For the next ten days, Nate is in East Africa for work, patiently accepting what probably seem like endless requests for him to bring back things like muffin tins (which, he reminds me, do not fit when you only have carry-ons), a stack of kikois and Bassett's wine gums. In the meantime, I get to see what the life of almost half the people I meet here is like. As in, how to handle Liberia, sola.
The first real manifestation of this came when I needed to go to the bank to access our savings account -- savings, because it's a no-fee account, only we have to remember only to access it a few times a month to avoid penalties and plan accordingly. This is proving difficult. Anyway, the bank is right beneath the now-abandoned Ducor Hotel, once the pride of Monrovia and built conspicuously on a hill. Only I didn't know how to find it. And Monrovia, on usually-trusty Google Maps, looks like this:
Staring up at the landmark and orientating myself accordingly doesn't work in Monrovia traffic -- the closest thing to driving in Cairo I've experienced. So, I took out the only other reference I had -- a mouse-eaten UN map Nate bought from UNMIL for the artistic purposes of collage, at least before the mouse got to it. Nonetheless, it still told me mostly, except for the visibly nibbled parts, where I needed to go.
Mission accomplished, I settled in to my proposal-writing day where I spend my afternoons. It's tough, you'll agree.