Euphoria! It’s the only way to describe how I am feeling right now. Liberia is so beautiful, the people are so kind, and the food is fantastic! As we landed at Roberts Field in Liberia, we were all excited. We walked off the plane, down the steps and straight onto the tarmac to catch a bus to the immigration office. The humidity hit us, as we were all wearing pants and sweaters – clearly not thought through on our part!
After standing in line at immigration for 45 minutes, we collected our bags and got into a car with a driver to take us to the hotel. Watching the beautiful countryside, the people, huts, children pumping water, and many, many campaign billboards during the 50-minute drive from the airport was great. It was an amazing introduction to Liberia.
On our way to the Carter Center this morning, we drove by the women of Liberia praying for safe and peaceful elections. I am sure they will have as great of an influence this time, as they did during the 2005 elections, in ensuring the peace of the country and promoting democracy. Here is a story that came out just a few hours ago about the women’s influence.
I am working with the Carter Center with their election observing mission here. I will be deployed Saturday morning to the rural town of Bopolu in Gbarpolu County. This is the bridge I will have to cross in order to get there! I will be deployed with an experienced Kenyan who has been observing the electoral process for the past 5 weeks here in Liberia. I have confidence that he’ll keep me safe!
The Carter Center briefing today was amazing, and Nicole and I met some amazing people. The diverse backgrounds, experience in the political science/conflict resolution fields, origins, and observation experience is just outstanding. I want to talk to everyone for hours and hours – unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of time. Humprey, the man I will be deployed with, has been a vote counter with the UN in many countries around Africa and the Middle East. I am looking forward to finding out more information about his experiences.