Monday, 8 February 2010

I've arrived!

So, I'm sitting in a Lebanese cafe in the heart of Monrovia using wifi and drinking an iced coffee - would you believe it?! I even managed to skype my nearly-90 year old Grandad! Can technology be more amazing?

My first impressions of Liberia then - beautiful from the sky as we were flying in. It's incredibly green and lush. The coast looks idyllic and unspoilt. I can't wait to try it out! Monrovia, as a capital city, is busy and lively. The traffic is crazy, hardly moving in the rush hour. It's full of New York style yellow taxis and everyone seems to love their horns, so you're never too far away from the sound of beeping. And it's hot! But I've been told to enjoy it, because from next month the rains arrive and they don't stop until November.

I haven't managed to take any photos yet but I'll post some as soon as I can. I don't know whether I've got a clear enough idea of the capital to be able to describe it properly, but I'll try. Everyone seems to get around in cars or motorbike taxis. There isn't really any high-rise buildings, Monrovia seems to be spreading outwards rather than upwards. People live on the sides of the main streets as well on the side streets - small shacks or concrete buildings, often with their own shop or stall on the front. It's chaotic and loud and crammed full of people, but incredibly friendly and there's always music coming from somewhere.

Other than that, I haven't got much more to report. I have found out I'll be working at a brand new radio station for women though, something I'm really excited about. With a female President leading the country, women's issues are a hot topic here!


Friday, 5 February 2010

Preparing to go...

Drugs (of the immodium and laxative variety), recording equipment, more drugs and knickers probably take up most of the room in my luggage. As I precariously stand on the scales with it in my arms, realising I am still over the Ethiopian Airlines weight limit, I decide I can't possibly sift through it all again for the third time. Instead, I hope the check-in staff are understanding and let me through without charging extra.

So, with my flight leaving tomorrow followed by ten months in Liberia ahead of me, all I can think about is the role I will be undertaking for the organisation, Journalists for Human Rights.
I am to be their multimedia trainer; training Liberian TV and radio journalists. My brief is also to freelance for Western media. I can't wait to get started but can't quite decide whether I'm filled with trepidation, excitement, or just plain fear. In two days time after flying through Addis Ababa, Lome, Accra and then finally to Monrovia, hopefully, I'll find out.