25 August 2006


Computers hate me this summer. Not only did I manage to destroy my laptop (courtesy of the power supply at the Ministry of Gender) , but I also managed to lose/get stolen my flash drive, the home of every document I've written since I got here. Big problem. I would have cried except that:

1. I'd already cried twice in the previous 24 hours about much worse problems.
2. I had copied the important files onto the loaner computer only a week before so not all that much was lost.

But it was frustrating. Now I am writing directly online because one of things I lost was all the typing I did on a word document that was all my blog posts for the summer, which I had not backed up. I will now have to copy and paste them back into word from online. Fun. Computers are out to get me. The one I'm using now, for example, is a Dell, with one of those batteries that they just recalled because they can EXPLODE. All I need in my last week in Liberia is an EXPLODING battery.

I am staying in Liberia an extra week, despite the loving advice of my generally-correct mommy. Some people have suggested that maybe I'm not going back at all, but unfortunately they are wrong. I owe too much money to the bank that holds my loans to be able to do anything like stay in Liberia for another year. Or two. Or three, which is what it would end up being.

This morning I got pulled over for the fifth time since I started driving this car, which happens because there is no license plate on the front of the car. Normally I am very calm and things are fine. I explain the situation, I smile nicely and I move on. Today, however, on Capital Bye-Pass, a police officer pulled me over and tried to GET INTO THE CAR. I sort of freaked out, which I shouldn't have done, and told him emphatically and in Liberian English that I would pull over and talk to him but there was no way he was getting in the car. Ever.

Neither he, nor his supervisor, nor the other people in my car, were amused.

So there was a lot of shouting and the police tried to impound the car and I refused to go anywhere and finally I had to call a rather well-known Liberian colleague, who I had just seen drive by, and have him come and talk the officer off his irate ledge of fury over the fact that I had told him that if he was looking for money, he would not be getting it from me (yet another mistake). Then while the ledge-talker-downer was talking the officer off the ledge of fury, I remembered how to do this (because come to think of it, I do actually know) and I had a nice chat with the other officer involving the need for respect for the police and how it would be so much easier to talk in a civilized manner if police did not just try to get into your car without saying anything to you first. And how respectable police wouldn't get in your car in the first place.

I frankly cannot believe that they allow this. I would think, after so many years of war and abuse of power, Liberians would beat senseless any unarmed officer (they are all unarmed) who got into their car. Apparently this has happened. I am not surprised.

1 comment:

traci said...

please email me as soon as humanly possible. tell me everything.