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Zwedru International Airport

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The Parking Station

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Panorama of Zwedru

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Typical side street

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A welcoming smile

ZWEDRU  ...........  After one road trip, it was easy to understand why I preferred flying to Zwedru.  Of course, that was a "take your life in your hands" experience.   But, anything that happened to me didn't compare to the trip my friends took in a missionary plane.  That pilot had no radar and could only fly visually.  As a storm eliminated all visibility, they had to fly along the course of a river as the tree tops came closer and closer. 

Friends were amazed as they pulled into the Zwedru parking station.  (A name I thought was so perfect for a bus station since you parked yourself there and waited hours or days.)  Zwedru was the home town of the president / dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe.  He made sure that Zwedru had electricity -- occasionally, and for sure if he was in town -- along with street lights along the divided boulevard.  There was nothing else like it anywhere in the bush.

Zwedru had some of the few paved roads outside of the capital.  Still, most side streets in town were dirt.  Buildings in the city were usually covered with zinc.   It didn't provide the ambiance of thatch, but it did last longer and kept the bugs out that liked to nest in the thatch.

Since it was the president's home town, there had to be a lot of Peace Corps Volunteers there.  It was a political thing.  So, there were usually about six or eight volunteers in town, along with about that many Europeans working on development projects and the same amount for the missionary community. 

It had been a really fortunate opportunity for me to take the class in Kakata with 600 Liberian teachers.  I had a foothold in Zwedru as soon as I arrived.  The people who remained closest to me throughout the experience in Grand Gedeh were the teachers I met that first month in the country.

Copyright 1999 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.