I have never been what I would call "in the popular crowd." So having everyone notice me here in Liberia is a bit out of my comfort zone. Every where we go we hear whistles, Liberian grunts, and marriage proposals. Most of the time children wave or point as we are driving by, other times their jaws drop and we can read their lips "a white woman, a white woman." My personal favorite is when a child sees me and then bursts into tears and runs away screaming.
You can imagine the attention we have received this week with the 3 ORR women riding in the back of our Tata. One day Jen, Ash and I were in the back as we toured 5 orphanages. We felt like beauty queens in a parade waving to our adoring fans. One time Andrew had to make a "quick" stop so we waited in the truck. Instantly we were surrounded by dozens of children, standing and staring and laughing at us. It was particularly scandalous because Willemina (a Liberian woman) was in the front seat and the white women were in the back. As we drove away the children ran after us, laughing, as far as their legs would take them.
Friday we were taking a load of food to an orphanage about an hour away. (Another story about how the brakes went out in the truck again can be inserted here.) Cramer and Mary (our Liberian Ma) in the front and Ash and I in the back again. This time we were sitting on top of about 600 pounds of rice, beans and other food. This lifted us higher in the back and so increased our beauty queen status- more waving, smiling and pointing.
Ash, Cramer and I were walking to the beach the other day (another attention getting exercise) and talking about all the attention. Just walking down the road we get all kinds of greetings and kids run up to us to shake our hand or run away and cling to their mother or older sister and stare as we go by.
I never thought I would be popular, but if I was going to be I did not think it would be because of my skin color or because I am bringing food or medicine to orphans.
I guess this is a new kind of popular.