In Liberia for a Few Hours

Monrovia, Liberia–We were up at 3 this morning for the flight to Monrovia, capital of Liberia. In something like 30 hours we will have set foot in four countries: Rwanda, Liberia, Senegal, and Mexico.

After interviewing Clinton last night I found there was no electricity in my hotel room. This is a major problem in the digital age because so much of our equipment needs overnight recharging. I packed for the early morning departure by keeping the room door open so I could see by the light of the hallway. After only three hours’ sleep I shaved, showered, and dressed in the dark.

The media are no longer using the “Flying Palace.” Clinton and his delegation have taken it over. We and the staff are on a chartered Ethiopian airliner. Seating is standard economy class, but the journalists still managed to set up the cabin like an airborne newsroom. Equipment is spread across the seats, and cables snake over the floor.

The cabin crew are excited about being part of the Clinton adventure and several asked how they could get their picture taken with the former President.

We were in Liberia for only a few hours. Click on the extended entry to see photos and a video.



United Nations peacekeeping troops were seen everywhere we went, particularly in the vicinity of the offices where President Clinton met with the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Photo by David Braun/NGS


Clinton’s first stop in Liberia was at the construction site of a new hotel financed by the U.S. $30 million Liberia Enterprise Development Fund. The fund was set up by Bob Johnson, chairman of RLJ Companies and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. The Golden Key Hotel, midway between the airport and downtown Monrovia, received $3 million from the fund and is expected to open its doors at the end of the year.

Photo by David Braun/NGS


Clinton visited a market established by President Sirleaf to give vendors a place to trade and to help keep the public roads clear for traffic.

Photo by David Braun/NGS


Some of the sights at the market.

Photos by David Braun/NGS

From the market we attended a meeting of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, members of her cabinet, and members of the Liberian legislature, where Clinton made a formal announcement about an initiative to reduce the price of a cure for malaria. Read the National Geographic News story about this.

At a reception after the speeches I met James Sirleaf, son of the President and chairman of Health Education and Relief Through Teaching (HEARTT), a U.S.-based organization operating in Liberia.

Sirleaf gave me this video interview about the malaria situation and his organization’s work in Liberia:



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More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn