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Downtown Voinjama

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Isaac and Family

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Monkey Bridge

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Market Woman

VOINJAMA  ...........  The farthest I ever drove the motorcycle was on my trip to Voinjama.  I wasn't brave enough to take it all the way to Lofa County, but I did park it in Gbarnga which really surprised the volunteers there.  Several of my closest Peace Corps friends lived in the farthest corners of Lofa, and I was determined to see them all.

I traveled one day with Isaac, a friendly van driver.  He had me sit up front with him which certainly helped endear him to me.  I found it was always good to ask a Liberian about his family when you ran out of things to say.  This guy was full of surprises.  He had four wives and thirty-nine children.  I couldn't believe it!  Especially since they lived under one roof (except for a few kids that had married).  So, he took me to his house. I met three of the wives and saw thirty-nine birth certificates.  I took a partial family portrait. 

When you visited an African home, there was usually food involved.  So, I shouldn't have been surprised when Isaac also fed me, but I didn't think that was included in the fare for his van ride.  There was a bean dish with what tasted something like gizzards.  I didn't like it, and when I learned it was snails, I tried to tactfully not eat any more.  Then, there was a second dish.   I didn't know what kind of meat was in it but then Isaac called it groundhog -- and it was delicious.

In Lofa County you could see the monkey bridges that were not found elsewhere in the country.  There was a really nice one just outside of the village of Vesula, not far from Voinjama. 

I really liked Liberian food (especially after my West African vacation where I saw what people in other countries ate.)  Voinjama was famous for a very special beans dish served over rice.  I ate it every time I visited. 

When I visited Lofa County the first time, I brought a special souvenir with me back to Zwedru.  Two weeks after the trip, I came down with my first case of malaria.  Take one guess how long the incubation period for malaria is.

Copyright 1999 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.