Wednesday, June 06, 2007

act justly, love mercy

the trial of Charles Taylor was scheduled to begin on Monday, but the defendant didn't show up! Taylor was the president of Liberia during the war in Sierra Leone, and he was a major source of funding for rebel groups in Sierra Leone. they had some complicated agreement involving diamonds and weapons. i don't fully understand, but Taylor is on trial for crimes against humanity at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. this is a very significant trial for Sierra Leone and for all of post-conflict Africa. Here is a great article from the Washington Post that says it a lot better than i can.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

bats, bikes, & bo

this is a view from the balcony of the padgetts'/eichorns' old apartment in downtown freetown. the building at the far left is the old US embassy - when i was there they were in the process of building a bigger one outside of town - i don't know why. the big tree beyond the embassy is The Cotton Tree, a historic landmark at the center of town, which is said to have been growing there since the 1700s. it is huge and beautiful, but is home to an offensive number of bats... they are huge and gross. in this picture you can barely see in the sky little black flecks of evil in the form of bats. i hate them. yeah, they eat malaria-carrying mosquitos, but i have 3 words for you; vampires, rabies, guano. ummm, anxiety. i think i need to talk about something fun now. let me find another picture...

i love this picture. our team took a trip to a nature sanctuary called Tiwai Island, and the 12 hour journey required that we travel through Sierra Leone's second city, Bo. there were many things that made Bo a nice break from big crazy freetown, but my 2 favorite things were 24-hour electricity and 'honda taxis.' as i climbed on with my big back-pack and a tote full of food and cooking supplies i said out loud, "my mom would be so ticked about this." but then i forgot all about the dangers involved in this mode of public transportation because it was so fun and FUNNY. i was the last in a line of 6 bikes, each carrying an american girl with too much luggage. you should have seen the looks we got. hilarious. erin is the very excited one looking at the camera. hillary and sarah are in front of her, and i'm sure they were laughing just as hard as we were.