Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Monrovia, Liberia, January 15, 2019

What a great sleep I had, inspite of The Exorcist singer who had moved down the road a bit and the 3 am and 6 am bells that they use as a security measure.  Poor Shelby woke up around 4 swollen up from some allergy so she tried sleeping outside, then vomited and was still puffy this morning.  I'm glad I'm avoiding those ants!  She isn't the only casualty today.  Terry is limping around and we all gasped when he showed us his leg-

He was taken to the hospital where his wound was cleaned and he was given a couple prescriptions of antibiotics.

We went back into town, first to the National Museum which is excellent and not even mentioned in Lying Planet.  Naturally, photos weren't allowed but I did managed to take a couple.  There are 16 different tribes in the country and each tribe has its own style of mask.  They are worn for ceremonies and during rituals-

Sometimes, complete costumes are worn as well.  They must sweat buckets-

From what I learned in the museum, Liberia was doing very well with William V.S. Tubman as president from 1944 - 1970.  He increased the value of foreign investment by 200%, improved roads, developed a railway, sanitation systems were built as were hospitals.  In the 1950's, Liberia had the second highest rate of economic growth in the world.  In 1971, they had the largest mercantile fleet and the world's largest rubber industry.  Tolbert became Vice President in 1952, working well with Tubman, but when Tubman died, Tolbert changed a lot about the country.  Liberia had been closely tied with the U.S. but Tolbert stopped this.  He joined forces with Cuba, the Soviet Union and China - quite the switch and eventually the people rebelled.  

The first civil war started in 1989 and lasted for 8 years.  250.000 were killed.  The second civil war started in 1999 and lasted 4 years.  300,000 died.  As the country was getting back on its feet, Ebola hit in March 2014 and lasted until June 2016.  There were only 50 doctors in the country, one for every 70,000 people.  10,666 people were infected and 4806 died.  The country has come a long way considering all they've been through.  

Next we hopped in a cab to see the Ducor Hotel which was destroyed during one of the civil wars.  It was a five star-

with a beautiful entry and staircase, all gone to shit-

It had a swimming pool-

and the view would have been lovely-

On the top floor was the lounge-

and this was the bar-

The only thing remainung is the marble floor-

Of course vandals have "decorated"=

We hired a cab to wait for us at the hotel and then drive us to the Ghhana embassy.  There we learned that the Côte d'Ivoire embassy required some more information about the contents of the truck and that was easily settled.  
The centre of town is where it's really happening and where the Liberians hang out-

Eventually we got back to camp, only to learn April had fallen at the museum and was in the hospital with a back issue.  Three people down in one day!  Hope she'll be all right!  We are picking up Côte d'Ivoire visas tomorrow at 2 and then heading out of town.  I'm looking forward to moving on!  

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