The Poorest of the Poor

As Alex mentioned, I’ll be blogging next week from Monrovia, Liberia.  I will try to post three to four times, but the reliability of "internet cafes" in Liberia is suspect at best.  Part of the problem is the lack of public electricity.  If I am able to blog, it will likely be courtesy of a gasoline generator.

Despite its naturally beautiful beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, Liberia is not exactly a popular vacation destination.  My time in Liberia will be spent lecturing on economic growth and visiting orphanages with my oldest daughter and a small group from my church.

Liberia may be the poorest nation in the world.  Recent estimates from the world bank indicate that per capita gross national income in Liberia is about half that of Rwanda

Some more facts about Liberia:

  1. Liberia was founded by freed U.S. slaves.
  2. Since 1980, the only "elected" leaders of Liberia (Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor) assumed power through bloody coups.
  3. Carolyn Cole of the L.A. Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for these photos of the Liberian civil war, which raged off and on from 1989 until 2003.
  4. Since the fall of 2003, U.N. troops have been stationed in Liberia to disarm the various factions, keep the peace, and oversee presidential elections (slated for this coming October).

By the way, Tyler’s sage advice to me before my first trip to Liberia was "beware of men wielding machetes."


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