Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Welcome to Whole Graway

About an hour's drive from Harper City, Maryland County, along a dusty road winding through lush green landscapes that make one dream of building a sprawling vacation home far from the madding crowd, there is a large town called Whole Graway. (And yes, there is a smaller town nearby called Half Graway!) Whole Graway (pronounced erroneously by most people as "Ho Gravy") is the heart of the Nyemoweh Chiefdom. Situated right near the palm-lined beach, the houses are large mud structures, usually square or rectangular, with thatched roofs. The round structures with cone-shaped roofs are the kithcens -- often shared by more than one family. There are around a hundred houses in the town, but because it is the middle of the day, it is peaceful and quiet. Most of the adults have gone to the farms, leaving behind the elderly, the very young, and the goats who run ahead of our vehicle to warn everyone that strangers have come to visit.

Beautiful Kids of Whole Graway

The kids of Whole Graway gather happily for a photograph.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Communication for the Nation

Lonestar Cell was launched in Pleebo and Harper Cities the day I arrived in Maryland County. What a relief! From Foya City in Lofa, to Harper City in Maryland – Lonestar Cell has the widest coverage, the clearest connection, and the best customer service...by far!

Monday, June 19, 2006

River Gbeh

Once upon a time, Liberia was divided into 13 Counties. River Gee and Gbarpolu Counties were created in recent years, bringing the number of counties to 15. There are two rivers running through River Gee County: River Gee, and River Gbeh. River Gbeh is the most powerful, with waves flowing fast and crashing noisily against the rocks. Makes one wonder why the county was named River Gee instead.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Muddy Boots

I ordered my waterproof hiking boots online, and when they arrived I thought I had overdone it. Even though I had heard stories of the Rainy Season upcountry roads (some with stretches so bad they have names), the boots looked and felt too serious for little old Liberia. Boy, was I wrong! I’m using them for the first time on a trip to River Gee County in the less-traveled southeastern region of the country. Even though it didn’t rain much during the days leading up to our journey, what did come from the sky was enough to turn the infamous parts of the unpaved “highway” into bowls of mud soup and traps of sticky red clay. When we aren’t stuck in one for hours struggling to get ourselves out, we’re stuck waiting for hours for other unfortunate souls to get out first. While we wait I love plodding around in the mud with confidence (and an air of experience in rough terrain). It’s also satisfying to know that if we have to hike several miles to the nearest village my boots will be adequately challenged.