Linnea Ashley on February 16th, 2010

We lost Stanley.After  keeping the pantry door closed against our resident bat on and off for four months we had grown lax. We hadn’t seen Stanley and so assumed he’d moved on to more fruitful pastures. But a few days ago I stumbled to the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning and my […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 15th, 2010

The clouds were thick and gray, swollen cotton balls on a tile counter, drenched sheep in a blue pasture. The sky darkened and I looked up hopeful. We haven’t seen rain in months. No smattering of drops – nothing to replenish the dwindling wells.It wasn’t the first night the sky hinted. She’d teased before. Assembled […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 15th, 2010

I thought he’d forgotten. I languished beneath my mosquito net half reading a poorly written novel but mostly succumbing to the brutal heat still lingering in the late afternoon.My morning had been fruitful. My lift into town dropped me far away from the Catholic compound- barely in the city limits. On the side of the […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 10th, 2010

We almost didn’t stop.The dust, a cloud of cinnamon caught in a sneeze, billowed before us as we raced down the dirt road, gullies carved on either side in anticipation of future rains. We were racing time and honking as pedestrians wandered into what I imagine is usually a deserted strip of road.We almost didn’t […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 9th, 2010

“you do not believe me but I swear to God.” He looked at me, the streetlight from across the well worn dirt road that separates my house from Mary Tiah’s casting shadows across his face. She and part of her family sat just out of earshot on their front porch.“when a Liberian man swears to […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 9th, 2010

Gutz is amazing. Seriously. The man provides, be it food, fun, or perspective. On Super Bowl Sunday halfway around the world…it was football.We gathered around his television set, four Americans, one enthusiastic and one reluctant Liberian. We gathered with fried chicken, plantains, and sweet potatoes, fresh pineapple, and ginger coconut cake. Gutz sweating over a […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 9th, 2010

Food is one of the great narratives of my life, and yet I am still surprised at how much the taste and lingering delight of a good meal can dictate the texture of my day and orchestrate the flavor of my mood.Food. More than sustenance and survival, for me it is tantamount to joy. And […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 8th, 2010

Food is one of the great narratives of my life, and yet I am still surprised at how much the taste and lingering delight of a good meal can dictate the texture of my day and orchestrate the flavor of my mood.Food. More than sustenance and survival, for me it is tantamount to joy. And […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 4th, 2010

The flames scream out from the parched earth. Ash mingles with dust and dances on the cooling air – night is approaching soft like a lullaby. The crackle and snap of burning brush soothes. The orange flames dance. The smoke conceals the smell of renewal.The beauty goes unnoticed.Pin pin boys race by on their motorcycles, […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 1st, 2010

Three liters of water is no small drink. Granted it wasn’t all at once but today I consumed about three liters of water.It was that hot. That dry. I walked that far under that much sun.After all, Saturday’s are my French lessons. And for the second week I went into Gbarnga to sit with my […]

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