Sunday, February 19, 2006

Foya Rebel Fortresses

Foya, Lofa County

One of the most remarkable things about Foya is that years after the fighting, homes and buildings still bear the marks and warning signs of the rebel forces who terrorized the citizens there.

I asked people why they keep these reminders of such a traumatic time. Someone explained that they're waiting for the owners of the abandoned buildings to come back and fix up their places. Some of those living in marked houses said they simply don't have any paint.

If you want to help give Foya a facelift so that the children don't grow up thinking this is normal, please contact me.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Making Country Cloth

Foya, Lofa County

Mohammed Sheriff, Imam of Foya City, leads prayers at the mosque and teaches his son how to make country cloth -- just as his father taught him. They will weave the colorful yarn into a thick, striped cloth to be used for shirts, gowns, hats, and other items.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Towo Finda's Fishing Nets

Foya, Lofa County
Towo Finda makes fishing nets with rope made from fibers found in leaves from the palm tree. You fold a long thin leaf in half, and, from the crease, peel away to expose the fine green fibers. The fibers are then twisted together into a thin rope and laid out to dry.

When fishing season rolls around, women go out in small groups and wade into the water with their nets. They gently shake the nets underwater to lure in the fish. Towo Finda says she used to fish herself, but had to stop for health reasons. For several years now, she has made nets only to sell. It takes about a week to make a good net that will last for several years.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Foya, Lofa County
Frogs - only $10 LD for a pile

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Edwin Kpongo, Brick Maker

Foya, Lofa County
Edwin Kpongo and his friends earn a living making bricks out of mud. Each man on the team makes 200 blocks per day, and gets paid $200 Liberian Dollars for his labor. The blocks take up to 15 days to get dry. During construction they are put together with cement, and then plastered. With the plaster and a roof for protection, mud houses last for many years.

Bricks in the Sun

Foya, Lofa County

Mud bricks laid out to dry in the sun.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Foya Market

The Foya Market is situated in the middle of the town right along the dusty Kolahun Road, a.k.a. "Foya Broad Street."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Tribute to Mr. Marshall

I returned from Lofa County to a house with kids' handprints everywhere and the news that Mr. Marshall, our beloved painter, died while I was away.

When we renovated the house we live in, Mr. Marshall was the only professional among a motley crew of guys who didn’t know what they were doing. The “painters” didn’t know about using masking tape or newspapers to keep paint off where it didn’t belong, they left oil paint to harden on the brushes overnight, and one of them put so much paint on the kitchen ceiling that we had little icicle-looking things forming and threatening to drip on our heads. Mr. Marshall corrected their mistakes, taught them patiently, and did his own work carefully and beautifully. “Quick impact, Mr. Marshall – you’re too slow!” my husband would say. But Mr. Marshall would just laugh and refuse to rush. Long after the main job was done, he was the one we called to do extra paint jobs and touch-ups here and there.
I loved and respected Mr. Marshall not just as a painter, but as a friend. I liked listening to his stories about painting the Executive Mansion and Tupee Taylor’s house, and I enjoyed watching him interact with my two little boys.

We miss him dearly, but perhaps the Gates of Heaven needed a new coat of paint and Mr. Marshall, at 70, needed a rest. I, for now, will live with my walls the way they are because I cannot imagine having someone else paint them for me.