I’ve been in Liberia for a month now and I’ve yet to make friends. I spent my first few weeks hanging out with my cousin Weyatta but she has returned back to school in Ghana and I am all alone again. I’ve done my fair share of solo traveling, but it’s much more difficult making friends in developing countries. When traveling alone in the Western world you’ll eventually run into people you have things in common with and a friendship is born. Out here it’s not the safest to be out alone, particularly after dark. Also, there’s a bit of a language barrier; even though Liberia is an English-speaking country, there’s an overwhelming population that did not get to finish school due to the war and therefore do not speak or understand proper English (they speak broken English).
Those of you close to me know that I occasionally suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome. While out to lunch the other day I spotted a fellow traveler eating by herself. I could tell she wasn’t Liberian because she had a big funky afro and no one in Liberia wears their natural hair (and I thought Los Angeles was the weave capitol!) I saw this as a prime opportunity to strike up a friendship. While trying to pay her a compliment I inadvertently told her that she looked like a complete tourist and the conversation went downhill from there. Traveling sista with the funky fly fro: if you ever come across this, I meant no harm, I was just trying to make conversation!