Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HRUSA Blogs from Liberia: Day 1, Touching Down

HRUSA's Piper Hendricks blogs from Liberia as she meets with HRUSA's clients and undergoes extensive document collection. On Day 1, she finally touches down in the capital city of Monrovia after multiple days of travel...

I arrived safely in Monrovia tonight. It’s ~82F/28C and I must say seeing palm trees in November is always a delight. From the airport, we passed several impressive buildings, including City Hall, the UNMIL building, and, my personal favorite, the Justice building. Unfortunately, arriving in the evening makes it difficult to really get a sense of your surroundings, but my limited impression so far is that it is a pretty mellow place. Of course, that may be because I’m listening to a band play praise music in front of the Carter Center housing and hearing the rolling waves of the Atlantic ocean in the backyard. A Senator here recently passed away, so word on the street is that her daughter arrived from America for the ceremony - hence the music out front. Also the reason for the coverage on local TV of the Senatorial run-off election, which I caught a bit of tonight eating rice and chicken (every part of the chicken, I believe) down at Sweet Lips CafĂ©.

Tomorrow I will hit the ground running on collecting documents for trial. Some say that one needs a machete to cut through the red tape around here, but thanks to several helpful individuals with whom I spoke before leaving the States, I should be able to get a good start. Another obstacle, of course, is that some documents one might expect to have in other countries are not available here - when a country is mired in a civil war, survival is your top priority - not making sure files are in order. We’ve known this but it will be interesting to see what is available.

I hope to be able to blog fairly regularly while I’m here. If anyone following HRUSA abroad has questions, feel free to ask me, ask me, ask me. I’m happy to answer them as I’m able. ~Piper

Check back in regularly for updates from Piper as she's in the field. Also - be sure to mark your calendars for November 30th at 4pm, when Piper will host a conference call to talk about her trip to Liberia and the upcoming trial against Chuckie Taylor. Be sure to post any questions you have for Piper in advance!

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