Monrovia, Liberia Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Monrovia, Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia 08/26/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I've also lived in Kingston, Baku, and Tunis.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Home is the eastern shore of Maryland. Monrovia is not an easy city to get to. There are limited flights and they do not operate every day. Best flight is Brussels Air which usually flies every other day. You can also fly Air Morocco through Casablanca. Travel is always a day and can even be longer depending which way you are flying.

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3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

My wife works for USAID.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

There is a wide range of housing but almost all units are 3 bedrooms units. If you have a large family there are limited options. Most housing is within walking distance (5-10 min.) of the Embassy. We happen to live further out so our drive is usually about 20 minutes but can run up to an hour.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can find most things but it does take some digging. Groceries are expensive here especially considering we are going through a period of inflation. You will usually shop at a few places because no one store will have everything you are looking for. Also availability of any one item is very inconsistent. You may find it in a store one week and then not see it again for a few months.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

The problem here is that getting fresh vegetables and some meat cuts are hard and these are not things that you can ship. We like to cook out and you can get charcoal here but the quality is not very good. Also if you have pets getting pet supplies can be very hit and miss. For a couple of months you could not find kitty litter any where but that is why we have Amazon.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Almost every restaurant has delivery through a number of delivery services. The problem is there are a limited number of restaurants and food usually take a long time to arrive. Local food is rice and beans, you can always find fresh fish but you do not want to have that delivered. There are a few sushi (yes sushi) places and some decent Indian. We have not found good Chinese but we are told it does exist.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

You will always get ants and water bugs during rainy season. You can spry all you want they will still come. There is malaria here but we have run into very few misquotes.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

All our mail is done through the Embassy. There is DHL and FedEx which we have used a few times.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

There is lots of help, usually cheap, US$100 a month for 3 days a week. Some people do have full-time help who will shop and cook for them and that of course will run much more. Finding good help can be a real challenge.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There is a pool and two gyms, tennis court and a basketball court in the Embassy. Our location, Ocean Club does have a pool and a nice gym but that is not a constant with all housing. If you do not have a pool or gym usually a friend will have one that you can use if you do not want to go to the embassy.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are widely used but there are often problems with local merchants credit card machine so we always make sure that we have cash with us. There are ATMs, but they are often empty. Many people will cash checks at the Embassy and then have a stash of cash at home.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

This is an English-speaking country so language is not a problem. It is also a Christen country so there are a lot of churches but a service can be quite an experience. Church for the locals is a whole day experience. There are mosques but I do not know about other religions.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Just English but understanding the locals can be interesting.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes, it is just not built for people with handicaps. There are very few elevators or ramps for example.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There are local cabs but not much else. There are a few RSO-approved cabs that will come when you call.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

An SUY or Jeep is best. The roads are not good and once you are out of the main towns you will run into mostly dirt roads which in rainy season become unpassable.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

There is phone and internet that you can get set up within a few days of your arrival but the quality is not the best. Orange is the main carrier. Their phone service is OK but their internet is not good. Pay more for an internet server if you want any type of consistent service and even then do not expect it to work all of the time.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We did but usually we just make arrangements with our U.S. carrier and survive the additional cost. That is why you FaceTime.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There is only really one vet here. Quite a few people have cats or dogs and if they go away they find friends to take care of their pet. Your pet does not have to be quarantined upon arrival but make sure you have all your papers in order or the airline will not even allow your pet to make the trip. Some families have used a service to ship their animals and as a whole it looks like that may be the best way to transport your pet.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There are a lot of NGOs and a few schools where you can find employment but if you are looking for anything else then you had better be a self-contained business.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Again NGOs and schools will accept help. The Salvation Army and a number of charities are also here.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Dress is very informal. You are in an African nation with their own style but most people are dressed in western fashions. It is hot and humid and although you will see jackets and ties usually only government officials dress that way for business.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crime is on the rise because the economic conditions are deteriorating. You will hear about phones or purses being snatched but that is mostly local on local. The rest is common sense. Do not walk along the beach at night alone.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria is here and if you work for the embassy they will issue you pills. Medical conditions as a whole are poor but they are getting better. If you need any sort of surgery you will be medevacked. The real concern is that because there are limited flight in and out evacuation is not always a real option.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

There is no real air pollution here. The locals will burn tires and garbage from time to time but those are singular events.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Would have to go on a case-by-case situation to answer that question. If you have food allergies I would prepare my own food. I would not trust a local restaurant to prepare a meal correctly for an allergy.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

There is no winter here. There is a rainy season but at least it is always warm. If you are not working this is a place of limited options. There are a few restaurants, few clubs, a movie and no café scene. Each person has to be responsible for their own stimulation. A few people do get lost in the internet but with a little effort there is enough to do, you just have to work at it.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

The American school is the primary education outlet for expats. The student body is expanding, it is now about 120 students. The education is fine, classes are small and more then a few parents will work as assistants so there is lots of involvement, but outside class opportunities are limited.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I do not know of any kids with special needs in the schools here.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Again there are limited opportunities. There are a number of pre-schools but most are local, set up for local kids.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

There is sports activities but not a full slate. With limited student bodies come limited sports activities.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Do not have a good answer for that. The American community is the largest. Many Americans do not move out of the Embassy community which is unfortunate. Social life here is what you make it. We play bridge with people from the IMF. Have a poker group with people from the German, British and Irish community. Will travel with local friends. There are a few resorts you can go to for a weekend. We have traveled to neighboring countries with fellow Americans and met friends in Europe. Most everyone realize that resources are limited and are will to share in any experience they find or introduce new friends to old friends.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

We have met most of our social circle either through work or friends. You can also meet people through the schools, if you have kids or at your residence.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think this is a hard city for anyone. There are always some options but not a lot. You have only a limited amount of entertainment possibilities so your social life is what you make it.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

This is a very religious country, either Christian or Muslim. There is not much of an open LGBT community outside of the expat community.

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5. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

It is not hard to make friends but interactions with local is limited. There are no prejudices that we have run into, except maybe our own.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

As stated before this is a religious community, church is an all day event. With that said there are gender and religious issues with the local community. Given how small the expat community is there is a lot of support there for all people.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The weather, except the rainy season. It is easy to get to Morocco from here and that been the source of several good trips. The Ivory Coast and Guinea are place you should go. We have also been to Togo and Benin which were excellent. You really need a sense of adventure here.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The beaches, if you like to surf. If there is anything new that pops up the word is passed very quickly. Anglers is a well known restaurant but unfortunately not frequented enough.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

This is not a shopping post. There are local handicrafts but only a few outstanding pieces. Your best bet is to have something made for you. There are many artisans who love to make commission pieces and the quality is usually much better.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

There is very little going on outside of the city. Good roads, restaurants even internet can only be found in the city.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

It was actually better then we thought it would be. Just be prepared to work, at find places to go, to meet people to make plans. Nothing comes easy here but there is a lot going on if you are willing to work a little.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Compared to what. My wife works for USAID so we are not going to get posted to Rome. There are much worst places to be. I will say that most in the expat community don't want to listen to complaints about lack of anything. We are all in the same boat and we want to create solutions not sit around and complain about what we do not have.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter coat, unless you want to go to Germany in December. Your prejudices.

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4. But don't forget your:

Rain coat, or umbrella which most people us to control the amount of sun you get.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Online there is very little and this place is changing so fast that stuff you read that is a year old does not apply now. Just keep an open mind and be willing to go with the flow.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

This can be a good post but you have to be willing to work. If you are willing there are many who will help you, even join you. But few who will join you crying in your beer.

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Monrovia, Liberia 08/13/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This was our first Embassy experience, however we have lived in several SEA countries prior to this tour.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

We live in the Boston area (MA). A good flight connection includes two flights, however most of the time we had three connections to make, which can harder when travelling with two small children. It is expensive to fly to this country and there are not many options, as not a lot of airlines fly here.

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3. How long have you lived here?

We completed a two year tour in Aug 2019

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is basic (mostly apts), however we had three bedroom apt for a family of three (grew to four while at post). There was no usable outdoor space around our apt building, which we would have loved, as we have small children. If you are located on upper floors of the building you get a nice view of the ocean (first floor gets a view of the wall). We lived walking distance to the Embassy, which was great for us.

Groceries are expensive and fresh fruit and vegetables are limited. This was the biggest challenge of us while posted in Liberia.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are expensive, however its a consumables post, which helps out a lot.

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3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Restaurants are average, especially if you are vegetarian, however it is one of the only activities to do on the weekend so you often end-up at a restaurant. There is a food delivery service and its fine (cook shop).

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We never sent any mail, only received mail through the Embassy. There are not any good local postal facilities, the only option is the Embassy.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Pricing depends on what you are willing to pay. We think it's important to pay a living wage, so paid more than others in the community. Expatriates have household help, nannies and cooks.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are few options outside of the Embassy, however we did not use them. Yoga was big and also football.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Not commonly used, we use cash while posted in Liberia.

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5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None.

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6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Only used a taxi before our vehicle arrived. I would not use other forms of transportation.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Four-wheel drive.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Installation happened on the day we arrive; super fast!

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Use a local provider.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There is only 1 vet in-country and she has a basic kennel service. Most people rely on friend to look after pets when they are out of the country.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

NGOs and the local international school are the only employment opportunities that I was aware of outside of the Embassy.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

We didn't go out late at night. There were few issue while we were at post.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care not great in-country. However, we did use a local dentist. We medevac for all appointments related to pregnancy. Most take the option of medical evacuation when its approved by the health unit.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good. No health issues.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Environmental allergies in the wet season.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Wet season blue, as it rains a lot.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and more hot.

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Schools & Children:

1. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Limited.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Good morale within the Embassy community.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Day trips to the beach, yoga classes, and eating out.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Families with young children like it here; I wouldn't want to live here with older children as there is not a lot going on.

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4. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Trips to Roberts Port with friends.

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5. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not a lot, but the Embassy puts on markets which are nice.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

It was an interesting post and good opportunity for the FS Officer. I would do the post again because it can only get better from here on out.

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Monrovia, Liberia 08/07/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

We have lived in Wairoa, New Zealand; Bogota, Colombia; Moscow, Russia; and Taipei, Taiwan.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Grand Rapids, Michigan. Travel on Brussells Air takes 22 hours, connecting in Brussels and Chicago. Travel on Royal Air Maroc is a bit less expensive but takes 36 hours. Travel in and out of Monrovia is difficult and expensive. Flights do not run every day of the week. To travel direct to Morrocco or Brussels it's around $1,200. Even flights within West Africa are pricey.

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3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most housing is apartments that do not have elevators. Due to climate and building construction, maintenance is a constant issue. Apartment sizes are smaller than would be expected living in Africa. Much of the diplomatic community is within walking distance to work. It's also an option to choose housing closer to the school which is a 20 minute drive to the embassy.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

There are a few Lebanese-owned grocery stores in town. They have a wide variety of products available. Prices vary, but often tend to be higher than one would pay in the US. Produce in the grocery stores is limited and of very poor quality. It's best to shop local markets. Fruit and vegetable items are limited and you need to adjust your menu accordingly. Household supplies are available but of lower quality than in the US. Laundry detergent is ridiculously expensive.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Specialty items need to be brought to post. If you have a consumables shipment, use it first for liquids and specialty items then for every day items. Snacks are limited here.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are about six restaurants that expats frequently visit. Options from sushi, Lebanese, Chinese, and pizza are available. There are two grocery/restaurant delivery services. Local cuisine is like it or leave it.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not as much of a problem as I had anticipated. Rainy season brings tiny ants and dry season brings cockroaches.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

There is not a local postal system that I'm aware of. DHL is an expensive option in the event of necessity. I receive mail through my diplomatic mission mail system.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Household help is inexpensive. People use nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, cooks, car washers and dog walkers. Quality of service is low.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are gyms and personal trainers available locally. Yoga is a popular activity in the expat community. Weekly yoga sessions and retreats are available. Prices vary.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are accepted in the grocery stores. ATMs are available in hotels but are often out of cash. I have heard of people being robbed when leaving ATMs. This is mainly a cash economy.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

This is an English-speaking country so it is possible to go to a local church. There is an expat Catholic congregation.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is the official language.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. Many apartments do not have elevators. Sidewalks are uneven and often stalls of merchandise fill the space.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

The embassy community is not encouraged to use public transportation.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Four wheel drive with high clearance is best. Roads have potholes that grow worse in rainy season. Side roads are often dirt and will be flooded in the rainy season.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. It is quick to get it installed once arriving in country.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Orange has scratch cards and monthly options that are very affordable.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There are two veterinarians in country that the expat community uses. There is no quarantine upon arrival. Make sure all your paper work is in order and that you have checked out requirements in connecting airports.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Some people have with NGOs. Local positions would not pay enough. The majority of our spouses work within our diplomatic mission. Currently, there are only full-time positions available.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Volunteer opportunities are available but you need to do your research and make connections. They are not as easy to find as one would imagine.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business and business casual are appropriate depending on the office you work in.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Standard awareness is necessary. Snatch and grabs do happen. The embassy does a good job of alerting embassy personnel when protests are happening and streets are blocked.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

It is best to be faithful taking your malaria prophylaxis. Local health care is not of reliable quality. Aspen Clinic is the best place to go in case of emergency. A Regional Medical Officer (RMO) is posted at the Embassy and will take care of Embassy officers and families. Medevacs are common. The dental clinic at ELWA Hospital is the only place to have your teeth cleaned or to go for a dental emergency. European dentists are often rotating through there.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Mold can be an issue but with dehumidifiers and air conditioners it can be kept in control. It is difficult to find specialty food items. and it is best to bring those items with you.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Rainy season really gets to some people. Most resorts in the area are closed during this time and outdoor activity is very limited.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

May - Oct. is rainy season. Humidity is high an rain is frequent. Temperatures are in the low 80s.
Nov. - April is dry season. It is not quite as humid and as the day grows hotter the humidity will burn off. Temperatures are in the mid 90s+.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

The American International School of Monrovia is the most common choice. They have classes through grade 10. This is a fine school for elementary age children. Our Lady of Grace is a Catholic school. Classrooms are more diverse. This is also a good elementary option.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Special needs support is not available.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are three preschools to choose from. Cachelle Creative Center is the most popular due to cost and curriculum. AISM and OLG also provide preschool options.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

It is difficult to find outside activities for your children, especially if they have a particular interest or talent.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Maybe around 500 in the city? Morale is excellent despite the daily challenges of living in Monrovia.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Yoga, Hash Harriers, and bird watching are ways to meet other expats. A lot of socialization is self-made and goes on within homes.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Because a lot of entertainment is self-made, all demographics seem to do well here. Our young family community is very tight-knit.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

There doesn't seem to be a problem here.

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5. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

No, often when a friendship is forged they begin asking for money or gifts.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We enjoyed hiking to a waterfall and visiting Monkey Island via Marshall. Robertsport and Labassa are excellent resort areas that are a good weekend away from the city.

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7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not really. The fabric, lappa, is unique and colorful. Bosh Bosh and Resurrection Bags make nice souvenirs to give as gifts. The handicraft trade is lacking here.

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8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Close-knit community.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, we have enjoyed our time. We have had good local experiences and enjoy our time in the expat community. The lack of things to do has created more community opportunities and a slower pace of life which is very enjoyable.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

Specialty food items and medications.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

The House at Sugar Beach by Helen Cooper (Book) and Firestone and the Warlord (Documentary).

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Monrovia, Liberia 11/17/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, Kingston, Jamaica; Accra, Ghana; Kampala, Uganda; Kigali, Rwanda; Lilongwe, Malawi; Belmopan, Belize; Nairobi, Kenya; Harare, Zimbabwe.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

San Francisco, now KLM have started flying directly to Monrovia again. It's approximately 7 hrs to AMS then 11 hrs to SFO.

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3. How long have you lived here?

18 months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission and business.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We have a townhouse in a gated community, approx 10-20 min commute to the US embassy depending on traffic. It can be longer if there is any kind of incident but these seem reasonably rare. Other US embassy housing is mainly apartments, the majority right by the embassy but also some with a similar commute to us. Those with a commute are closer to the school(s). I have heard rumour of some stand-alone houses but not seen one. I think size-wise most places are 'average' for us embassy housing, quality probably a little below average due to the harsh environment and unavailability of quality materials and workmanship.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Very poor availability of fresh fruit and vegetables that are not locally grown, very high prices for very very poor quality. Locally available fruit is good and cheap but seasonal, think mangoes, pineapple, pawpaw, bananas, passion fruit, citrus. Vegetables are more limited due to difficult growing conditions, sweet potatoes are available but not great, cabbage, cucumber, some small tomatoes and onions, potato greens, squash are the staples and available most of the time. Oh and lots of very hot peppers.



All other non-fresh items are available, usually, at high prices. This includes lots of US brand goods; canned foodstuff, jams, sauces, etc etc. Cleaning supplies also available but not the selection of brands and not everything all the time, pet food also available.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

We shipped everything we needed but got some of the quantities wrong, should have brought more laundry detergent, dish washing soap and pasta sauce.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is a great delivery service which will bring food from almost any restaurant for little or no extra cost. However, the quality of most restaurants and takeaways is average at best. Lebanese food is the most abundant and best quality, there is Thai, Italian and Sushi at the few larger hotels but it's expensive and in my opinion poor. There're a couple of average Indian restaurants and reasonable (authentic) Ethiopian. There is a Korean place I've not tried and a selection of Chinese places. Liberian food is often very spicy, but hearty and cheap.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

I think most housing will have some degree of ants and roaches. The embassy will arrange spraying.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We have US embassy privileges, the pouch used to be quick and reliable but recent changes mean we ware waiting much longer. I have used DHL as well which is quite expensive, $90 to send a letter to the UK.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Readily available but the quality varies greatly so look for recommendations. Driver, housekeeper, nanny is typical each around $300/mth plus extras like school fees etc etc.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

All embassy staff have access to a large gym, most housing has a pool, possibly a tennis court, maybe it's own gym (ours has). There are local gyms ranging from local boxing clubs to fancy modern well equipped places. Again prices are high for the latter, I think $70/mth+

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

No and no. No, no and probably. Only the few big hotels take credit cards and I would avoid using them even there if you can at all avoid it. There are few ATMs, especially outside of Monrovia but I think they are safe to use, depending on location and time of course.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Certainly there are Catholic and Anglican churches, SDA and probably many more. This is a country where religion is big.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None, English is spoken by almost everyone in Monrovia, usually as a first language. The accent and dialect do take some getting used to.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes, there is no provision of any kind for anyone. Lots of the accommodation is in apartment blocks without lifts.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Buses and taxis available and cheap but NOT safe. Ditto motorcycle taxis and 3-wheelers. I would have to be very desperate to use any. No trams or trains.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

A used Toyota SUV, Rav4, 4runner, Land Cruiser. Anything else, forget it. Availability of spares, servicing, repairs is too difficult. Make sure the car is in great mechanical condition before you ship it, suspension and running gear particularly and bring filters and brake pads if you can. Service it yourself if at all possible. The roads, even in Monrovia, are not good for a saloon car but you could get away with a Corolla or Camry.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

In Monrovia high-speed internet access, $150/mth, is good and easily installed, for free. We stream Netflix without too many problems.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We use local mobile providers which are cheap, for good 4G and international calls, on a pay-as-you-go basis. There are two main providers competing for business, many people have both to take advantage of different offers.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Paperwork needs to be in order before coming (at Monrovia end), this can be time consuming, plan ahead. No quarantine. There is at least one European vet The environment is harsh, very hot very very humid ALL the time. I don't think this suits some dog breeds.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

I am a civil engineer and work locally but had the job before we were posted here. Most others I know work at the embassy. There are NGO and specialist positions here though. Medical professionals, health and agricultural sector experts and engineers could possibly find well-paying positions. They may be outside of Monrovia though.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

'Business casual'? Suits are rare outside of senior government.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No different to any city. There are some former combatants with drug problems who beg, particularly around some of the supermarkets, and I've been told they can be dangerous but I've not seen any issues myself.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria, take the pills. There is a private health care provider who can cope with quite a bit (certainly they can replace a dislocated shoulder) and evacuate for those they can't. We have experience with them and the doctors and nurses were great.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Usually the heat and humidity distract from most other forms of pollution but in the dry season Nov-Apr the Harmattan wind brings fine sand particles from the Sahara. Everything gets covered in dust and visibility is greatly reduced. This tends to dry out skin, bring lip balm, but I've not heard of other health issues.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

See above, and if you eat any food prepared locally nothing can be guaranteed.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

The rainy season is long and very very wet, bring puzzles.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and extremely wet (May-Oct), or extremely hot (Nov-Apr).

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

The American school is well-equipped and people seem happy with it. Our kids (K and 1G) go a Lebanese school , slightly less well equipped but we're happy with it. We chose this because at the time we came, just post-Ebola, there were very few kids the same age as ours at the American school. The Lebanese school is also closer all the housing.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

I think most people have nannies but there are pre-schools, don't know about the cost. There is after school care available at my kids school but it's expensive.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

There are some, martial arts, dancing I know of. Not a huge selection though.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

It's a small community, working in what can be quite a challenging environment. It therefore attracts the adventurous type so morale is usually good.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

The Hash House Harriers is always top of my list. I understand there is a running 'club' as well. Apart from that it's kids birthdays and the usual holidays/festivals. You have to make your own fun.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Any of the above who are reasonably adventurous outgoing and not too fussy will be fine.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No more so than anywhere else.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Golfing at the Firestone plantation, a trip to the beach at Robersport. I know people go big game fishing in the dry season but I've not done it yet.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The local beaches are not great, pollution, rip tides etc but a shortish drive towards the airport they are a little better and there are 'resorts' providing food and drink. Usually busy on dry season weekends.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

No.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

None.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I'd been working here for a number of years before moving with the family so knew what we were getting into.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Jacket, tie, overcoat.

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4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, umbrella.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Another America, The History of Liberia; James Ciment. Charles Taylor and Liberia; Colin M Waugh. Chasing the Devil; Tim Butcher. A Journey Without Maps; Graham Greene.

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Monrovia, Liberia 06/23/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I have lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Kenya.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

East Coast USA - requires connection in Brussels, Casablanca, or Accra.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Three years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

USAID Foreign Service Officer.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Large apartment, five minute walk from embassy, near old embassy compound with gym, tennis courts, and swimming pool. Walking distance from a few hotels/restaurants. Housing is rundown but improving daily as it is a focus of the Embassy GSO. Some houses have ocean views.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Western groceries are a bit expensive, but COLA more than makes up for the difference. I was VERY pleasantly surprised by the variety of grocery items available here compared to other places I've lived. Produce is disappointing in the grocery stores but one can find good items in local markets, the embassy Friday market, or Grain Coast Farms, a local CSA.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I did - but wine, liquor, and good beer. Pet supplies if you need them. Everything is available in Monrovia but it is often less expensive to take advantage of consumables shipments (if you are lucky enough to have it) to stock up on bulk items and liquids that can't be sent through the pouch.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Not a huge number of restaurants but a fair variety - Lebanese, Thai, good sushi, Ethiopian, Syrian, Vietnamese, fresh seafood, Indian, Bangladeshi, salad/sandwich/coffee shops to name a few. Cookshop.biz is a great food delivery service that I use frequently. Pandora's Basket is a nice option for good local food and a great place to meet expats and locals.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I use embassy mail services - I think that using the local mail is possible, but not reliable.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very inexpensive - most have house cleaners, some have cooks, drivers, nannies, gardeners as well.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are a few gyms in town - since I've been here I've participated in yoga, zumba, spinning, squash, bootcamp, running, boxing, and other random fitness classes. There are groups that play soccer, touch rugby, basketball, African dance and drumming, and volleyball. There are two golf courses, and several deep sea fishing operators. There is also a local Hash House Harriers, and a hiking club, though these seem to wax and wane depending on interest and leadership. There are definitely options and getting better by the day.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are accepted at some places - namely supermarkets and the big hotels - but for the most part it is a cash based economy. ATMs are somewhat unreliable as they frequently run out of money and have high associated fees. That said, many people use them but it's always a good idea to have a bit of cash on hand.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Liberia is a VERY religious country and an English speaking country so no problems here. I have not personally attended any religious services beyond a few events for colleagues.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There are a few local taxi services that are very safe and affordable.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

In Monrovia you can get around with most anything, but outside of Monrovia four wheel drive and high clearance vehicles are advisable. Due to the close relationships with the U.S. there are a large variety of cars here, so parts are not terribly complicated though they do tend to be more expensive and less quality. Good idea to bring some basic spare parts if you can.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes - it's fast, but it is expensive and sometimes unreliable. Installation was not complicated for me as I use a hotspot sort of system and for the most part it works well.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Three companies - Cellcom (Orange), Lonestar (MTN), and Novaphone. Many people have two as they have varying functionality outside of Monrovia.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No quarantines and there are at least two expat vets (Norwegian and Ethiopian). Sometimes medicine and equipment are not readily available, so good to bring extras if your pets have any issues or need medications. Getting pets in and out of the country is a bit of a hassle, but no special requirements and not unlike getting them out of any country.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Some spouses work in the Embassy or with USAID partners or other organizations.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Some people volunteer with orphanages, and the Embassy arranges some volunteer opportunities through the CLO and FAST programs. There is a local branch of the Rotary Club which focuses on volunteer opportunities as well.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Dress code is typically business casual in embassies and government offices and fairly casual with NGOs/USAID partners. Liberians are smart dressers and there are occasions for formal dress both in the embassy community and in the community at large.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Occasional muggings, particularly outside bars and clubs and other crimes of opportunity. But overall, I have personally felt safer living in Monrovia than other parts of Africa or in large U.S. cities.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Available medical care is not ideal and medical and dental evacuations are common for fairly routine issues. The embassy community benefits from an on-site medical unit. Non-embassy expats require private insurance and often visit Aspen Medical, a private provider in Sinkor.

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3. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Due to the heavy rainy season, mold is common, so people with mold allergies may have issues.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Monrovia is the wettest capital city in the world - there are heavy rains between April and December with a few breaks. It is hot and humid pretty much year-round, though the rains provide some respite.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Fairly large expat community (particularly for a town this small) between the diplomatic community, UN agencies, and NGOs.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are a few bars and clubs in town, a few restaurants, and many people host smaller gatherings at their homes. There are a few book clubs, and events are regularly advertised on the Liberia expats google group. It's not hard to meet people in Monrovia if you put a little bit of effort into it.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

There are a number of young single people, couples, and families with small children, particularly given the overall size of the city. For all of the categories you need to be prepared to proactively search for things to do and be willing to make your own fun. If you are willing to do that, it can be a very rewarding place.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I understand there is a small community but it's definitely under the radar and not broadly accepted in Liberian circles.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Good friends and a sense of adventure will take you a long way.

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6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Great beaches, surfing, camping trips, deep sea fishing, hiking Mount Nimba

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7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Definitely not a shopping post, but there are some very interesting and uniquely Liberian crafts - anything made with lappa (wax print fabric), quilts (lappa fabric and African designs but employing Southern USA quilting patterns - interesting given Liberia's history), and bookshelves/bars made out of old canoes are popular among expats.

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8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Being so close to the ocean and fresh seafood is a definite bonus and it really is a beautiful country. The beaches are beautiful and very close so you can go for just a few hours as long as the sun is out.



Liberian people are opinionated, outgoing, resilient, and genuinely care about the development of their country. On a professional level one has access at the highest levels of government which is exciting.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely. It's been a challenging post, but ultimately a very rewarding one.

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2. But don't forget your:

Sense of adventure, patience, and rain boots!

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3. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Books: Another America, Journey Without Maps, American Warlord, Little Liberia, Long Story Bit by Bit.



Movies: Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Firestone and the Warlord, An Uncivil War.

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4. Do you have any other comments?

Liberia is not an easy place, but with a good attitude and a sense of adventure it can be very rewarding.

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Monrovia, Liberia 08/20/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I have lived in a number of other countries as an expat, but this was my first African country.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Home is near Philadelphia. The last time I did it, it took about 24 hours with layovers included. Monrovia to Brussels (with a touchdown in Dakar) to Washington to Philadelphia.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2013-2015.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most housing is in apartments of wildly varying levels of quality. Housing that is up to developed country standards is very expensive. Sinkor and Mamba Point (where the U.S. Embassy is located) are the most common areas for expats to live. The distance from Sinkor to Mamba Point is roughly 4 miles, takes about 15 minutes with no traffic, and can take between 20 and 45 minutes at rush-hour times. Anyone (i.e. NGOs, non-USG) who has to negotiate their own lease should make sure to specify 24-hour electricity, 24-hour security, and running water.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Everything is imported, so most things are very expensive. A pint of Haagen Dasz ice cream was $15 while I was there. Bleach is made locally and not very expensive, but most other cleaners, soaps, pre-packaged foods, etc. are very expensive. Brand selection is limited, and quality is not always the best.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I brought preferred cleaners, laundry detergent, shampoo, cooking oils, and a number of other household staples that I used a lot. Also bring favorite comfort foods!

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Many restaurants in town will do take away or even deliver. Monroe Chicken (a local chain) is the closest thing to Western-style fast food available (loosely modeled on KFC). There is plenty of street food available, but buyer beware: hygiene standards are unknown on the street! There are no international franchise brands.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes carry malaria and yellow fever. There are also bitey red ants and little black ants that get into the sugar. Roaches and millipedes are also common.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The post office is unreliable, and there is no address system in the country. I managed to send some post cards to the U.S. and Europe, and those usually arrived at their destination but took a long time. Fedex, UPS and DHL are available, but rates are high. It is common for expats to ask around the expat community if anyone can take a small package to or from Liberia to the U.S. or Europe.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I had a housekeeper who came once a week to clean house, do laundry, iron and a few other chores, and I paid her US$100 per month. I also had a person who washed my car three times a week for US$30 per month. Finding domestic help is easy, finding someone who can consistently do the quality of work you want can be more time consuming.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

I used the gym at work, but there are one or two private gyms in town. The gym in my apartment complex charged non-residents about $100 to use it - including free weights, treadmills, and cycling machines (frequently not working). There is also a 25-meter pool and a tennis court with a basketball hoop. There are one or two boxing gyms as well.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Liberia is a cash economy - U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. Liberian dollars are usually used for smaller purchases, street food, produce, etc. A few ATMs are available (Ecobank), but they are not always reliable.

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5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Liberia is an English-speaking country, but Liberian English can be very difficult to understand sometimes!

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6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. There is very little infrastructure, and what there is, is in poor condition. Most buildings do not have elevators - or if they do, the unreliable electricity makes it inadvisable to use them. There's no such thing as handicapped parking, and there are none of the other accommodations for the disabled that can be found in developed countries.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There are few buses and they run irregularly. Most people get around by taxi or (especially outside of Monrovia) motorcycle taxis (called pehn-pehns). Drivers are often unlicensed and do not follow good safety practices. Vehicles are often poorly maintained if not on the verge of collapse. Motorcycle riders are often incredibly reckless. U.S. government personnel are not allowed to use local taxis or public transport for safety reasons.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

AWD/4WD is not necessary but recommended, especially if you're going to drive yourself to the beach. A vehicle with high clearance is a good idea - Monrovia's main streets are paved, but often with enormous potholes, and side streets are not always paved, or the pavement has broken down. It is best to drive with doors locked and windows up in crowded areas. People have been known to reach into cars and take things. Motor oil and basic parts are available locally, but they can be expensive, so it is best to bring brake pads, filters, spark plugs, etc. with you. Toyotas are probably the most common vehicle, so they are most likely to get fixed properly. There are a few car dealerships in town, but the quality of work varies, and service is not necessarily up to Western standards.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

I spend $80/month for 20 GBs of 3G internet from Cellcom. Other options are available, although many use USB stick mobile data modems or hotspots.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

There are three major cellular service providers. Coverage outside of Monrovia is unreliable. Complaints about service are common for all three companies. There are often problems with disappearing credit or network failures. Call rates, including international, are fairly cheap. Data is more expensive, but there are a variety of plans depending on data usage.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There are one or two vets, but services are limited.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Affluent Liberians are snappy dressers, but with the heat and humidity, lack of infrastructure, and lots of rain, business attire is a little more relaxed than it is in New York or Washington or London. Liberian society is a little bit more conservative about women covering up than the U.S. or Europe would be, but within Monrovia you can pretty much see everything, and most expats wear whatever they want without any trouble that I noticed. Dry cleaning services are available but highly inconsistent quality.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Most of the crimes against Western expats are thefts and burglaries, especially crimes of opportunity. Mob violence can occur, especially after car accidents.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Ebola seems to be over in Liberia, although it's still present in Guinea and Sierra Leone as of this writing. Malaria is extremely common. Typhoid can also occur. Only bottled, boiled or distilled water is safe to drink. Produce should be disinfected with vinegar or a bleach solution, especially if you don't plan on cooking it before eating it. Foodborne illnesses and gastrointestinal complaints are common, although most of the big hotels and restaurants catering to expats do a fairly good job with the food (there are occasional failures). Health care in general is abysmal. Spurious and counterfeit drugs are common. Bring a good supply of over the counter and prescription drugs with you. Non-U.S. government expats should have medevac insurance. There is one subscription service clinic that I know of that caters to expats, and the USG, UN, and larger NGOs and multinationals often provide their own medical services to employees.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

The air gets pretty hazy during Harmattan (roughly January to March), and during dry season people burn vegetation to clear land for farming, which puts a lot of smoky haze into the air. Sometimes locals burn trash as well. Otherwise the air quality is not bad.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The rainy season is from May to October --- it rains just about every day, often with hours-long downpours. The beginning and the end of rainy season can have some fairly violent night-time thunderstorms. Dry season can get fairly hot, and the humidity is always high. After a while, 65% humidity will feel like a dry day. Daytime temperatures are usually between 75 and 95 degrees - a little cooler in the rainy season, a little warmer in the dry season. The sun is very strong.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is an American International School of Monrovia (AISM), but I have no children and therefore not much experience with the school.

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are no preschools or daycare centers, but local childcare help is fairly inexpensive. But it may take some time to get domestic staff to understand exactly how you want them to do things and then do that consistently. This depends on how much and what kind of experience that person has had in other expat households.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Probably only through the AISM school, although there are personal trainers who will also work with children (e.g. tennis or swimming lessons).

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

There is a large NGO community as well as a handful of multinational mining, oil, and logistics companies. But there are only a handful of places that most expats socialize, so in a way, it's a very small town.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Dancing at Sajj, happy hours or quiz nights at Tides or Fuzion. There are several nightclubs and bars, but not much else. Most people make their own fun.

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3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

LGBT people are not widely accepted in Liberian society, but expats have not had specific problems that I know of. It may not be very easy to meet other LGBTs though.

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4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

There is no religious violence that I've observed, although there is often heated debate about whether Liberia is a "Christian" nation. There are a large number of Christian sects, especially of the evangelistic variety, and Liberians get extremely enthusiastic about church services. There is a sizable Muslim population as well, and there can be some prejudices against them, especially since they are usually associated with particular ethnic groups (Mandingo, Fula) that are seen by some as "foreigners" even though these groups migrated into Liberia long ago. Liberia is a male-dominated society, and women have mostly household and caregiver roles. But Liberian women can be very outspoken and of strong character, and there are increasingly more women in business and government. Rape and violence against women is a problem in Liberia.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

There's not much infrastructure, but LIberia is a beautiful country - there are some beautiful beaches in Robertsport and Buchanan. Harper is especially gorgeous, though difficult to get to, and there are some nice beaches closer in to Monrovia as well. There's some good surfing in Robertsport.

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6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Going up to the urban ruins of the Ducor hotel for the best view in the city; surfing in Robertsport; amazing seafood if you buy it fresh from local fishers; pineapples, bananas and other tropical fruits to die for.

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7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

African fabric (lapa) and clothes and bags made from lapa, wood carvings, baskets.

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8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

You can leave your winter clothes behind. It's basically between 75 and 95 degrees year round. Although western grocery staples are expensive, as is eating out, there's not a whole lot else to do. So saving money is easy.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes, but only if you don't have to pay for your own housing!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, but it's not for the ultra-picky or faint of heart.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

bug spray, crocs, umbrella, sun hat, flashlight, patience, and a sense of humor.

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4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Blue Clay People/William Powers; Mighty Be Our Powers/Leymah Gbowee; The Darling/Russell Banks; Another America/James Ciment; Journey Without Maps/Graham Greene; Chasing the Devil/Tim Butcher; Long Story Bit by Bit/Tim Hetherington.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

This place is not for the faint of heart, but is totally worth the effort. It's a beautiful country with wonderful people.

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Monrovia, Liberia 12/19/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, Moscow, Frankfurt, several African countries, parts of South-East Asia.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

From USA to here is about 24 hours with stop-overs.

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3. How long have you lived here?

19 months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Deteriorating, moldy, but large enough. You can usually find something close to where you work if you work in the city.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can find anything if you look hard enough. Might have to go to two or three stores. Add 50% to usual U.S. prices, more for electronics and appliances.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Mexican Food.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Monroe Chicken. You can't get out for less that US$15, but it is good and doesn't make you sick. The hotel restaurant at the Embassy Suites (NOT affiliated with the Hilton Chain) is ok, Mamba point hotel, and the Hotel Royal. All on the expensive side, but worth it.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Three friends got malaria. There are mosquitos in town, those who say there aren't are not truthful. Rats near garbage or open food. Lizards that don't bother you. Weavels get into your flour and sugar and cereal.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I don't. Bring it with you or forget it. I bring a lot back when I go out of country. Some NGO folks or corporate types get it through their sponsors. Embassy people have their own mail service.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Readily available but skill set, reading ability, and hygeine vary. You can get a full time housekeeper for US$200 a month. Some for much less, but with less skill and reliablility.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

A few poor ones, and a few pools. Frequent problems with power failures or broken equipment and no one in country can fix the stuff. Sometimes a tech is flown in, depending upon the gym owner.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Don't.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

All Christian and Mormon. Nothing for anyone else.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is spoken, but be prepared to not understand it. If you ask people to repeat slowly, they will try, but some will get aggravated. I am always understood, but I have trouble understanding the "pigeon" English spoken here, particularly on the phone.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. Terrible curbs, no sidewalks, few if any ramps, almost no elevators.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There are no trains or buses. Taxis are in poor repair and crowded, but cheap. I hear embassy people aren't allowed to use them. Motor cycle taxis are common, but currently banned on main streets and very dangerous.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

SUV for sure, unless you'll only be in the city. High ground clearance is a must. There are a ton of Nissans. Don't get in a wreck, you WILL be found at fault. Car theft is not a problem, but stuff IN them gets stolen, sometimes even when you are in the car.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Medium speed, often dropped service costs about US$150 per month. Prepare to reset your modem regularly. Lines at the offices where you pay are long and chaotic, and they don't do online payments.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

It is the only way to have a phone. Don't use good ones in public, they will be snatched. Get a cheap one. Rates are reasonable. Calls are dropped a lot.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No, but there is a fee for a permit and poor vet service. Getting them back out though the connecting flights in Europe can be a headache and expensive.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

If you like development work, yes, you can find something.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Tons if you want to work with the poor and illiterate.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

It's not wise to be out after dark. Several friends were mugged or robbed.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria is real. Diarrhea is frequent. The clinics and hospitals are dismal. I hear from a friend doing medical work that you can't trust the local labs, they make fake reports. You have to leave for anything more than an x-ray. I wouldn't stay overnight in a hospital here. Better to go to a friend's house and work on getting air fare out. Buy travel insurance that will get you out of here if you get sick.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Damp, but not terribly filthy. There is mold growing everywhere.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and humid or hot and rainy much of the time. Mornings and evenings can be pleasant with breezes and cloud cover.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is one American School. It is mostly for little kids and not accredited. I've heard from some embassy people that it should be avoided if your kids are older than 5th grade and they are not ready for junior high or high school students, though they say they are. There is a Turkish school, I think.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There is a place called 'kidsnest' that some expat families use. It is quite a drive for embassy people but not bad for expats living in Sinkor or Paynesville.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Nothing formal. Parent groups try to get things together like swimming lessons at compound pools, and a running club.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small to medium. There are some who make the best of it and have some fun. Most try to get out regularly. I've certainly met folks that HATE it here, but most, I'd say, are finding folks with common interests to get together with now and then. Certainly not as thriving as other places I've been, even within Africa.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Have friends over for dinner. Go camping in Robertsport. Take a long weekend trip to the Gambia or Morocco.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Not a lot to do. A few reasonable restaurants. No real cultural scene. Beaches and camping if you can get away. A few 'dance' clubs, you would be hard pressed to call them night clubs. A few pick up sports groups, like Rugby and Frisbee.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

NO! Very unfriendly towards gays. Unfriendly in general if you are not a church-going Christian.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes, everyone assumes you are a Christian. Church attendance is regularly inquired about, even at professional events.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Getting away from it. A few trips to a beach in Robertsport, which is lovely and swimable, but the accomodations are very humble. It is called a 'resort', but that is an overstatement. Bring your own food and entertainment. There is also a nice beach and pool at a hotel called Kendeja. Beaches in town are used as toilets and for injectable drug use. Careful where you tread.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Kendeja Beach. The sushi bar at Mamba Point. The old American Embassy compound feels like a park, but if you are not an Embassy person you have to be invited and escorted.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

If you like African paintings and wood carvings, there are plenty. Some say a lot of the carvings are imported from China and not really local. Colorful fabrics.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

None that I can identify.

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10. Can you save money?

It depends on how much you make. If you are paid what I'd call a good American salary and your office is paying for your housing and travel, yes, absolutely.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

It looks like it has made progress since the war because of buildings and roads, but the population at the working age is largely uneducated and it is frustrating to impact change here. The whole country seems to be waiting for more hand-outs and for someone else to fix their troubles. There is a tendency to blame any problem on 'the war' and no initiative to move past it. And, corruption is rampant, expected, and frustrating as someone trying to help move the government forward.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Nope, I'd have to take a pass. I think I could make a bigger difference somewhere else.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Good shoes, bicycle, anything you don't' want to get damp. 110V appliances and electronics.

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4. But don't forget your:

Best attidude, beach towels, boogie board, and hand sanitizer.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Don't bother with This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President
, the autobiography of the current president. She is very proud of herself and it comes across in the book, but she is gone a lot and takes credit for all the good stuff here, but none of the blame for the problems. 'The Darling: A Novel
' is a good historical novel that's fairly accurate. Don't waste your money on Cracking the Code: The Confused Traveler's Guide to Liberian English
. The people I have heard talking 'local' after reading it just sound stupid and insult the locals.

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7. Do you have any other comments?

I would just close saying there is a general feeling between my colleagues that things could go downhill here again, and fast, particulalry if something happens to the president, but for now, it is more or less stable.

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Monrovia, Liberia 12/24/12

Background:

1. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington, D.C. to Liberia can range from about 14-16 hours. Depending on your airline, you can traverse through New York, Brussels or London.

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2. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

(The contributor is affiliated with the U.S. Embassy.)

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most embassy housing is located in and around the compound, with an easy walk to work. A few housing complexes are located a fair distance away, which requires a drive that can take usually a half an hour, but have taken easily over an hour to get to/from work. Nearly all housing is apartment living. Usually around 3 bedrooms. Some are quite nice, while others are in a serious need of an overhaul, with things such as faulty wiring and water leaks occurring.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can get most anything here if you look. There are a few decent grocery stores here, and you can get just about everything you want if you make a morning of stopping by a couple of them. As for prices, it can be quite expensive. Everything here is much more expensive than the States. Cereal costs upwards of $10 a box, ground beef is around $6 a pound, and a box of detergent can be $30. Make use of that consumables shipment you get, diplomats!

What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, meat from animals raised naturally, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

You can get tons of naturally-grown fruits and vegetables here on the local market. That's the only way they come. Thr best pineapples and mangos I've ever had, bar none. As for gluten free, meat substitutes, or anything special like that, you will probably only get blank stares if you ask.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More board games and things you can do with a group of friends. "Damp Rid" for your car; it gets kinda musty with the humidity. More sunscreen! Dry season is as opposite from rainy season as you can get. Soda and beer in your consumables. Liquids can be quite expensive on the local market, so if you are like me and really enjoy soda, definitely send some in your consumables.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are no fast food options available here, however there are a few nice places to eat. You can get a decent amount of American food here, but if you like the flavors of the world, there is Thai, Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese and tons, and I mean tons, of Lebanese options. Prices can be a bit higher than in the States. I've paid anywhere from $20 to $40 for a single meal, but most of it is good. I will caution you to be careful and talk to other staff before trying a place. There is nothing here to really regulate cleanliness, and, unfortunately, at some point here you will get food poisoning. It's just how it rolls here.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes can be quite a nuisance in some areas, which is pretty standard, really. The main danger from them is Malaria, which is fairly endemic here. Luckily, pills are readily available to prevent the disease. Ants are also everywhere. You will get them. There predominant ones I have seen are fire and sugar ants. I have yet to see fire ants in a residence, though. Sugar ants, however, are everywhere, and once you get them, they are fairly impossible to get rid of. You just have to learn to seal your food tightly and never leave dirty dishes or food around.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I use our pouch address for the embassy.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

For domestic help, you will be hounded more than likely by the guards or housekeepers working for other families if they find out you don't have one. I've heard them ranging from $150 to $300 a month for a Mon-Fri work.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The embassy has a small workout facility. Other than that, no.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Just don't use them. They are notoriously unsafe here, and I can say that using an ATM in public would definitely not be a smart thing to do. There are banks, but if you have access to the embassy, use it to get cash, as it offers check cashing.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Christian churches are everywhere. If you spin around 10 times and throw a rock, you could probably hit one. To my understanding, it's pretty much all Baptist.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

There are local newspapers that can be purchased for varying costs of around $1 to a few. You have two options for TV here. If you are a diplomat, you have access to AFN, if not you can get DSTV, a South African satellite TV provider. DSTV isn't too costly, and you can get several American shows, but it's jokingly called DrySeason TV as the band that they use for the signal pretty much completely cuts out when it rains.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

The local language is "English". I use the quotes because it's really a pidgin version. Some locals can be extremely hard or even impossible to understand. Most speak standard English, though, so once you get some of the nuances of the dialect down, you'll be right as rain.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

They would not have a very good time. Anyone who is wheelchair-bound would have a very hard time in most places, as elevators themselves are rare. When the new embassy was made, the majority of the local staff had to be instructed how to use the elevators, as most had never seen one before. To my knowledge, only one of the housing facilities has an elevator.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

The US Embassy forbids use of any local transportation for safety reasons---for both physical safety and for risk of criminal activity.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Bring an SUV for sure. It doesn't have to have the ability to run over other cars to get to your destination, but just having the higher clearance will be a godsend in the rainy season. Make it a 4x4 if you plan to leave the city as. Some roads are just two tire track trails cut into the bush.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Currently the best internet available is a 4G service provided by Cellcom. It is $150 a month for embassy employees, but you are limited to 12GB of throughput at the 4G speed, and when you run out, you are throttled down to a 256K connection. Fiber was dropped earlier in the year and is scheduled to go live in late January. We do not currently have pricing plans for it, though.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Cellcom and Lonestar are the providers here, with Cellcom being the better in my opinion. If you bring your own with you, be careful if it's a smartphone. IPhones and such have been ripped right out of peoples' hands.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No. However I will state that I do not suggest bringing a pet unless you can stow it in the space in front of you on the plane. Liberia is a rabies-endemic country. Delta has an embargo on all checked pets, and BA and Brussels have a huge amount of rigamarole to go through to get your pet back out of the country. All together , it can be very expensive --- upwards of $3k through Brussels if you include all the blood tests you need.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There is one vet I know of who is supposed to be quite good. No kennels though.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Not really.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

From Buisiness to Business Casual. Fridays at the embassy are casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Monrovia is currently rated a high crime-threat post. The usual pickpockets are everywhere, but home burglary has been quite high lately. We've had about 4-5 burglaries and attempted burglaries this year. Muggings can also be a problem. There are some areas where you just probably shouldn't be wandering around by yourself at 11 at night.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

We have a nurse practitioner on staff, but anything major, such as a broken bone or major sickness, needs to be medivac'd.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Moderate to unhealthy. The majority of vehicles on the roads here barely function and tend to burn oil or not have a proper exhaust system. Also, the locals have a tendency to burn trash and brush, which can definitely add to the poor air quality. The main saving grace is that there can be fresh air coming in from the ocean, which can make it a bit more pleasant, especially if you're lucky enough to live on or near the beach.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

HOT and HUMID! It is generally around 90F during the high point in the day, with humidity around or above 80%. The two seasons here are the rainy and dry season. The dry season usually lasts from about November to May, and rainy season the rest of the year. The dry season is quite a literal term. I arrived here in February, and I remember that it did not rain until May. At all. Then rainy season started. Be prepared for some of the heaviest rains you will see. Monrovia is the wettest capitol in the world, with over 200 inches of rainfall, on average, annually.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is an international school here that teaches to grade 8, but I do not know of anyone with any grade-school children here. Most are babies, or older children in boarding schools abroad.

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

I am not aware of any, however I know some people use nannies, as they are fairly inexpensive. Though again, as the majority are infants, even with a nanny, one of the parents tended to stay home to watch the child.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Again, this is not something I am familiar with, but I have yet to hear of anything along this line.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Good sized. Aside from having a decent-sized embassy, there is also a large Peace Corp and UN mission here.

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2. Morale among expats:

Varies greatly. I know I grumble a bit in this, but honestly, I've made good friends here, I go to sleep with the sound of the ocean and I'm never cold. I've known others to be so unhappy as to contemplate what they can do to get transferred out.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This city is what you make of it, family wise. I will say that as a single, it is very boring. There are a couple of bars and clubs, but nothing that I would have any interest in going to, especially if I want to keep my wallet. For couples, it can be nice if both work, but to my understanding, it can be very boring to stay at home all the time.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It can be good if you keep it private. The term homophobia doesn't even come close to what most people seem to feel here. One local homosexual man was pushing for acceptance publicly, and he had to go into hiding due to the number of death threats he received. The President here has even declared that she will never pass any equality laws.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

The closest I have seen to any prejudices are an increased price for goods at the local markets for non-locals. Liberia is an extremely Christian country, but it seems to mesh well with the local Muslim population. I haven't seen or heard much about gender prejudices.

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6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Honestly, not too much. There are no movie theaters or malls or public parks. There are a few beaches in the area that are clean enough to go to, with Robertsport being the best, but it is about a 3-hour drive away. The advantage is that you will get to know many people at work and form close bonds. Currently a few of us get together every Sunday for drinks, dinner and board games.

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7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

There are paintings and tribal masks and jewelry you can purchase. There are shops around the embassy, but as they know most people that buy from them are TDYers, they are quite a bit overpriced. Search around a bit.

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8. Can you save money?

Easily, as there isn't anything beyond grocery shopping to really spend your money on here.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, this has been an invaluable experience to me. Even if you hate it here, just remember that at least your next post will seem like a vacation.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

Sunglasses & rain gear.

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Monrovia, Liberia 08/03/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Third expatriate experience. I have worked in Khartoum, Sudan and studied in Munich, Germany.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Flights from the east cost transit through Brussels. But Delta is planning flights from Atlanta to commence in the Fall of 2010.

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3. How long have you lived here?

13 months - summer 2009 through summer 2010.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

I was posted at the US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Mostly apartment living. Most are clustered near the Embassy, but a few are not.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Local foods can be cheap - but quality is inconsistent. But I've never had such delicious pineapples or mangoes in my life! Grocery stores import almost everything, though, and the cost is typically twice what it would be in the US.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Spare tires.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

None of the major chains - but a surprising variety: chinese, sushi, bbq, lebanese, ethiopian and lots of local places. Fancy is limited to the hotels, but even that is not very expensive.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes - expats have died of malaria by not taking their profalactive medicine. There is no sanitary system so local tend to squat on the beaches and that is unsanitary.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Diplomatic pouch. The Liberian postal system exists, and it supposedly does work. I was able to send postcards to the US, and others have used it to send packages out. I don't know if anyone has used it to send anything into Liberia. DHL and TNT and (I think) Fedex will deliver.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

High unemployment = lots of people looking for work. Finding help that is dependable and are literate can be challenging. But the CLO has a list of those who have experience. Usually incoming officers adopt/hire staff of outgoing officers. Prices vary - you get what you pay for! Anywhere from $150 - $400 to have someone come every day.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes - but I preferred to excercise outside.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Mamba Point hotel has an ATM, and I have heard that people have been successful in getting cash from their credit cards. But otherwise it's a cash-only economy. You can cash checks at the embassy if you have access. There are Western Union offices in town.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Everything under the sun. There are lots of missionaries of many denominations.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

AFN for those who are eligible, otherwise DSTV (south African Sattelite TV).

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Liberian English can be difficult to comprehend. But most everyone will understand you, and most will speak American English to the expats and switch to Liberian English amongst themselves.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

A lot. Ramps/elevators/sidewalks are rare. The country is not barrier-free at all.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

US Embassy staff are not authorized to use public transportation of any sort. Some car rental places are now being vetted.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

An SUV is best. Roads were repaved in town, so an SUV is not as necessary as it once was - but outside of town, the roads may have lots of potholes or be unpaved. There are a few places that can do minor work (oil changes, etc.) but they can be pricey. If you plan to bring something and then try to sell it, there is a 40% duty/tax to sell to non-diplomats.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Very slow and expensive: $150/month.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Everyone has them - calls are pretty cheap.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

I think so.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

I didn't have a pet - but there seemed to be a group of dog owners.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

If you volunteer, then yes. Otherwise, not really.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business suits for official functions; otherwise business casual - polos and khakis. It's hot and humid, so bring comfortable clothes.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

UNMIL (United Nations Mission to Liberia) is still present - although they are planning to draw down. The LNP (Liberia National Police) are inexperienced, are not armed, and rule of law is still more of a theory than practiced. Common sense when out in public goes a long way - no flashy jewelry, leaving stuff in the car. But I had qualms going for runs during daylight in town. The city is slowly being electrified - so at night it is very dark and people tend to drive with their high beams on which I found uncomfortable. Locals tend to cross the streets at random so driving in general requires vigilance.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medevac for anything serious. Don't get sick and you will be fine. Colleauges of mine came down with bouts of malaria and typhoid.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Moderate, very humid during the rainy season,dusty during the dry season, the trash/debris is still burned in public.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Rainy season was April/May - October. Dry Season the rest of the time - but it does rain rather frequently in the dry season as well - just not every day.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

The American International School reopened a few years ago but I can't comment on the quality of education. The facility is old and needs to be renovated.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Smallish. There are not many other embassies in the country. You have to make an effort to meet other expats from other missions/organizations but they are out there.

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2. Morale among expats:

The whole range - I loved it - others would complain about everything. It is what you make of it.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are a few clubs in town, some night life, dinner parties, happy hours at the Marine House, golf at the Firestone Compound, volley ball at the beach, checking out restaurants with friends.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Couples and singles were the bulk of the embassy community. A few familiies with infants.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Hard to tell. During my runs, I was always referred to as the "white man" by kids - not sure if that was a compliment or insult. There are still tribal allegiances, although the locals tell me that is becoming less of an issue. There is a minority muslim community as well. Given the two decades of civil war, most people have not developed conflict resolution skills. So if disagreements occur, they can escalate to violence fairly quickly.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Learning to surf, having a house right on the beach, hanging out at the beaches on the weekends, a nascient restaurant scene, amazing sunsets, very friendly people and they have their own brewery!

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Beaches, sailing, visiting the chimps in Marshall, fishing, surfing in Robertsport, Volley ball at the YMCA, golfing at Firestone, visting the waterfalls in the countryside, shopping at waterside, visiting the ruins that were once the Hotel Africa.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Tribal masks, quilts, funky sculptures made from reclaimed AK-47s, wood carvings, having clothes made from the funky printed fabrics.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is everywhere! The country is slowly rebuilding after a long civil war when the infrastructure and society was completely decimated. Imported food stuffs are expensive, the local food is very affordable. They just repaved the roads in town so getting around town has gotten much less arduous.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes, and still have fun.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Definitely.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen, sunglasses, and beach gear.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Search for news articles about Liberia by NYT correspondent Helene Cooper (she fled Liberia as a child during the civil war); as well as her book "The House at Sugar Beach". Also, president Sirleaf's book: "This Child will be Great".

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Sliding Liberia; Pray the devil Back to Hell; Iron Ladies; Lord of War.
Bourdain did a show on Liberia -- although I have not seen it.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

Just go and have a blast!

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Monrovia, Liberia 07/13/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Kamapala, Uganda.

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2. How long have you lived here?

One year.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

Approximately 15 hours from Dulles to Monrovia (ROB) via Brussels on SN Brussels; approximately 14 hours from Dulles to Monrovia via Casablanca (red eye flight). Delta was supposed to begin flights in June, but they postponed due to TSA concerns regarding the security practices at Roberts International Airfield.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most housing is located within walking distance of the embassy, some is located in town. Commute time from town can be anywhere from 15-45 minutes depending on traffic.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Very expensive. All grocery items, including produce, is all imported and brought in through the dysfunctional Monrovia Freeport. Use your consumables shipment to send an abundance of the food items and household supplies you use. Many of us use amazon.com or netgrocer.com to send ourselves dry grocery items (no glass, liquid or aerosol can be sent through the pouch).For example, a box of cereal is $8, a small bottle of olive oil can be $15, cheese is $21/pound, etc.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I would buy out Trader Joe's of all specialty items, including jarred sauces (Thai curry, enchilada sauce, salsa, etc). Also, ship your favorite soda, beer and wine. While you can generally find any kind of alcohol at a reasonable price, beer is limited to the local Club, Heineken and sometimes Carlsberg and Becks. The local Guiness is not good. Also, bring lots of items for entertaining and parties, including decorations and paper products.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Surprisingly, Monrovia has an excellent selection of restaurants: sushi (really!), Lebanese, Liberian, Chinese, Indian, Bangladeshi, pizza and international cuisine. Eating out is expensive here - think DC prices. A $15 meal out, without drinks, is a steal.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Standard African varieties - cockroaches, big spiders, lots of ants and malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Embassy personnel use the pouch. We do not have an APO.You cannot ship glass, liquids or aerosols through the pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Full-time help (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc) will cost about $200-250/month.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The embassy has a nice gym facility, with plenty of cardio and weight machines and free weights. There are also basketball and tennis courts. There is a squash court in town and a private gym downtown (not U.S. standards).

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Don't, unless you are ordering something online over via a secure Internet connection.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes - most denominations: Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Seventh Day Adventist, Latter Day Saints, Jehovah Witness, etc.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

There are a number of Liberian English-language newspaper dailies. AFN and dsTV (South African cable) is available for TV.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None. The local language is English. Local Liberians speak Liberian-English, which almost sounds like a different language!

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

This would be an almost impossible location to live in if physically disabled. The entire city is a virtual industrial zone - deep potholes, major cracks, hanging electrical wires, no ramps, etc.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not safe, and embassy personnel are not authorized to use public transport. You wouldn't want to, either.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

A 4WD SUV or truck is best. New potholes are always popping up and the depth is unknown when filled with rain. A decent clearance is necessary. Your vehicle will get beat up while here. The good news - the resale value is ridiculously high!

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

High-speed access is not available. Currently Internet fees run from $50 for 64 kb/s to $200 for 256 kb/s per month and must be paid three months in advance.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Cell phones are easily obtainable once in country (and provided to you if at post).There are five primary carries. Calls to the U.S. are about $.10/minute.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Some individuals do have pets at post, although vet care and kennels do not exist. Many people bring a year's supply of pet immunizations with them when they come to post. There is little grass, and any dog walking must take place on the embassy compound.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Unless you arrange employment with a local NGO prior to your arrival, job opportunities once on the ground are extremely limited.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Embassy dress is business attire, although a tad more relaxed. Men usually have a tie and jacket in their office if required for meetings. Women generally wear suits or dresses. Nylons and closed-toe shoes are not currently required.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Unhealthy. While Monrovia is situated on the ocean, a breeze seems to be rare (unless during rainy season).The result is the settling of dust and burn off from coal fires and garbage piles in the air. Some people have developed allergies since arriving to post, and runners have noted a feeling of decrease in their oygen supply. Rainy season (April to September) provides a slight relief.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

Everything under the sun!

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3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Liberia is still rebuilding after almost 20 years of civil war. Without the presence of 12,000 UNMIL peacekeeping troops, there is the possibility Liberia could return to such a state of instability and insecurity. Individuals should be acutely aware of their personal security at all times, as robbery (sometimes armed, but no instances reported against U.S. personnel) is a common occurrence. Individuals can also find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time - some Liberians respond to criminal acts through the use of mob violence (not a situation you want to find yourself in).

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is almost non-existent. Our embassy health unit provides general medical care, but anything else (even an ongoing stomach ailment) requires medevac to London. Don't come here unless you are healthy and take care of yourself.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Rainy season (April to September) brings almost 200 inches of rain - Monrovia is the wettest capital in the world - and temperatures between 75-95 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry season (October to March) is very hot and humid, with some dust storms. Temperature averages 85-100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is an American International School in Monrovia, which just finished its second year in operation. While the school teaches K-8, the curriculum meets (although not officially) U.S. standards through the third grade.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Nothing that meets U.S. standards.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The expat community is about 25,000, due to the significant UNMIL and NGO presence. The diplomatic community is very small - only 14 missions.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Entertaining is either done in the home or out at restaurants. Other than going to the beach, there is nowhere else to go to.

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3. Morale among expats:

Generally good. While we have great friends here, there is not much to do and the days and weekends often feel like "Groundhog Day," as you go through the same motions.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

At present, Monrovia is an adults-dependent only post, although this may be changing in the coming months, with personnel allowed to bring their children to post. While I do not have children, medical care and education are extremely limited and I would not choose to bring a child here. Couples and singles seem to do best here.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Unknown, although homosexuality is generally not publicly accepted in West Africa.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

While Liberians generally function as one society, old prejudices between the Congo (Americo-Liberians) and the Country (indigenous) still exist under the surface. Tribal affiliation is still cause for land disputes upcountry.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Most of our social events revolve around parties at the Marine House, dinner/events in the homes of colleagues and eating out. There are a few nice beaches just outside of town, but it's not necessarily safe to get in the ocean - either due to the cleanliness of the water or the very strong and unpredictable riptide. Robertsport is a lovely beach about two hours drive from Monrovia, near the Sierra Leonean border. Nana's Lodge operates a luxury tent camp there, with a decent restaurant. The beach is clean and safe and this is the primary surf spot in country - supposedly, one of the three best surfing locations on the west coast of the continent.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Very little. Many crafts are brought in from neighboring Guinea. There are some locally-crafted masks and textiles.

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9. Can you save money?

Definitely, if you don't eat out every night of the week or shop online to pass the time. Currently, Monrovia is still a danger pay post, with high differentials.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Maybe. This place can really sap your energy if you're not constantly aware and taking care of your well-being - physically, emotionally, socially, etc.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Most precious belongings and your warm weather clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

Items for your home that will make it feel like home. Bring beach wear/supplies, home workout equipment, etc.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Sliding Liberia, Liberia: An Uncivil War, Lord of War (Hollywood's version)

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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