The Uncommon Man

November 06, 2006

Leaving Liberia

Friday, 3 November

After packing my bag, I spent the morning at the IRC office preparing my report on the first visit and coaching Ballah and Alfred (MIP trainer) on a workshop design on male socialization and violence. The afternoon drive to the airport was filled with a flood of gratitude - for the opportunity to witness Liberia at this moment in history, for being able to reach so many people in such a short time, for the work of IRC and other NGOs in providing support in the recovery and reconstruction, and for the resilience and beauty of the Liberian people in the face of poverty and war.

And then I sat in the airport for the next four hours waiting for the plane to depart. By the time I reached Lagos it was nighttime, and I was grateful to be met at the airport by a tall man with a beaming smile who wrapped me in an enthusiastic hug. Uduma, my guide from DOVENET in Abakaliki, then introduced me to Fidele, who had just arrived from Rwanda. Stephen and Stanislaus from Zambia had arrived early, and traveled to Abakaliki in the same day. We needed to stay the night in Lagos.

The energy of Lagos was like New York City with a third world lens. Our driver wove through traffic at high speed. Interactions with others had the hard edge. And we were cautioned to keep our doors locked and windows rolled up. Everywhere we turned someone was looking for a handout. I was very glad to have Uduma and the driver with us for the night. Between the four of us, the conversation lasted well into the small hours of the morning.

— Steven Botkin, Executive Director
Men's Resouces International, USA

Posted by Daniel at November 6, 2006 08:59 AM

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