Monday, October 1, 2007

From Monrovia to Gbarnga and then to Voinjama

The city of Monrovia is an endless sea of houses, appearing to be made out of concrete and stucco. The houses were colored brightly but most are faded or are stained with the ravages of war. Goverment, UN, and NGO's buildings line the main roads and most are surounded by high walls and razor wire. There are homes with new paint but few; and new buildings of concrete blocks are being built throughout the city. The streets are crowded with people and cars but few trees. At times as you drive through Monrovia you will see the ocean. However, even the shorelines are filled with reminders of war and discarded articles. Most buildings in Monrovia have ramshackeled storefronts facing the street advertising phone cards, food, shoes, sunglasses, gallons of gas in glass jars, and every other imaginable object.

The road to Gbarnga (boong ga') is lush, green and beautiful. Along the road are small communites of brown mud huts sometimes sprinkled with the stucco houses once brightly painted but now stained like the buildings in Monrovia. The mud huts are a series of vertical and horizontal sticks tied together and than packed with mud until a final brown coating is spread sometimes with colorful designs blended into the coating. The road to Gbarnga is lined with the same type of small vendors that are found in Monrovia. The only difference is there are the green spaces inbetween.

Gbarnga ia a very small town of three thousand people. Though it is spread out and not so tightly packed as Monrovia it is similiar. There are people everywhere and the vendors hawk their wares. The town has the feel of a small western town in the States. The roads are a light red clay and motorcycles instead of horses move up and down the street with an occassional car honking its horn to warn people out of the way. In fact horn beeping throughout Liberia is so prevelant by all vehicles I believe it was studied it might actually qualify as a language.

This week I will began preparations for a workshop here in Gbarnga on Developing a Story Awareness in Working with Clients. I will also began my conversations with individuals to find stories. I am looking forward to this part of my journey and when I leave at the end of the week to Voinjama. I have a feeling that my blogs will be shorter.


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