Things fall apart. But that’s life. And I keep smiling. Sometimes, people steal. And hotels fall into a decrepit state. And noses break.
I write from my Liberian rooftop. Where pots banged night #2. And breakfast was taken overlooking the waves days #3, #4, and #8. I finished the day with sunset skypes day #9 and #13, and had a starlit sleep day #21 under the warm moonlight sky. But outside of the perfection that exists with a 360 degree view of the world – things sometimes fall apart. But I keep smiling. Why? I really don’t know.
What I do know: I’m writing this under the light of my phone in my crumbled coil-rung notebook, not on an almost new 13-inch Macbook Pro yet to reach its 1st birthday.
What I also know: Playing tough ultimate frisbee defense only lasts so long before the competitive international health worker you are defending against gets frustrated and swings his arm as hard as possible, right into your nose. I played on as it was a great close game, but when I got home, I had to yank on my nose a few times to try to get it back into a straight, albeit swollen, position.
What happened? I woke up at 8am on a quiet Saturday, Day 23, excited for a relaxed weekend. But hey, sometimes things fall apart.
Instead, the day was spent putting together pieces of evidence and interviewing suspects to try to sort out the theft that took my computer alongside my roommate’s two expensive cameras. Then Sunday came, and after spending the early afternoon at the Central Police Station given my written statement, my nose met its match at my weekly Sunday evening ultimate frisbee game.
Welcome to Liberia – where cockroaches, fire ants, and thieves coexist alongside the bonds with incredible kids, beaches, and the rooftops from which the faults of the world are faded against postcard-perfect views. But over the weekend, things fell apart.
Saturday afternoon, I raced away from the police investigation, excited to put the theft behind me and continue to explore Liberia – my new home. Through traffic we weaved in a U.N. car whose best days were long ago, arriving at the abandoned Hotel Africa, a magnetic metaphor of the fact that outside of my own small place in the world, things can fall apart.
Yet within the ruins that up until 1990 made up one of Africa’s greatest luxury hotels, life forges on. A savvy hotel receptionist turned entrepreneur has turned the pool area where the rich and famous once partied into an eerily beautiful destination to grab a beer. In the shadow of what was once great, new forms of business – new forms of life – emerge. A computer may be gone; a nose slightly off, but out of every stolen computer, crooked nose, out of every crumbling shell of a hotel, new life exists, just waits to emerge.
So yes, things fall apart – but I continue on.