Thursday, June 29, 2006

Book for Expats in Liberia

Thanks to Wayne from CCF for loaning us his copy of Blue Clay People, the memoirs of a guy who ran the Liberian operations of Catholic Relief Services during the 1990's. Mendy says the book is starting to lose its luster toward the end, but the 30 or so pages that I've read have been spot-on. Especially the passage about how unconfortable it feels to have servants, househelpers and guards and gardeners, etc. Seems there's no getting around it, no matter how hard you try, but coming from the US, this system makes ya want to crawl right out of your skin. He calls Liberia a recreation of the antebellum South, in which the expat is an unwitting participant in the role of the bossman. It's an exaggeration, but I could certainly relate.


Anonymous Ham said...

hey Josh,

Awesome job on the blog...I've been really enjoying it.

I had the same reaction to the servant thing when living in South Africa. It was interesting because the first household I stayed in there (for 3 weeks) was with a married couple...the husband was and American and the wife was Indian. She was from a relatively well off family in India and had grown up with "household staff" and felt quite comfortable with the two ladies who worked in their home. The husband, on the other hand, even after three years of living there, couldn't get used to having someone else doing housework and was always telling the ladies not to worry about the dishes or garbage, etc. I never really got used to it either, but it was fascinating to see that if you didn't grow up with this, it is very difficult to get used to.

5:24 PM  

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