The show has shuffled Tony across the world exploring different cultures and their traditional cuisines. Some of his travels have taken him to off the grid locations like Liberia where Bourdain has been personally challenged to a whole new understanding of human existence.These are powerful words coming from world-renowned writer, traveler and food critique, also known for his crass and gritty style. Even Anthony Bourdain couldn’t hold back his feelings during a visit to Liberia in the Travel Channel’s 9th season of the popular show No Reservations.
This show takes Tony to Liberia, the first independent nation in Africa settled by freed American slaves in 1847. While Tony explores the local culture and samples the nation’s traditional cuisine, he witnesses the aftermath and devastation that still lingers since the 15 year long war not that far behind this poverty-stricken country.
Bourdain recalls, “The unbelievable, mere surrealistic violence that occurred as drugged, heavily armed, often child soldiers hacked and mortared their way across the country.” This happened when Charles Taylor first marched his rebel forces into Liberia the Christmas Eve of 1989. The next 15 years, a quarter of a million Liberians (1 out of 17) were killed.
Bishop Francis Thomas, also featured in this show, mentions in an interview with Bourdain that members of his congregation still see people that have violently raped them or killed a family member during the war. Bishop Francis Thomas says, “It’s going to take time for the wounds to heal for these people, and for them to forgive.” Bishop Thomas’s hope is strong and feels that things are already much better, but there is still so far to go.
When Tony asks the bishop what Liberia needs, he says without hesitation, “What Liberia needs is God number one, and number two – quality education.”
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