In the same spirit of passing along news about Madagascar during my planning for that trip I thought I might pass along some news about Liberia as well as a little history in case you'd like to know a little more than its location on the map.
Liberia was founded and settled by freed American slaves in 1821-1822 through a private organization called the American Colonization Society. It was officially founded as the Republic of Liberia in 1847. This has made for a long and interesting history with the United States. Their official language is English, they currently have a female president and they, like many other African nations, are in a process of rebuilding after two civil wars, one in 1989 and the other in 1999.
Liberia has recently been praised for their efforts to reduce corruption by an organization called Transparency International and has risen from 30th place in 2009 up to 11th this year for African countries with the least perceived corruption due to efforts by the government to increase overall transparency. The president is working hard to rebuild and has made a bold move to put her entire cabinet on administrative leave until she decides who to invite back. The country is working hard to rebuild their military and police forces as well.
In trip preparation news we are awaiting an official letter to send with our passports to get visas. In order to get a visa granted in many non-tourist areas you need to give the embassy proof of why you are in the country. We also gained two more travelers who are friends of Kathi, one of my trip-mates. They are doctors coming along to assess the medical needs, facilities, etc.