It is a very reflective time here in Liberia. The monsoon rains are heavy and the rainy season has just started; months more of rain to come. Nearly everyone I know is suffering from a cold or malaria or worse – the heavy rains caused dear friend Korto to have a motorbike accident. Transport is always an issue here; the rains make it an extreme challenge.
The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) officially turned over security in this country to the Liberian people on July 1. For the first time since peace came in 2003, Liberians are in charge of their own security. It is a tentative time. The Liberian security budget is US$90M/year, about one-fourth the UN’s previous annual security budget. Despite the budget allotment, the Liberian National Police guarding the hotel I call home have not been paid for three months. With an average salary of US$160/month, no pay for several months makes buying rice impossible.