WHAT'S WHAT ON LIBERIAN CURRENCY
Last post we looked at the front of Liberian bills and were introduced to a "Who's Who On Liberian Currency." This post flips the bills over and describes the "What's What" on the back of the Liberian bills in current circulation. Let's start with the L$ 100 bill and work our way back down to the L$5...
|Back of a Liberian $100 bill - "Woman At Market"|
|A Market Under Roof - These designated market spaces under roof |
help keep the market from spilling over into the street
and provide shelter from the elements
Market women also hold a special place in Liberia's recent history as it was women praying and singing in a fish market that helped spark Charles Taylor's demise. Calling themselves "The Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace" and organized by now Nobel Peace Laureate, Laymah Gbowee, the women successfully united in mind and resources to force change in their war torn Liberia. These events are described in the award winning documentary, "Pray The Devil Back To Hell", which is definitely worth a viewing.
|Children selling bitterball at market in Liberia|
|Back of Liberian $50 bill - Man Harvesting Palm Tree on Palm Plantation|
|A Palm Nut from a Palm Oil Tree|
|Back of Liberian $20 bill - Men with wheelbarrows at market|
|A pile of "hand made" gravel in Johnsonville, Liberia|
For example, this simple pile of rocks I took a picture of during construction of Heart of Grace School in Johnsonville. Solid rock was first exposed out of the ground on site and then broken in the ground with a sledgehammer. Why? In order to have gravel for their cement mix. What here would have been a simple order of gravel scooped into the back of a truck and dumped on site took weeks to do in Liberia. Not to mention the fact that their was no eye protection as the men pounded solid rock with sledgehammers. Several men suffered from rock chips flying into their eyes.
|Back of Liberian $10 bill - Man tapping rubber tree|
|An Old Tapped Rubber Tree|
Still producing after all these years!
One of the more damning accusations against Firestone concerns labor abuses. The labor is cheap in Liberia and the daily quota of rubber demanded of workers means that parents often have their children help out to meet the quota. The nature of this work is very demanding and often dangerous and does seem to me to verge on child labor abuse. Surprisingly, many Liberians do not see it that way and prefer that outsiders not interfere with their family structures. This is an all around touchy issue in Liberia. To learn more from the 'against Firestone' perspective check out this website "Stop Firestone". For a pro-Firestone perspective, check out Firestone's site.
|Soon after snapping this picture of Firestone HQ in Liberia |
security guards demanded my mother leave the premises
photo by Carolyn Vogel
In 2011 Firestone was acquitted of child labor abuse in Liberia by a US District Court. However, an interesting legal precedent was set in that US corporations are now held liable for human rights abuses when committed in another country. I'm not sure why it took until 2011 to see that it wasn't OK for US corporations to abuse people as long as they weren't in the US when they did it.
|Baby rubber tree being grown by an independent |
farmer, in this case an NGO
|Back of a Liberian $5 bill - woman harvesting rice|
|Slash and Burn Rice Farm - Zondobli|
|Bowl of Rice with Greens - Yum!|
Here comes the end of the Liberian currency overview as they do not have a Liberian $1 bill. For an up to date rate of exchange with the USD check out this converter at XE.