the move to Zwedru
Dust on Green Leaves
Season -- another story
never knew what to expect when traveling. On my first trip to
Zwedru, I sat in the back corner of the van, gasping for fresh air
while gas fumes poured in from behind. I could not keep my eyes
open. However, they were open when we hit the first bump and
the door fell off. I couldn't believe what I'd just seen.
was dropped in Ganta to find my next connection, a pickup this time,
which had two benches and too many people in it. When they
saw me, they said, "You are too tall and will suffer too much
back here. We'll put you up front with the driver."
Did I complain? The back of that "money bus" reminded
me of a Nazi train car. I was sure I'd ride in them plenty and
I was thankful not to do it on that occasion.
border sign with a guard wasn't a legal photo. You could never
photograph a soldier. But, this guy's name was Phillip and after
a few trips, I asked if he'd like his picture taken.
dry season and the rainy season both presented their unique troubles
for all transportation. In the dry season, the problem wasn't
the goats wandering on the roads. They were nothing compared
to the dust. The soil was red clay so the title "Red Dust
on Green Leaves" was very appropriate for a book on Liberia.
That dust filtered into every space on the back of the pick up trucks.
It was hard to breathe. And, it was even worse in the back of
the large Mandingo trucks. What you traded in leg room was made
up for in dust. For whatever reason, I was a dust magnet, covered
more than any other person I ever saw.
the rainy season, I learned what you got when you mixed meters of
rain with dirt roads. Unbelievable mud holes. Zwedru became
cut off from the rest of the world for weeks at a time. You
never knew how long it would take to travel from Monrovia to my home.
Twelve hours was the minimum. With breakdowns, mud holes, police
checkpoints, and gas shortages, the trip could take days. I
was grateful for having friends who lived along the entire trip.
is too much information about life in Zwedru for just one page.
If you want to see more about the town, my home,
the "appliances" that made my
life easier, the market,
cooking, and some parting shots, go on to the individual
pages for each topic.