Steve is currently in Liberia teaching negotiation to 30 people at Cuttington University including academics, farmers, members of women’s groups and agriculture students through his work at Negocio Solutions. Here are some of his notes from his first week in country:
My travels have taken me now away from the (relative) comfort of Monrovia out to the University. It is hot and oppressively humid and the power only runs for 14 hours a day….from 12 midnight to 7 am we just have to swelter. This is better than most of the population who have no power.
The GDP of the whole country is about $A2 million. Not a lot when you consider that the turnover of Westfarmers Limited that owns Coles is $30 billion!!! My guess is that we waste more food every day in Australia than gets to the plates of all of the 4 million or so Liberians.
This first picture is in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and the sad little boy called Arvi is with his dad John who were on the way to the clinic because poor little Arvi had a fever. They were waiting for the local transport which are taxis that work like buses, they pack in as many as they can as they drive along Tubman Ave, to or from town.
The second photo is much happier for all of us. After the 4 hour drive to Cuttington from Monrovia there is still not a vegetable in sight (and not much fruit) and no one serves vegetable or puts them into the pungent bush meat stews that are the staple (with rice in huge quantities). I was SO glad to see Menwotamba (12 yrs) and Victoria (10 yrs) with their mum Moore selling pineapples, bananas, avocados and Liberian Plumbs (mangoes).
Believe me the low hanging fruit is gone before you can say “lunchtime”. So the kids did the picking for me and the price of them doing that was $L60 or about 70c AUD.
My fruit is in the fridge chilling and when it is a little cool I will dig in and enjoy and remember how lucky I am! Pass the ice cream if you can….not likely in Liberia!!!
All the best from Gbarngar and Cuttington University.
Photos compliments of Steve Lancken