Monday, October 15, 2007

Slip Slidin' Past Bong Mines

Weather: Very heavy rains the past few days, with over a foot since Thursday. Some strong storms. Mostly cloudy skies in the morning, clearing to partly cloudy by afternoon. Dew points in the upper 70’s. Hi Temps in the mid 80’s, lo temps in the mid 70’s. Variable and shifting breezes.

After some discussion, we decided Renita would try the trip to a banana and corn farm past the Bong Mines area with the LEAD staff, and that I would mind the fort back home. I originally thought I'd drive but I think this was in part due to some cave man part of me that thought maybe "I oughta take the wheel, honey." We both decided to let that go.

LEAD is looking at some farms for investment opportunities. The area where this farm is lies roughly sixty miles north of Monrovia. We were told the roads were good. Listening ‘twas a mistake that shan't be repeated.

It took Renita over five hours over terrible-- and intimidating--roads to make it there, and of course five hours to get back. The Land Cruiser got stuck briefly four times, and she was exhausted by the time she made it to her family that night, but she proved what a great bush driver she is. Here is what it looked like last Thursday, although the pictures fail to capture the extent of the treachery of these roads.

On the way out-- even the big fellas fall victim to the deep muck.

The roads are deceptive. The mud is part clay, and very sticky and slippery. Another semi "heech."
This was once a vital iron ore mining town.
Off the big bad road, now onto the two track bad road.

In some places, the forest almost swallows the road.

Here, Renita got stuck for a few minutes. We're still trying to figure out wha' happened.

The Team finally made it to the farm. Consulting with the folks tending the plantains.

For a few Liberians, a Field of Dreams.

On the way back, the LEAD guys attempt to offer muck-avoidance counseling.

It didn't work. Renita "heesh da jee' on da stum'." Some body damage, but after a half hour, some friends and a machete (here called a cutlass), she was back in business.
Hurry lady! It's gettin' dark, and this road ain't any nicer at night!


Lorraine said...

"bong" mines? how on earth did it get THAT name?

The Reeds in Liberia said...

Now Now Lorraine,

Yer bias is showing. I imagine a Liberian could ask the same question about a few of our Michigan (Michigan? Huh?) locales.

Bong is the name of the county. The mines part is because there are mines there.