Editors’ Note: Laura McClure traveled to Liberia this month on an IRP Gatekeeper Editors trip organized by the International Reporting Project (IRP).
I asked this University of Liberia student (see photo) what Christmas present I should bring back to America for my 4-year-old.
“Maybe a monkey?” he suggested.
Me: “As a pet?”
Student: “Yes, as a pet.”
Me: “But don’t Liberians also eat monkeys?”
Student: “Yes, but first you can play with them. Families do that sometimes, raise monkeys and then eat them.”
Me: “What about dogs, do you eat them too after they’re pets?”
Student: “Yes, dogs too.”
Student: “No.” (Makes a disgusted face.)
Maybe he was putting me on, but I kind of doubt it. Bushmeat is a big, unapologetic family cottage industry in Liberia, hence Sapo National Park signs and bumper stickers with “please don’t eat the wildlife” messaging, like this one:
Stay tuned for more Africa dispatches.