8 August 2006
And, still at work. And I have to be back at 8:00 a.m. Tired, so tired.
C left on Sunday, R is leaving tomorrow, and J is leaving on Friday. I’m all sad and stuff about being alone, but I keep thinking, “Maybe I’ll finally get to sleep.” It gets crazy to be out until all hours and back at work early. I will never be a good lawyer. I don’t have the right work hard, play hard ethic. I need too much sleep.
9 August 2006
So here are two little interrelated stories: two and a half weeks ago, C and R and I got done with work surprisingly early one Saturday (like 2 p.m) and went to the beach. I went for a long walk, and when I came back, C and R were just getting in from swimming.
Out we went, past where the waves broke, but closer in than the far break. We paddled out there for a while, and then decided to come back in even though it had only been a few minutes. After five or ten minutes of swimming toward shore, we realized that we were actually no closer. And no closer. And no closer.
We were alone at the beach (Sunday is beach day here; everyone works on Saturday) except for a few surfers, and R, being the smart one of the bunch, hailed them over as soon as we realized that swimming and swimming was getting us nowhere. A surfer came over and tried to help us – we were both clinging to the back of the surfboard while he paddled in. Nothing. He called over another surfer and R and I split up. He went with the first surfer and I with the new one. I hung onto the rope at the back of the board and whenever we went through a wave, the board gave a horrible jerk at my arms (poor, poor wrists) and we went… nowhere. The first surfer gave his board over to Rich, who laid on it and paddled in, but I couldn’t balance on the board and I was still pretty non-tired, so the new surfer stayed by me and let me hold on and float every once in a while, but generally I just swam. And swam. And swam. And swam.
Far away on shore, C was standing at the edge of the water, a row of observers next to her, staring out at us in horror.
After a while, which turned out to be about 30 or 35 minutes, I saw R catch a few good waves on the board and make it into shore, while I was still out beyond the breaking point. And then suddenly I was in the breaking waves and wave after wave tumbled me over and over into shore. I barely had time to get my breath between them.
I may have very unfortunately spread the “we almost drowned” story all around
Then on Sunday evening, after dropping C off at the airport, R and J and I went to
We are not foolish people. We don’t want to die in a riptide off the coast of
Just as we were getting out of the water on one of our little floating rides, one of the UN people who had pulled in at the same time as us, out a little past his depth, began to flounder and yell for help. He wasn’t alone, so we didn’t immediately think of doing anything, but when he went under during a wave and didn’t come back up, R, who was closest, swam out to him and hauled him to the top of the water.
R’s description of the event goes something like this: “So I was just grabbing him anywhere I could and shoving him toward the top of the water and then when a wave came I would shove him forward hoping that it would carry him toward shore but then he would go under again and I would grab at him again and push his head out of water.”
After a very tense few minutes, R and the other guy and the drowning guy all made it in to shore. And R and J and I promptly walked back upstream and got back in the ocean.
The guy came over later to thank R. It turns out that R saved a military police officer working for the UN. Don’t they teach swimming anymore in the military? Or the police? Apparently not in the Middle East or
My “we almost drowned” story suddenly pales by comparison.
11 August 2006
It’s a big girl world now
Full of big girl things
And every day
I wish I were small
But I have ended up in
With no map to guide me home
The strangest place I think I’ve ever been
~Kendall Payne, Scratch
13 August 2006
I try not to say too much about work on here because I want to keep working here and blogging can be detrimental to one’s work tenure, but I really do love my job here in
But generally I love it. You know you love your job when you get your stuff together to go to a restaurant with internet on Sunday afternoon and you go to take the work stuff out of your backpack and can’t quite bring yourself to do it, because you might want to work on some of it. It is crazy. It is busy. I often work for twelve hours a day during the week and eight on Saturday. I rarely get lunch. As of Wednesday, when R left, I am the only non-African (all but two are Liberian) in the office. We the office staff have spent a lot of time in some pretty close quarters, like 8 to an office, so we are all very comfortable with each other. The women hold my hand and the men try to. We laugh a lot.
Last night the Liberian-American intern from work had a goodbye party at New Jack’s, across the street from Mamba Point hotel. I drove (heh heh – car is a new development, gifted by one of my coworkers) and somehow left way too early, with one of my coworkers and his brother and yet another friend of a friend who is visiting from
The guard at the gate of the restaurant remembered me from last time and exclaimed again about how I sound more Liberian than he does – which I actually do, often, because my Liberian English is country, not city. On the way home, the Liberian police officer at the UN checkpoint remembered me, too, and waved me through without demanding registration and the other things he tried to demand the night before because there are some license plate issues with the gifted car. Out past the ELWA junction dropping off M. and his brother, we were stopped by a large group of armed UN soldiers. (I don’t stop unless a checkpoint has: 1. weapons, or 2. a physical barrier across the road. Otherwise I assume they are not serious.) And again when we turned off near his brother’s house, we were stopped by a UN patrol, who told us they were patrolling for rogues. Of course we had to stop at both again on the way back. I drove through the dark, trying to miss potholes and people while oncoming traffic refused to turn off its high beams. As we pulled up to the gate of the compound, M. called to make sure we had arrived okay. “We’re fine,” I said, “Just now at the gate.” And I honked the horn, even though there is a sign saying not to, and in the beam of the headlights I saw feet under the gate, coming to open it.