(Editor’s Note: This past season, Arielle Sklar traveled with Second Chance Africa to tour Liberia and see SCA’s work in action. Every other Wednesday through the year, she will file episodes from her trip. Previous posts: Part I, Part II)
The first two days crossing the street was a terrifying mission, even as we were accompanied by our four bodyguards.
My colleague, Jana, and I had previously read horror stories of the three Liberian civil wars, the last one ending in 2003. We saw the videos of Liberians brutally attacking each other.
By day three, my preconceived notions about the country melted away.
The odds were that some of the men driving the 20-year-old, beat-up taxis on the streets had been rebel fighters, or that the woman selling soap in our local market had experienced traumas greater than any I could imagine. But anger and aggression seemed to be swallowed by the ocean and the mountains and the winding dirt roads and sunken into the deep pot holes that plague nearly every walkway.
“Fragile Peace,” it seemed, had become a term of endearment rather than a forewarning.
Of course, it was easy to feel secure when the sturdy Second Chance Africa team escorted us during the day. And when the sun began to set, we walked past the tin huts and dirty laundry into our gated fortress. We lay our heads in an empty castle behind barbed wire and night guards.