Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Top 5 Memories of Liberia

Hello Lovers --

I know I've taken an abnormally, uncomfortably long break from my blog, but Oh! The lessons life has revealed in the past two months...

I want to start by sharing the Top 5 memories I have from my trip back to Liberia. As I stated in my very first post, this page represents matters of my heart and soul and I became most exposed to these feelings when I returned to the land I could never know but will always love. For Liberia is indeed my heart and soul, and the reason I have to keep working. I have to be able to provide for my people.

These are in no particular order.

1-- Family. I spent a lot of time with my father and grandmother. Anyone who knows me knows why this is such a big deal. I used to claim to be fatherless. But the Lord puts people in your life without revealing reason, you just have faith that things are where they need to be so you can be the best person you can. I have an amazing family. I always have. If it weren't for my mother's strength in times when she could have been weak, I wouldn't understand how powerful a woman could be if she walks by the Lord. Being with my father made me appreciate my mother even more.She obviously gets her strength from my grandmother. From small, she was always my best friend. I'll never forget my traditional Christmas dinner, down to the red velvet cake, or riding around Monrovia in my father's car. He and I ate meals together for the first time in 5 years. I always wanted the opportunity to be daddy's girl and I got the chance for 3 weeks, and I was reunited with my grandmother, my best friend. It was the Christmas of a lifetime really.

2-- The Lebanese own everything profitable in Liberia. At least all the tourist spots. It's kind of a shame that we don't own much in our own country. In my mind we will always be oppressed if we don't find ownership in our home. As nice as the casinos are, and as much time as I spent in the sushi bar for my own personal reasons, I would just love to put money in our own pockets. The Lebanese don't have to pay taxes on their businesses. So every cent they make (and they make large USD) goes directly in their pockets. With 84% of Liberians living below the poverty line, we'll never find our way out from under without entrepreneurship meaning more than pushing gum and bags of water on the streets. It's nice to live in a good house and have access to cars, but all I really want is neighbors. I want Liberians to run their own country in every way.

3-- I loved getting clothes made. And it was sooooo cheap! I'm ready for the next Liberian function to show off my gowns! And ladies I will be having a boutique sale so you can have your own pieces of Liberia :)

4-- There's nothing like swimming in the Atlantic Ocean even if you know it may carry you away forever. And there's nothing like cussing out the watchman for falling asleep when he's supposed to be alert and making sure predators stay away. Nothing beats falling asleep in the club because it doesn't shut down until 8am. And you haven't lived until you've seen the lights on Capital Hill when it's Christmas. Or the view from Inez Cooper's restaurant. Or naming your own price for everything you want. I can't complain about Atlanta traffic, because at least here there are rules. I love being a Bernard/ Bush/ Urey, because I can break them all. I love being a Liberian girl.

5-- But the poverty is too much. The children in the streets and at the orphanage were all so beautiful, and any of them could have been me or my sisters or brother. I am a lucky one because I know where I come from, but even luckier because I had a way out. My mother once told me "the only thing comparable to war is hell, and no one knows that until they live in one." Well hell ripped through, and after the flames died down, all that's left are shells and feelings.

Before I left, my roommate asked me "So are you gonna come back all African?" And I stood there perplexed. I really didn't know what to say. I've always been Liberian, but how would anyone feel to have a home that they never knew? A whole background you could only hear about and never see because of the outcomes of destructive war. No one should have to ever question who I am because I should always be proud of where I come from. No, three weeks isn't enough time to build a whole life, but I'm grateful that I was able to quickly experience the land that made me.

Other deal sweeteners:
- There's a girl there who is named after me. No really her name is Archel.
- Acrylic fill in is $10. Pedicure is $10. Full sew in is $15.
-The kids at the orphanage showed me the pigs and then laughed at me when I ran scared. Chivalry is dead everywhere, I'm convinced.
- It was 2010 5hrs earlier than Atlanta.
- Ro-zi's makes these bomb ass lemon tarts and yes I made it to Sunday brunch every Sunday to partake.
- Ok I did get sick and go to the hospital and it was a mess. Like ants on the bed.
- I never had to clean up after myself. We had people for that, and the world knows I'm a mess.
- My grandpa, who can't speak, said I am the heiress to his fortune. I got his head nod on camera.
- I made lots of money in the casinos by smiling. Plus you eat and drink for free. It's a gold digger's paradise.
- I met my godson Jimmy Neal Jr. on one of the last few days there. I already love him, although he was asleep when I saw him. Maybe that was part of it. He and I will be family forever and he doesn't even know yet.
- Our driver Owen likes "I Can Transform Ya."
- My dad's anthem is DMX "What These Bitches Want..." Awkward...

Next time I'm taking my sisters with me! There are a million and one more pictures on my facebook page. I have promised myself I can't visit any other blogs (YBF specifically) until my blog is current. I'm coming guys! Thanks for supporting your favorite aspiring journalist.

To learn more about Liberian life, I hate to say this, but read the New York Times Bestselling novel The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper. They used to sell it at Starbucks. Supposed to be an amazing book. I'll get around to reading it once she accepts me as a facebook friend.

For kicks, experience LIB State of Mind: http://wdc01.web.burst-dev.com/music/player.php?upload=105453&from_share=1&challenge=614410706&autostart=true

1 comment:

  1. The story of our lives. I literally saw myself in too many aspects of this story. Liberia for all its flaws is still a magical place.