very slow process
of 10,000 workers
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.