Recently, I traveled to Liberia, Africa for work. This trip was supposed to take place in 2015 but the Ebola outbreak sidetracked the plans of our organization. The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola free on January 14th 2016.
Before the Ebola crisis Liberia was experiencing economic growth and more children were receiving an education. Regrettably, this progress was severely impacted, food prices surged, foreign investors withdrew and the border closed stopping women from selling goods and earning an income.
The combination of soaring costs for treating the outbreak, caring for the sick and limited resources shifted the focus of the government to ridding the country of Ebola. The positive momentum of growth and stability post-conflict (war) came to a halt. Yet, in the face of adversity the Liberian people remain positive and resilient.
The national and international responses to the Ebola crisis have resulted in a number of public health improvements within the three West African nations fighting outbreaks, including safer burial practices, earlier case detections, an increase in health workers and treatment facilities, public awareness campaigns and rigorous tracing of those who interacted with the ill. These responses have contributed to a lower risk of spread across borders.
Most of my time in Liberia was spent in workshops with government officials and civil society members working on local action plans that assist in better integrating women, peace and security elements from the Liberian National Action Plan (LNAP) and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 into local laws.
Monrovia is a busy city with numerous hotels, shopping and lots of traffic. Also, there is one main road to and from the airport, so no matter what day or time allot more time than necessary for the journey – it’s a good opportunity to see the countryside.
While in Monrovia, we stayed at the Bella Casa Hotel near the coast. There are a few grocery stores in walking distance from the hotel and the hotel itself has a lovely restaurant. We arrived from the airport the first night to find the restaurant closing but they kindly made me hummus, which was greatly appreciated. They have several additional vegetarian options including pasta and vegetable fried rice and a nice breakfast buffet. The Palm Spring Resort also has a good menu– and a casino — and is another good hotel option.
If staying at the Bella Casa make the short stroll over to the Golden Beach Restaurant, the seating is on the beach under palm trees — it’s a gorgeous view.