The road leading inland Liberia is is smooth tarmac but quite old enough to tell the story of one successful place. The city limit is at the slum known as ‘red light’. Here rural arrivers either come to find work or refugee they set up their own shelters. At the stretch of about 1km is market place, no one is paying a hid to anything or anyone, this cause terrible congestion, noise, pollution, etc.
The road climb into green hills, half way the climb the grey cloud brook and let strong shower, it fall so quick that it was still frozen. As I kept on pedaling celebrating this rere moment I could see the small ice cubes melting so quick when they hit backed soil. In the top of the hills is long stretch of biggest rubble plantation in the world, fist contract date 1926 Firestone rent over 1 million acres for 99 years with payment of 6 cents per acres. 2005 new contract, 35 years for 50 cents per acres.
This part of the country was more effected with war, there a plenty of ruin houses. In villages we camped, we were confronted with the same stories of horror and haunting memory of war for the adult, at certain point I start changing subjects when it was going into that direction.
Further north the road get worse, chases breaking pot holes with only a mark that there were tarmac once. Chinese are busy reconstructing new road.
At Ganta were we arrived at lunch time, we find Lebanese restaurant with air condition. It was like entering another planet, this comfort was expensive. Plate of rice and chicken $8 (USD) where outside same dish probably not well spiced is that $2. We stuck in the restaurant and neither well not muscles will allow us to cycle out of the village, we needed a break. I was the same next day so I let Matias continue, it was a sign of Malaria as I come to learn later. I caught up with Matias next day.
The road to the Ivory Coast boarder is dust road, thanks it just upgraded recently from footpath to gravel road unless other wise the distance of 100km even with bike would take about 3 days. It just deep valleys leading down from Nimba Mountains.
At Liberia border I spend more time than wanted, chatting with immigration officials who are looking to establish friends, drunk one who wanted to show their knowledge of the world and those one who wanted to show how power full their. At the other side of the bridge Ivory Coast boarded post it was smooth crossing, just stump and go!
I find Matias out side small village guest house, we spent the nigh in the small rooms which turn to be ovens and mosquitos holes.
Trapped into vicious cycle…
It was love morning awaken with thousands callings of forest birds, the close canopy forest was covered with thick morning mist. I pedal slowly try to watch for familia birds, there were couple of them. The road goes through deep forest of chanting and distance noise of people, the weather is still good but soon it will be unbearable hot. There good number of people matching to both directions, with machetes on their hands, woman with bundle of firewood in the head and baby on their back, some carry huge yams, some sort of dead animal. As other part of West Africa most of activities here are to find food. The road goes though the villages the same like those one I have seen in Guinea, Sierra Leone, etc. No one will tell me again that this people are poor because their are lazy.
There are deforestation and damage on water shade, with place where there is no meet protein is so valuable that no one dare to skin the animals scaring to loose the precious food. In this case most of wild animals are just good meet as one enjoy goat or ship other pace else.
Recently West Africa made me think about the philosophy of conservation, I come to conclusion that the recent one we have it can hardly work in the place where a life of human is on such a stake like here even if they will die tomorrow because of their distraction. In the more observations it is like the extreme poverty here it is the cycle with interaction to may other aspects; instability, environmental degradation, health, education, etc. In what I have seen I can’t see any way out without well design sustainable and combined efforts to alleviate this situation.
I have seen some project here which give evidence and hope that there is possibility. The EU projects on Education, Food production, and Health. The challenge is, they are in small scale and I’m not sure about their sustainability. Liberia has many 4X4 of United State Agency International for Development (USAID), there are plenty of sign boards and headline in he news. This made me think it is true that there were lot of funds coming in poor country but now with just little research on the subject it seem it is like sort of game.
It said that in the year 2002 USAID for Sub-Sharian was $3 per person. Taking out U.S consultation, food and other emergency aid, administration cost and debt relief. The aid per African is total of 6 cents.
No matter how wrong or accurate the date may be for me putting together what I know; the wealth of the wealth and poor of poor. I’m less convinced that we can not reduction or eradicate of extreme poverty which is not only the treat to our environment but also the global welfare. It total incomparable how may have been spent of fighting terror and how may on fighting poverty.
The Malaria days….
I have enjoyed a childhood life with no much suffering of dangerous and scaring malaria because of growing up in the highlands. Apart of the Amazonia malaria which bust out in U.S which wasn’t bad compare to the one I have now because I remember I was able to be in the television talk while I was sick.
Since Monrovia I start notice some minor changes in my body but I though that was due to difficult roads and weather. My thermal rest (mattress) start making huge babbles which make it impossible to blew. So the day I start feeling the pain in the back born, shoulders and neck I thought is because of sleeping on the ground. The next thing was chill cold come from the spine cord and made my body shiver, before I put it together I got acute headache. Laying in the tent I felt like the world was coming to the end, I straggle to put on cloths, I couldn’t think clear what should I do. For the whole night temperature went up and high so was to remove layers and put them back. The dominant thoughs was about death. It fun because I rarely think about death and now the thoughs were resisting to leave me.
The next morning the fiver decrease and the only wish was to remain in laying dawn. But I had to find out how may pills of malaron I should take. I’m not used with medications and with my numbed brain i though I will die if I over dose. So I took a walk to the village dispensary, 3 hours of walk. I don’t how I did it but thank to village guide who loudly keep on telling me stories which I don’t remember. He was always saying we were there.
The dispensary was partly supported with EU, is saving several villages. It is not best place to be especial when one has though of dying. Local make jokes with hospital here, they say is the place when you go inn you don’t come out alive. The nurse find my French accent interesting but she had no clue how may tablet I should take, she advice to take one after 12hrs. But because I was too sick I encourage myself to take 2 tablet.
The village food didn’t encourage up tight; boiled cassava and boiled meet with skin which still has some hair. I decide to take the taxi to the town, the mini bus or taxi took whole day with several changing on the way. At one point we had to go back to the village because of the threat from armed robbers. The dark fall while I was in the road, it was like malaria ghost has come back. With no layers I shiver for hour.
At Yamoussukro I rush to find hotel, i needed worm place and something to eat. Wondering around I was feeling so bad that I was waiting for the time to faint. I find hotel but I had no enough CFA (local currency) and they will not accept dollars. I handle in my passport, ipad and my USD. The night was like the night in the tent. Now with internet access i got advice for malarons, thank you so much to those who send me advices and wishers in Facebook. All were useful and part of quick recovery. After two days the fiver calm down but the more safe place to be was Abidjan. I’m now in Abidjan, thank you Daniel with your family for amazing help.