Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leaving Liberia, 2010

We leave for the States in 3 hours. It's a 27 hour flight.

A storm is blowing in off the Atlantic.

I hit a man who tried to steal from us today. I didn't beat him
badly, just enough that he quit trying to put his hands into
worldgroove's purse. We were at the corner of Ashmun and Broad, and
some guy had insisted on carrying worldgroove's luggage into the
Brussels Airline office. When she tried to tip him, he rejected the
money out of Christian charity. Ok, fine. We checked in with no
problems. On the way out, this fellow and his friends surrounded us.
It seems that they hadn't rejected the money for some higher ideal of
service to their fellow man. No, they just wanted more. They started
pushing and shoving. We retreated to our taxi. worldgroove opened her
purse and arms started grabbing for her and the money.

In the Brussels Air office, my luggage weighed in 1kg overweight. I
removed a large, heavy book I'd packed - The Reinner Anthology of
African Literature. Perhaps anger follows this text around - I got
quite pissed at the post office agents who demanded a bribe to deliver
the book. The book weighs in at 1.5 kg.

When the homeless luggage men started grabbing for worldgroove and her
purse, I beat them with an anthology of African literature and
folktales. I don't think that's what the original writers and
storytellers had in mind, but it was damn effective. I feel oddly
normal about beating on a pair of homeless hucksters. Beatings are the
standard Liberian punishment for stealing, except it's usually a mob
of 50 or more beating the "rogue" into a pulp. They got off easy.

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