Wow, I have been MIA for April and May and for that I truly apologize. When I first came to West Africa I was so fraught about the poor telecommunication systems here and not being able to check my emails at least once a week, update apps on my iPhone, download new books on my Kindle, or perhaps most importantly; find new articles to help conduct my research. However, going online became less important and even though I now have better internet access here in Liberia, the minimal distractions have led to more creative outputs as I have been able to re-draft the first and second chapters of my thesis and re-submit them this past Monday.
Turns out, there is a reason why writers go to the ends of the earth to lock themselves in a hole somewhere, it really spurs you to think, imagine, and reflect on your experiences. This has really been helping me to process all that I’ve seen in West Africa and how it fits into my immediate projects as well as my long-term goals. Oh yeah, and I’ve also been busy with a new man in my life.
So, back in April on Easter weekend I was diagnosed with the most common and deadliest strain of Malaria, Plasmodium Falciparum. It was that Friday I went to the beach with a friend to frolic around in the ocean for a bit. While coming up to rest on the sands, I saw my friend talking with some other guests, as it turns out they are a part of the United Nations Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF) and the third guy was from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), my friend so happens to be a consultant for NGOs, so he was chatting them up.
When I joined the group, he introduced me and of course, that I am a student on field research, and one gentleman seem to pay special attention to me. “You shouldn’t go so far out in the ocean, the water is very very dangerous,” he said to me. I nodded and responded that I knew and at one point I almost did get carried away, but before I panicked I remembered the waves would push me back so I treaded water and waited for the current before I started swimming again. He had a thick eastern European accent, we introduced each other and connected on Facebook.
At the time, I thought he was OK-looking, kind of scruffy with a beard but nonetheless he’s with a UN agency and this could be a great networking opportunity for me. When he messaged me on Easter Sunday, I told him that I was on my way to the clinic since I was feeling ill, he expressed grave concern wanting to know every detail of the doctor’s reports, lab tests, and…etc. We texted every day and he had offered to come see me, or take me to another medical facility when my first treatment failed (Malaria is hard to cure), or even to live in his apartment for the rest of my time in Liberia; I resisted because I was staying true to my mission and my temporary stage here. It is the same thing I told my prior suitor in Sierra Leone, “I’m not interested in hooking up, dating, or being in a relationship with anyone while I am here in Africa. I’m focused only on my field work.” A.K.A leave me the fuck alone.
However, after I finished my Malaria treatment, I was well enough to return to work at the office. After catching up with a female acquaintance about my last few weeks and this weird beach man, I realized (and she encouraged) that his office was a few minutes away from my office and maybe it has been too long and we should have coffee together. So, I called him and he picked me up.
Fast forward to a month later and Mr. UN broke my last line of defense. Now to be clear, he had been making physical advances towards me since our first “date”. But has always shown boundaries and driven me home when I ask to leave. Looking back, I guess I should have seen that the sexual tension was heightening. Instead of me coming over for dinner at an appropriate time to eat (around 6pm), he was coming from the beach and since I live near there, he had picked me up around 7 or so, and we arrived after 8pm to his place. So, this is starting to look more like a sleepover than a casual dinner.
It began with his seduction tactics: the kisses, love bites, firm grabbing which started in the kitchen and somehow ended up on his couch. Maybe I had taken a reprieve to have a seat and he had stalked his way over to pounce on his prey.
I stood up, “OK, two things, first I like you a lot, but I don’t feel a connection. I need an emotional connection before we can be intimate, so I’m not ready.”
“Don’t worry,” he responded. “We will have the connection soon.” I rolled my eyes thinking he was talking about physically and literally connecting into me. So, I said dryly, “I’m also bleeding.” This man did not miss a beat. “I’m a police officer, I’m not scared of blood.” I looked him dead in his eyes and responded that it wouldn’t be sanitary, although that is technically not true, as proper condom usage would protect him, but I was sure this would quell his lust. I mean, surely, any man would be repulsed by the idea of—
“Hey, what are you doing?!” I exclaimed while swatting his hands away from my pants. He was actively trying to pull them down.
“Let me check.” He said. I nearly bursted out laughing, “You think I’m not telling the truth? Hun, I wouldn’t lie about that, it started a few days ago–”
“So, today is your last day?” He asked.
“Well, maybe…” I trailed off thinking about an easy way to explain post-menstruation bleeding and fluid discharge, when I felt him plunge into me, hard and desperate and my own body contracting and pulsating as a reaction to the foreign entity invading the tight space.
We both stared at each other for a moment, maybe he was gauging my look of shock and I was waiting for his reaction once he removed his hand from beneath my underwear.
Things are going to get messy.