|Here I am imaging a Guinea worm inside my body.|
|Wondering exactly what a Bull-Roarer might sound like,|
then kind of freaking out a bit
If you have read Graham Greene's "Journey Without Maps" then this book is not a recommendation for you, rather it is a must. In fact, you have not yet truly read Greene's book until you have read this book by Tim Butcher. He lets us in on so much back story to Greene's journey to Liberia that no one will ever read "Journey Without Maps" the same way again.
|Epiphany! Graham Greene's bow tie |
was really a camera!
|Dreaming of rat infested huts and secret Poro waterfalls|
after a hard day of reading
Back to the book. Time and time again I found Mr. Butcher able to clearly relate the most important insights and facts that would benefit any Westerner visiting Liberia. Every major topic or point or event that I have brought up to those interested in traveling to Liberia was brought up in this book and it was done so in a very easy to read and entertaining manner. By entertaining, I don't mean warm fuzzy feelings of happiness like when a child takes her first steps, but rather entertaining in the cathartic sense; in like you just survived a white water rapids ride over a waterfall and are happy to still be alive! The stories are often gory (but not gratuitous) and deal with such topics as murder, witchcraft, disease, child soldiers and rape, but alas! ...Can there be an accurate telling of Liberia's story without these topics being included? I'm afraid not.
|Learning that I called my 'machete' a 'cutlass' |
as a small boy because Liberian English was
influenced by "Pirate" --- arrrgh, Matey!
|Looking at pictures of Tim Butcher|
with his feet in buckets full of water
Secondly, I wanted to comment on the missionary David Waines that he meets in this book. I've been intrigued by him over the past couple of years and was fascinated to learn that Mr. Butcher actually meets him in this journey. He seems to like Mr. Waines also as the title of the book is based on his words, and here I quote, "...we are going to chase the devil back to hell through prayer." Here Mr. Waines is referring to the Poro devil, and specifically the ritualistic murders done in the name of Poro. It is hard to communicate with someone who has never lived there, but Poro is an unbelievably difficult thing to stand against while trying to live in that part of the world, but this is the sort of guy you will meet in this book. He appears here as a very interesting chap, a Club Beer drinking Canadian missionary that stayed in Liberia DURING the Civil War! That's right, during the Liberian Civil War he went back into Liberia! Wow. This guy has got to have to some tales to tell. In fact, here is one...
He supposedly even confronted Charles Taylor, which you can watch in another video at the above site < == I wonder to myself, is that story for true? It is almost too much, but if so... Wow! btw- You will find several other hair raising tales by Waines in Mr. Butcher's book as well.
The first time I heard of Waines was after watching Anthony Bourdain's trip to Liberia on the Travel channel (in which Mr. Butcher also makes an appearance). I had gotten online and was looking for more information about Bourdain's trip and came across the following interview that had been edited from the airing program (Tony "s-word" alert kiddos)...
Perhaps Tony should have let David talk a bit more here at the end as I'm sure David had more interesting things to say, but hey it is Tony's show. Whatever the case I became interested in this fellow at that time and began reading a bit about him. I had lost track of him until I read this book just recently and then there he was again! I began to have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Butcher might have been one of the main consultants for Bourdain's trip to Liberia. If you watched that episode after reading this book you'd see why I say that. I wish Netflix would bring back Season 6 of "No Reservations" so I could direct you there and also so I could watch that whole thing again myself, but it is no longer there. The Liberia episode is covered in episode 16 if you do get the chance to view it or buy it. All that being said, Bourdain himself offers the following glowing recommendation of "Chasing the Devil" when he states on the dust jacket:
|Concurring with the Archbishop's |
- "Africa has a worthy chronicler."
|Taking a break from reading in order to |
hold one of Louisiana's many fine
contributions to society
|Liberia reading bliss!|