Volunteer

Linnea Ashley on March 2nd, 2010

The smell is what got to me. Despite the buffet of assaults to my sight and sensibility of norms and expectations, it is always the smell of antibiotics – thick as smoke –that permeates the hospital. In the past it has stopped me from venturing beyond the admin area, but today I had purpose that […]

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Linnea Ashley on February 1st, 2010

“how old is he?”The he in question was toddling about, intermittently crying for no particular reason and grinning at me from behind his cohort Samuel.“he is two.”“and…?” I pointed at Samuel.“he is 18 months. Breastfed,” my neighbor said pointing at Samuel, “not breast fed,” she declared of the other one.I’m not sure what made me […]

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Linnea Ashley on January 21st, 2010

Life here is a fickle two-year-old. Yesterday was the first day she didn’t cry or cower behind the nearest person not me. Yesterday she walked up to me, her round chocolate face so cute and beaming, no pants, stomach distended with a huge bellybutton bulging out like an appendage.She smiled at me. Held out her […]

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Linnea Ashley on January 21st, 2010

“they held me and gang raped me for three weeks.”It hung there, with no more weight from her voice than when she’d talked about the differences between Nigerian and Liberian palm nuts.She pointed to the jagged gash on her arm where they broke a bottle over her arm.“I almost died,” she said of the rape. […]

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Linnea Ashley on January 16th, 2010

It took a moment for the sound to register. Kids congregate at our house, and since the tree in our back yard started producing some tiny pear looking fruit – they spend hours throwing rocks and sticks high into its branches, enticing the little green and red fruits to fall. it isn’t unusual to hear […]

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Linnea Ashley on January 13th, 2010

“when will you leave Liberia? What will you do after?” Common enough questions. I responded as usual, “April. If I don’t find a job somewhere in Africa then I’ll return home to the States.” I then volunteered that I have friends in Uganda and Tanzania who might have employment information for me there. He mused […]

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Linnea Ashley on January 13th, 2010

Belecca’s friend was fussing. I didn’t understand why and Belecca didn’t look upset. Instead she shook her head in agreement and smiled at me. “What’s wrong?” “They are making that bag into two bags instead of one big one for her to carry her market things.” The bag in question, held lightly in her hands, […]

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Linnea Ashley on January 13th, 2010

“I want to ask what country you are from.” He had been staring at me while I searched out taxi prices to kakata. An older man, slender, graying, with a sort of lean that I assume was palm wine induced, and a cigarette dangling from his fingers. When I replied he said, “but you are […]

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Linnea Ashley on December 29th, 2009

Liberia takes everything back. The land, the people. They are all seemingly swallowed, digested, and then sprout anew. Be it the banana peel I throw beside the trail to my house. The next day I see it brown and trampled. in a week it is gone. Eaten or carried away. Ground into the earth to […]

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Linnea Ashley on December 21st, 2009

I crossed the Montserrado river for the first time. Halfway across, we could see the destroyed bridge to the left – so iconic during the war. It remains in disrepair, like so many gutted buildings and abandoned building projects. Heading out of town that way, we passed the port, sparking for me, a reminder that […]

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