Zwedru: One Seriously Epic Journey

This week, I was on a five-day trip to Zwedru for my work with the U.S. Embassy/Monrovia State Department.  Since I did not have access to the internet for most of the trip, I kept notes on my phone of the experience.  These notes became journal entries. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

A 5:21 am wake-up call from a rooster somewhere outside.  “Cockaroo,” it says, still half asleep and seeming to only begrudgingly carry out its role.

I am in Ganta, a small town about a five-hour drive Northeast of Monrovia.  My colleagues Paul, Belvis, and I are on our final field visit for my educator training series at the Embassy’s American Corners.  Ganta was our layover on our way to Zwedru, still six more hours southeast.  Because of the underdeveloped road system, we had to go northeast and then southeast to get from Monrovia to Zwedru rather than simply cutting straight across Liberia from one city to the other (see map below).  Along the way, we will be stopping in the city of Saclepea so that I can offer a training seminar to 45 area school principals.

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Mural #44 @ Zwedru by Phillip Martin

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A Story Told Under the Stars

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This past weekend, Andrew and I took a weekend trip to the nearby, coastal town of Robertsport, Liberia.  The weather was cool, the moon was full, and the secluded beaches were lovely.  We camped on the shore beneath a grove of native trees, and with the light of the full moon in our faces, we laid awake for a while.  So, with no wifi signal or electronics to provide us with entertainment, and feeling inspired by the natural beauty around us, I resorted to a tradition found in every culture around the world dating back hundreds of generations.

I decided to tell a story.  And it went something like this….

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Zorzor Part 3: Why I Usually Hate February…But Didn’t This Year

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“April is the cruelest month…” begins T.S. Eliot’s brilliant modernist poem entitled The Waste Land before he laments the confusion brought on by all the possibilities of springtime.

If you, like me, grew up in the U.S. South, I’m sure you would quite agree that April is actually a brilliant month.  The sun shines longer, the temperature is warmer, spring break is near, early crops are fruiting, and flowers are blossoming!  The only confusion is about how many supplies to take as you head out for a day of fun.

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Zorzor Part 2: Beauty & the Heat

 

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Bucket baths….  

My initiation into new experiences while in Africa seem to begin with a baptism by what I affectionately call “bucket baths”: those daily ablutions that occur with a limited resource of hot water that has been carried to the shower in a bucket or pot (depending on whatever vessel might be available) and enjoyed immensely in the knowledge that one is lucky to have the opportunity to wash away the day’s oil, dust, and dirt to make way for a restful night and a fresh adventure the next day.

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Zorzor Part 1 – The Dream & the Journey

 

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Photographing a soccer match in Zorzor, Liberia. January 28, 2017.

When I was younger, I dreamed of Africa.  I craved the adventure of it.  The mystery of it.  The exoticism of it.  As a girl, I envisioned myself as an adult, bringing change to the continent in my own way … which just happened to evoke brilliant smiles that surrounded me in appreciation and mutual connection.  That dream never left me.  Six months ago, I joined my husband in Liberia and had this very vision in mind.

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Holy Dry-Season-December, Batman!

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This is what December in Liberia looks like. 🙂

Happy December!  As I have been pressed for time because of research papers and projects, I’ve filmed another vlog for this week.  (My face in the preview looks more serious than the vlog actually is! LOL

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Our first Christmas tree. ❤

The Liberian dry season technically started on October 15th, but it doesn’t officially start until the fruit bats return to Monrovia.  They arrived this week!

 

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A rare roller-skate sighting!

 

 

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It’s all too common to see individuals on crutches or in wheelchairs who were crippled during the wars.

 

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The view from The Capital Room in Monrovia.  Gorgeous!

 

 

After a Month Away, A Little Bit of Everything

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My first official presentation at the US Embassy in Liberia: Orientation for our cross-border video conferences with Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, GA, USA.
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My first Marine Corps Ball.  Happy 242 birthday to the USMC!

My first vlog:

Video of our drive to Tropicana Beach:

Some more sites around town:

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Who do you think is the audience for this billboard?
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“Liberian traffic cone” 🙂