What a difference a year makes

May 24th, 2020

This was the one-year anniversary of breaking my leg. I still can’t believe that happened. Looking back, I can’t believe how lucky I was to have had such a great surgeon at Harborview (Dr. Barei) – pure luck to get a trauma surgeon who specialized in tibia plateau fractures. And I was so fortunate to have such good follow-up care at Georgetown, friends to come visit me, and staff at the apartment building to get me to therapy – not to mention the best husband ever for taking care of me every step of the way.  My scars are healing well (thank you, Mederma) and I feel great. I walk a little more cautiously these days!

We’re still on skeleton staff at work. It was a welcome slow week at the office, as we wait to see if we will get another evacuation flight. John and I enjoyed coming home at a decent hour, so far are enjoying a three-day weekend – hopefully the calm will last!

 

Weekend!

May 17th, 2020

Crazy storm rolling in

I feel like I’m having the first “real” weekend since I arrived in Monrovia – I hope that feeling continues through today! I left at a decent time on Friday, and stayed home all day yesterday (except for a quick run to the grocery store for a friend in isolation).

Most exciting, I found my SD card reader yesterday after searching high and low for it for weeks. And yes, it was in my camera bag where it should have been – I had just forgotten what it looked like. That enabled me to spend a few hours downloading and editing the photos of the Mamba Point fruit bats I had taken back in March. Click here to see them. I know some people think they are creepy, but I love seeing their little puppy-like faces.

Friday afternoon, I had some organic veggies and fruit delivered (cukes, tomatoes, mangoes, eggplant, and avocados). Last night I made Franke’s Cafeteria eggplant casserole, and it was delish, despite a couple of substitutions.

Bats!

 

 

 

Come with us and we will do you good

May 10th, 2020

 

Amos de Boss Business Center

I saw this great little shack of Amos De Boss Business Center last night — Amos looks to be pretty enterprising and has a great motto — take a look at the fine print.

The fine print

We were on our way to a friend’s  house where we had a fun evening of socially distant pizza, wine, and two killer Catan games. I had so much fun I didn’t even realize it was midnight before we got home! On the drive over, we came across these crazy kids. I think they were lost but John said they were just kids out exploring.

Because goats

I had two fun video chats yesterday – one with James and Marybeth in San Antonio, and another with Ann, Muffy, and Jackie in Little Rock. Loved hearing the birds and woodpeckers from Muffy’s yard. Last Sunday I had a good chat with David in Hot Springs, too.

I celebrated my birthday working our sixth evacuation flight, although my sweet consular team had a celebration for me on Wednesday that included cake and video chats with our remote team members. In an effort to keep our exposure as little as possible, we had a very small crew working the airport – just John, our military colleague, and me. I worked the check-in desk. We had planned for 100, but were able to add 18 extra passengers due to some last minute changes. It was very hot and uncomfortable with no air conditioning along with face mask, face shield and gloves, but we are trying to be as careful as possible.

Sadly, I woke up to see our friend Neil Fletcher Wilson passed away. He had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We were so happy to reconnect with him during our DC tour. He got John going to cooking school, and we spent two Christmases with him and Emma. Smart, funny, thoughtful, and a wonderful chef – a fine human being, as my friend Brad would say. You will be missed, and our thoughts go out to Emma.

Dinner with Neil and Emma at Ris, our last night in DC before moving to Liberia

 

 

A little down time, of sorts

May 3rd, 2020

I worked from home Monday and Tuesday, which was very nice. I was able to get caught up on emails from the week before, and wrote two employee evaluations for folks who report to me. Our deadline was extended by two weeks, thank goodness, but with all these flights, it’s hard to get done. I spent yesterday drafting my own.

John and I watched “Twin” this week. We like the actor in it (the red-headed guy in “Game of Thrones”) and the Norwegian scenery is amazing.

I tried to go to the grocery store yesterday afternoon, but the parking lot was packed. Not trusting that Liberians would “socially distance” themselves, I turned around and came home. Liberia is under a state of emergency, and people are only supposed to go out for essential things, but in many places it looks like business as usual until the 3PM curfew – it’s hit or miss. The number of cases has risen here, but still under 200 with around 16 deaths.

Back to the airport – take five

April 28th, 2020

We got word on Wednesday that we’d have another evacuation flight on Sunday. This was a blessed amount of time to prepare, and we needed every minute. We were able to email confirmations on Wednesday, run a phone bank on Thursday to confirm passengers, and firm up the manifest on Friday. It even took working all day Saturday to solidify our passenger list of 250 as many Americans in Liberia turned down our offer of a seat, opting to either wait it out or or wait until the “next flight.” Unfortunately, we are not a travel agent, and a “next flight” is uncertain.

John and I left for the airport Sunday morning at 6:00 AM. Processing passengers went as well as could be expected (although hot as heck), and we had a finalized manifest of 250 ready by noon or so. We took a lot of precautions to guard ourselves, and tried to create as much distance as possible between us and passengers.   The flight took off an hour or so behind schedule, but compared to earlier flights, it was amazingly fast. John and I were back home before sundown – a success in our minds.

We were surprised by a “kudos cable” to Embassy Monrovia from the Secretary of State, lauding us for our efforts to repatriate Americans from overseas. He cited the consular team’s innovative use of a preregistration process for the flights, allowing a smoother airport process. Better than official recognition were the many emails we’ve received from passengers after arriving safely back in the U.S., thanking us for getting them home.