Sunday, March 2, 2008

A morning with the US president

We left around 5:30am hoping not to have to foot it the whole way. Roads were blocked off and so we tried to get through in a vehicle hoping they would assume that we were the press... didn't work. We trudged along as the sun came up, nibbling on some nasty granola-type bars for breakfast. But we finally made it (around 6:30am and we posted right at the exit of Springfield Airport where Bush was landing.

The Liberian police harassed us for a while and so I argued back. Arguing with the police became kinda like a game to me after a while. What could I say that might make them back down, who could get louder, would they even understand me, could I get away without having to pay any fines, that kinda thing. They bugged us about moving back (even though we were posted before they even showed up that morning - it was just us, the wild dogs, and the UN troops) off the street. Then some guy with a southern accent (presumably American) yelled "THE BIBLE SAYS TO SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY!" and I physically ignored him while thinking, 'What about all of the Biblical greats that didn't do as the authorities asked them because the authorities were corrupt and wrong?'. And then the Liberian police heard the dude and they said, "See! Even that American knows that he should stand back from here!" I told the guy that it was because they feared him, not respected him. I told him that they made trouble where there was none in order to make a buck. He didn't like this but he then backed off.

Well, that's not all the way true. They went and got a secret service agent and she told us that if the Liberian police asks us to move back, then we should probably do that. You can bet that I didn't argue with her.

The roads were completely blocked off, not even the kids going to go to school were allowed to cross. They started just piling up on our side of the street. (Each school wears a different uniform and I thought the pink ones were pretty cute).
We sat for a few hours in the heat while more and more people crowded to watch Bush drive by in his limo. UN troops lined the street, probably about one every 15 feet, facing the neighborhood. Someone near us in the crowd had a radio so we listened as the announcer gave a play-by-play of what was going on in the air field. HUGE helicopters began circling the area, first two and then four. Soldiers hung out the doors with huge artillery, ready to shoot at a country that isn't allowed to bear arms.

Then over the radio we could hear a band playing the Liberian National anthem as Bush presumably did his thing with Sirleaf:

He drove by in a long line of cars, it was hard to tell who was going to be in which of the million cars. But, in the second limo, there was our president and his wife just waving away. And I swear to you, he did a double take when he saw my pale skin in a sea of Africans. We all shouted and laughed... it was a REALLY fun morning.

After the cars drove through, a group of us went to have a drink... it was 10am ;P Some of us had Coke, others had not-Coke.

Then, as we were walking back, this freaky "dio-devil" (that's what it sounds like, I have no idea if I spelled it right) tried to jack my flag with Bush and Sirleaf on it. He wore some leather gloves that were SOAKING wet and he petter my arm to get my attention before he jacked the flag outta my hands. It took me a second to come to my senses (I was staring at him and taking in the enormous amount of BO that came with him) and then I snatched the flag back (he wasn't the only one who tried to steal it from me).


Sarah said...

Your so feisty. I love ya for it!

Nikk said...

I like that you have to go half way across the world to almost meet your own president.

Anonymous said...

gee, does that bring back memories or what!!?


Erica said...

Looks like we missed out on some fun! Way to go...arguing with the must've been bored! Heehee!