UA-63899747-1 Back to Liberia Day 5 – Nzinga Harrison, MD
Back to Liberia Day 4
January 13, 2014
Back to Liberia Day 6
January 15, 2014

Well, the little white pills worked wonders!  They dried up my runny/bloody nose and I had a great night of antihistamine-induced sleep.  So much that I heard the rooster crow at 4:15am and fell right back asleep for another hour and half as he continued to crow.   Since there is not much to tell about the day, I will use this chance to tell a couple of funny, but unrelated stories and make a few observations about cultural differences.  Cultural differences first:

  1. I have not seen one woman with nail polish on either the finger or the toes
  2. Of the hundreds and hundreds of Liberians I have seen, only 5 had on sunglasses.  (Yes, I counted).  All five were men.
  3. Walking long distance is a fact of life in Liberia.
  4. In Liberia, they do not mix their food on the same plate.  (My cousin Stephanie and Uncle Kelvin could definitely appreciate this).  If they want it mixed, they mix it bite by bite.
  5. The pedestrian does not have the right of way.  And everyone knows this.
  6. Liberians drive down the middle of the street until another car is coming.
  7. Liberians drive as fast as your vehicle will allow and pass on the left, always honking your horn so that the car or motorcycle you’re passing knows to move out of your way.
  8. The only thing Liberians reliably hit the brakes for is a chicken or fowl in the road.
  9. There is no car that is too old or too broken to drive.
  10. There is no number of people that is too many to fit in one car.
  11. Even in the professional setting, women still serve men.  As an example, we all eat lunch together.  The men go in the cafeteria and sit down.  The women serve the men, and then sit down to eat themselves.
  12. Liberians do not drink their beverage with their meal.  The beverage is typically a bottled water which stays unopened on the table until all of their food is gone.  Then, they drink the whole bottle.
  13. There is an anti-rape education campaign going on in the country.  The billboards say “Do not do grown man and woman business with me, I am a child.”
  14. I saw a billboard for a condom ad with a handsome man that said "Cool and Suave men wear Sharp condoms."

A couple of funny stories:

Our drivers have to log every mile they drive in the vehicle log.  We were driving top speed this morning down a narrow road and I thought, we must be going 70 mph!  So, I looked at the odometer which read 0kph.  Then, I took a look at the vehicle log, and every starting/ending mileage entry since December 1, 2013 was 80,777.  And yet, the driver continues faithfully to keep the log.

Another story:  As I was going from the classroom to the cafeteria, I saw no less than 10 lizards skittering about (GEICO type lizards, you know – cute).  So I casually mentioned it to Peter, the course coordinator.  He said there are two types of lizards.  The personal kind and the other kind.  I say, the personal kind?  You mean pets?  He says, no the kind that will make it personal.  If they feel you have cornered them, they will spit on you, jump on you and bite you.  They are poisonous.   Of course, on the way back to the classroom, there was a lizard on the walkway.  I’m thinking – how do I know if you’re the personal kind or not?  So, I avoided eye contact and pretended I was invisible until he ran off.

That’s it for today.   Tomorrow is the last day of lecture, and then clinicals will start.  No pictures today folks, just words.

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