The Uncommon Man

February 08, 2007

MRI in Liberia: Heat and Hope

The heat here is brutal, and there is less air conditioning than in any of my other trips to Africa. The last day of the training went very well, and everyone was very satisfied. James and I are a great team for this work, and able to cover a wide range of content and process issues, providing participants a very personal and emotional experience.

Today we were at the Ministry of Gender and Development for the first day of a two day workshop on engaging men for community members from the Monrovia region. There were about 70 participants, 2/3 men. The city power was out, so there was no air conditioning, and the room was stifling. Lunch was delayed by road blockage until after 2:30 pm, and the workshop process was challenging, with many different levels of experience with the issues.

And yet, it was great to be there and witness the process of a country struggling to address and end violence. The brutal reality of these people's lives, both currently and historically, far outweighs the heat and challenges of the day, and their commitment to the issue and their communities is monumental. James and I facilitate tomorrow's session, and we are looking forward to the challenge of helping the group move forward.

We have had the luxury of ending our work days around 5 pm each day, and have been able to take walks on the street each evening. The sense of safety here is significantly greater than in Nigeria, and even more than when I was here in November. Some street lights are now powered by the government, and the streets are teeming with life. It is mind blowing to imagine the years of violence that terrorized this country, keeping people in hiding and fearful of being out on the street.

The days are passing quickly, each one filled with great challenges and adventures that I relish and feel very lucky to have. Imagining the cold in New England is quite delightful right now. And for those of you who are living with that, we are happy to share some of this heat with you.

With love,
Steven

Steven Botkin
Executive Director
Men's Resources International

To read a compilation of all blog entries from Liberia with pictures, click here.

Posted by Daniel at February 8, 2007 03:46 PM

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