liberia_kakata_pix1.jpg (12953 bytes)

My first tailor

liberia_kakata_pix2.jpg (13498 bytes)

A very slow process

Liberia_kakata_pix3.jpg (14634 bytes)

One of 10,000 workers

KAKATA  ........  All the elementary people left Klay to go to a five week training camp in Kakata with 600 Liberian teachers.  The classes were divided up by counties.  I was with teachers from Grand Gedeh County and knew all along that I'd be going to Zwedru.   The workshop was pretty dull, and the food lousy, but it was a great chance to make Liberian friends before ever arriving in my new home. 

When classes were over, I lead the parade into Kakata to see what there was to explore.  My trainer referred to me as the "pied piper".  I quickly found out where anything and everything was available in town.  And, it was in Kakata that I met the first of my Liberian tailors, Francis.  I could not resist Vai shirts.

Firestone had the largest rubber plantation in the world (according to its sign).  Another volunteer and I had an exclusive  tour by two Liberians who taught on the plantation.  It was absolutely huge!  There were 10,000 employees split up in 40 communities.  They averaged $2.00 a day which was low even by Liberian standards.  After all I saw, I decided never to buy Firestone products again.

We saw the people tap rubber.  I got to do it, too.  I watched them carry two buckets of the sap over their shoulders on a long pole and go to the processing center.  No matter where we went, fortunately, we found Coke.  I was glad because I was dying of theirs.  I even drank some well water -- risking who know what kind of side effects.

Copyright 1999 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.