We took to Dimples immediately. Something about the broad smile that staked claim to his entire face and the deep dimples standing guard beside it. Yeah, the big smile and the generous laugh that followed almost anything we said or he did, laid a foundation for our budding friendship.

Dimples is Liberian born and bred – the son of a Liberian father and American mother, he spent most of childhood growing up here. After the start of the 2003 war, however, he moved to America where he finished high school and college. But he always knew he’d be back.

And back he is, reconciling his hybrid life in a drastically different Liberia than what he grew up in. At once familiar and strange, he has ensconced himself in work and is still figuring out his place here – his home. Despite being busy, he was eager to demonstrate Liberian hospitality and made himself available to show us a bit of his Monrovia.

It truly was hospitality when you consider that prior to walking through the door of his building and being directed to his office, all I knew of him was what his cousin shared (“he told me to tell you that Peace Corps people always look like they are camping, don’t dress like you are going camping”) we and what he had gleamed from my FaceBook page after we were cyberly connected. So his time and kindness were bestowed on veritable strangers.

For his part, Dimples said he was glad to meet us. Despite the age difference (he’s about 10 years younger) we have a lot in common…not the least of which is an understanding of the world he left back in the States and a kinetic/growing understanding about life in reconstruction Liberia.

We did a lot of laughing-friendly ribbing as if we’d all known each other for years. Apparently BushDiva and I remind him of his older sisters, so maybe we offered up a little piece of his other home. He drove us through some of the rougher parts of Monrovia, showed us where he grew up, and told us about his family. We even met his father. A tall man with an easy smile, he welcomed us to Liberia and urged us to come back to Monrovia to visit.

Our work is actually centered in Monrovia despite or location elsewhere – so we’ll be back and probably often. Dimples already has plans for us to hit the beach (apparently that is only a Sunday endeavor), some live music, and some good food. I know along the way we’ll get a glimpse into his Liberia and how he envisions its/his future.

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