February 10, 2007
MRI in Liberia: A Painstakingly Slow Road to Recovery
We ended this day at a restaurant with tables literally on the beach sand. Sitting just yards away from the thundering surf, the offshore night breeze sending waves of mist over us, the sky awash with stars, drinking beer and eating a mountain of food, we were painfully aware of the realities of extreme poverty that surrounded us.
Chatting with the security guards at the entrance of the restaurant, I was told that they are paid 1,500 Liberian dollars per month (with the exchange rate at 60:1, this is the equivalent of $25 USD/month). He further explained that a sack of rice costs $1,400 Liberian. The weight of this reality is hard to fathom, and it is frightening to think what happens to people when they feel hopeless about anything changing this situation. The cynicism of the security guards about the government's ability to make any changes was reflected in a CNN report on Liberia later that night that said unemployment is at 85%, international economic aid is inadequate, and there are thousands of recently disarmed ex-combatants in the country.
The war is over, and the country is on a painstakingly slow road to recovery, but the desperation and frustration of these young men multiplied by an ever expanding urban population of repatriated refugees and internally displaced people leaves the peace on fragile ground.
â€” Steven Botkin, Executive Director
Men's Resources International, USA
To read a compilation of all blog entries from Liberia with pictures, click here.
Posted by Daniel at February 10, 2007 03:26 AM