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Dr. Miller's Africa Trip-Day 13

Dr. Miller's Liberia, Africa Blog

Day 13, June 14, 2024

A REAL Iron, Starting Our Goodbyes, Ducor Hotel On The Hill, Dinner at Dr. Taylor's Home

Today we began the slow process of starting our goodbyes in Liberia.  Amos swung by to pick us up mid-morning today and I was relieved we did not have to start out too early as yesterday was such a high mark for the trip but also an exhausting one!  Before stopping at MCSS Central Office, we stopped at a local dress maker and tailor shop.  Mrs. Toe had a fitting last week for am authentic African dress she will wear for her upcoming birthday celebration.  No pictures of the dress as that would spoil the surprise but she will be stunning!  As we picked up the dress, I was slightly alarmed when the young lady who works there lit a small fire in the middle of the floor.  I quickly looked again to see that she was intentionally lighting the fire inside a metal object.  When I looked closer, I saw it was an old iron.  Mrs. Toe shared with me that she places coal inside the iron, lights the fire, and then you iron.  I could not believe the heat that came off the iron but I can see where it would certainly do the job!  Electricity can sometimes be a problem in Liberia and I'm sure in many African countries. Often, the lights will dim and sometimes go out altogether.  When this happens, there are people in most places who start up a generator and the power quickly comes back on.  Today, I was intrigued when for the first time, the water did not come out of the faucets.  I checked with the management and they shared that the reservoir where the hotel gets its water had run out and it would take approximately 30 minutes to get water recirculated to the hotel.  This has been my one and only water issue here as I was pleasantly surprised at how good our water pressure is and we have plenty of hot water.  As we made our way into town, we saw the usual people in the middle of the road selling plantain chips, candy, flags, paper towels, fruit, windshield wiper blades, and other familiar items.  Today I saw someone holding a live chicken!  I asked Amos if it was for sale and he said, "Yes!"  For about 12-15 dollars you could buy a chicken off the roadside vendor.  As we pulled into MCSS Central Office headquarters, we were greeted by the usual maintenance men and security.  My new name is affectionately "Dr. LIB."  I passed out my usual candy and we started our goodbyes as this will be our final time visiting the Central Office.  I took a picture of a bronze plate just inside the building which I have passed many times by now.  I just happened to look at it and saw the building was originally named The Educational Service Center!  That is the exact title of our administrative offices.  We started taking our pictures as I said goodbye to some new friends like Thomas, Eric, James, Comfort, and others.  Amos and I took a picture in front of our vehicle we have had for the past two weeks but I'm not ready to say goodbye to him yet!  He will remain our driver to the very end when he delivers us safely to the airport security.  He will be the hardest of all to say goodbye to as he has been our driver, security, bagman, photographer, friend, and all-around amazing guide.  After MCSS, we traveled to a former hotel that once held great status in Liberia named the Ducor Hotel On The Hill.  It sits high atop Monrovia and has an incredible view at the top.  Although it is now a vacant property, I can see how beautiful it must have been to stay there in its glory days.  We moved on to our hotel again then for a short rest and then got ready for dinner.  Dr. Taylor from The University of Liberia who is also Mrs. Toe's good friend, invited us to his home for dinner.  Dr. Taylor has a beautiful home that is gorgeously decorated.  His daughter, Neo and her son, Jonathan were there to greet us.  We spent some time talking and catching up before eating a delicious dinner.  Dr. Taylor has spent significant time in the U.S. and in other countries studying and teaching and was curious about my thoughts on Liberia.  He was thankful for the work Mrs. Toe and I have been doing.  I really enjoyed the evening and it was a beautiful cap to a long day of goodbyes.  Tomorrow we will begin the process of changing hotels to get us a little closer to the airport so we do not have a two-hour journey to get to the airport when it is time to go.  With only a couple days left, it's hard to believe the journey is coming to an end.  My final blog post will come sometime on Monday when we return as I am unsure what the internet connection will be like as we change locations and then get set to fly back across the ocean to America.  I promise to have my final blog post as soon as possible to you all to let you know I am home.  I will also share my final thoughts on this experience with you all.  Until then, stay well, and love to you all. 

~Dr. Miller, Day 13 June 14, 2024

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