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Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse

If This Gonna Be That Kinda Party, I'ma Stick My... in the Mashed Potatoes

Grace is for Phebe
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ulitave

I imagine a couple I’ve never met. The father left 5th grade when the principal ordered him to fight for the local warlord or leave. He grows vegetables on a muddy, rented plot.  He abandoned his baby. The mother survived relocation camps and returned home to Bong County. She voted for the first female President in Africa. She looks like Oprah Winfrey. She abandoned her baby. They have both lost family to malaria and childbirth. They respect traditional religion but attend Christian services. They have children, parents, aunts, uncles, and friends. They abandoned their baby.

 

The baby – Grace Phebe – has hydrocephalus, a.k.a. water on the brain. Cerebrospinal fluid floods the soft newborn skull, distorting her features and causing brain damage, seizures, and death if left untreated. In the United States, a neurosurgeon would drain the excess fluid with a brain shunt. Liberia cannot afford shunts, neurosurgeons, or the life-long management of this disease.

 

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Mefloquine Dream #2
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ulitave

I was playing baseball with a bunch of kids in a typical Liberian playing field, i.e. burned-out buildings, rubble, trash everywhere. We’re always standing in trash.

I didn’t start out playing baseball. I was a security guard. I stood just outide of a courtyard. Whoever I worked for had organized a race. Everyone was supposed to stay inside the courtyard until the gun or bell or whatever went off. About half of them cheated and were disqualified. I herded the rest back into line. They were issued new tickets so the race could start again. One of the kids hit a ball over by me. I threw it back and that’s how I got into the baseball game.

 

The other team was a bunch of expats, mostly white, male, and chubby. Brian Dennehy was on that team. He did something to one of my teammates, something nasty. I can’t quite remember what. But it pissed me off. I hunted for him in the opposing team’s dugout/clubhouse (a large, unfinished building). I never caught up with Dennehy.

 

Someone hit a foul ball. I chased it. A stray dog – mangy – started playing with the ball. He picked it up. All the kids and expats thought this was funny. I said play catch with the dog, but they just kept laughing. Then the dog swallowed the ball. I was annoyed, but the kids just pointed to the dog’s butt. A few seconds later, the dog pooped out the ball. They said pick it up. I said you pick it up I don’t have any rubber gloves.


Mefloquine Dream #1
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ulitave
Mefloquine is an orally administered antimalarial drug used prophylactically against and as a treatment for malaria. It also goes by the trade name Lariam or Mefaquin and by the chemical name mefloquine hydrochloride (formulated with HCl). Mefloquine was developed in the 1970s at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the U.S. as a synthetic analogue of quinine.

Mefloquine may have severe and permanent adverse side effects. It is known to cause severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, nightmares, insomnia, seizures, birth defects, peripheral motor-sensory neuropathy, vestibular (balance) damage and central nervous system problems. Central nervous system events occur in up to 25% of people taking Lariam, such as dizziness, headache, insomnia, and vivid dreams...



Mefloquine Dream #1

I bit my tongue again.

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Ulitave’s Index
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ulitave
Liberia Edition

Number of boxes shipped by Books for Africa: 593
Number of boxes received by IFESH Liberia: 585
Estimated number of learners who will go without a textbook due to theft: 800*
Load limit of the Cuttington University farm truck, in tons: 4
Total textbook distribution to Cuttington University, in tons: 5
Exchange rate: 1 USD=71.5LD
Longest number of days Ulitave has gone without running water: 17
Price of eggs: 350LD/30 eggs
Price of a loaf of bread: 30LD
Price of Corn Flakes: $10.95 USD
Price of Hagen Daas ice cream, per pint: $16 USD
Average monthly wage: $80 USD
Number of ATM machines now in Liberia: 10
Number of ATM machines now operational in Liberia: 7
Number of operational ATM machines located in Monrovia: 7
Number of paved roads in Lofa County: 0
Amount of oil produced by palm tree if left untended, in tons: 2
Amount produced if tended, in tons: 4
Acres of palm left unharvested by CU: 1000
Hours spent online by Ulitave in the States, per day: 6
Hours spent online by Ulitave in Liberia, per day: 0.25

*Most of the stolen books were educational theory textbooks. It's hard to calculate the number of children who would have benefited from 800 trained teachers. The math isn't hard, but thinking about it is. Stay positive, right?

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