A Liberian beating, in the name of LEC.

July 2nd. 12pm. The Matadi riverside community of Monrovia. A crowd. A white man with tattoos, an orange t-shirt, and a mop of graying hair. Two men handcuffed together. A set of burly Liberia National Police (LNP) officers. The burly officer smashes his baton into the back of the handcuffed man wearing a bright green…

My Community of Contrasts

The waves are my iPod, the setting sun my waypoint, the contrast of crumbling slums failing into the sea next to the expat apartment buildings secured behind barbed wire, my backdrop. Tonight, I feel back at home. Down the beach past where the eye can see, ocean waves crashing into my legs with each step….

A Day Off At 35,000ft

One leg of the journey back to San Francisco complete, with 8 and 16 hour flights still to go. Woah. That’s a whole day in the sky. Ours is a world where normal consists of being connected constantly, a world where the work day rarely finishes at 5pm. In this world, a day in the sky sounds pretty…

A Mountain Where Once Stood Greatness

The generator hums above the clouds. A brilliant morning. The wispy clouds roll over the mountain peaks. The sky shifting, much like the world around us, always changing, despite the occasional appearance of stillness. Here in the mountains where Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Liberia meet, the truck bed has become my preferred mode of transport….

I Get Comfortable. But Then, Go.

April, hello? You seem to be here early. I was waiting expectedly for your friends January, February, and March, but I looked down for a minute, and when I glanced back up, here you are – April. Three months have come and gone in 2016, and April, our time together is already halfway through. This…

Sex for an A+

Sex for an A+? Imagine if you during primary school or your child were faced with this question – every, single, day. Imagine children shoulder to shoulder in the dirt, a tarp overhead, listening to a teacher who themselves can barely write a full sentence. For those of you who have travelled, or maybe volunteered…

A Core Part of the Map, Finally, with Meaning

“Taylor, how was your holidays and time away?” It’s a question I have gotten multiple times in the recent weeks. I respond enthusiastically, “It was great! I went to Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, and France, and then back to the United States, with a weekend up in Canada visiting my family.”  My go to response…

The World Through A Scratched Glass Window

Travel, across borders, from darkness to light. It is a brightness that emerges out of the thick nothingness that embraces the world on the other side of the scratched glass window. My fingers are here typing, but my eyes are distracted, enthralled with the small Austrian towns that dot the landscape of forested mountains and…

Family, FaceTime & Ethiopian Food

December 7th, every year between 1992 and 2014, I have found myself in Canada. 2015 I woke up to celebrate my birthday next to the ocean, as I have every time between 1992 and 2014, but this time it was not Vancouver or Halifax that greeted me, but Monrovia. My birthday in the recent past…

A Story of Romance: 33 Hours Under An Austrian Sky

WARNING: this is a post about romance, serendipity, and vulnerability. If you prefer reading about my adventures surrounding my work in Liberia, this post is not for you. This post is a risk for me, as I do not normally talk about my relationship life to this extent, but when something as beautiful as what…

Month 1 in Monrovia

June: “Monrovia, Liberia” was all but two words in a job description for an opportunity I thought was incredible, but way out of my league. All I knew about Liberia was a basic understanding of the impact of Ebola on the country, and the broad concept of Charles Taylor and the civil war that ended…

Things Fall Apart, & Noses Break

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…