Haresh made a funny joke about religion and, how he and I didn't follow one. Lo and behold, our client whips out his smart phone and, starts showing us all kinds of atheist jokes. He said, "Religion just doesn't add up." Of all the interesting encounters I have had, this was the first one that didn't involve religion and ruffled feathers.

Monday, 2 December 2013

I'm starting my own design company

For the past couple of years, I've been obsessed withome decor. 

I've got a lot of the furniture in my apartment locally made and, everyone asks me about it. 

So, I decided to start my own design company as a hobby: funky bookshelves, funky picture frames and funky chairs. 

The company name is going to be Tea Reading and Books. 

See some photos of when I went to check on the carpenter today: