Healthy Soul

Attempting to go solo in Monrovia

Today was the day to take the taxi all by myself from our offices in Sinkor to the Lone Star headquarters in Congo Town.  I was told it was a 30 minute ride and the fare would be LD$25.00, approximately US$0.35. I positioned myself near the edge of the group standing at Tubman Boulevard and 15th Street, on the side toward the airport.

Lone Star is one of many cell phone providers here. It is all pay as you go service but for some reason I don’t yet understand everyone recommends “registering” my number. The registration requires a visit to the headquarters for my picture to be taken and saved in the company’s database.

I'm a part of the Tubman team. Here I am with colleagues. L-R: Massa Clemens, Legislative Liaison; Rev. Rita Townsend, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement; and Gbaele Grey, Manager of the Tubman Farm.

I'm a part of the Tubman team. Here I am with colleagues. L-R: Massa Clemens, Legislative Liaison; Rev. Rita Townsend, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement; and Gbaele Grey, Manager of the Tubman Farm.

Congo Town was created by the Africans who were rescued by the British navy from slaver ships heading to the USA. Britain abolished slaving before the USA did so its navy policed the Atlantic Ocean, preventing passage of any slaver ships. It was believed the captured Africans were from the Congo region of the continent so their settlement became known as Congo Town. Today it is one of Monrovia’s middle-class communities.

Taxi after taxi sped by in the middle lane indicating they were already maxed out with the six allowed passengers. Observing the scene for a while I began to notice that as the taxis came close the drivers would honk the horns and raise fingers telling the number of passengers they could take. I was confused at first because they all appeared to be approaching at capacity. And then I got it. The raised fingers signaled the number of seats that would be available when current passengers got out as the taxi stopped.

Morning traffic on Tubman Boulevard at 15th Street in Sinkor. There are no traffic lights. In the rare instances where there are stop signs no driver gets the intended  message, Pedestrians simply step out and challenge drivers to slow down, sometimes stop, so they can cross the streets.

Morning traffic on Tubman Boulevard at 15th Street in Sinkor. There are no traffic lights. In the rare instances where there are stop signs no driver gets the intended message. Pedestrians simply step out and challenge drivers to slow down, sometimes stop, so they can cross the streets.

The next lesson was to learn how to move swiftly, as the passenger exchange seemed to happen even before the car came to a full stop. I was always too slow. When I thought I had it down and got ready to jump into a car a lady came out of nowhere with a sack of food. She and her sack were in the car and it was moving away before I figured out what had happened.

It takes a very skilled shopper to navigate Waterside Market. I am looking down on it from Front Street.  Across the water is the Port of Monrovia where one day soon the things I've shipped will arrive intact.

It takes a very skilled shopper to navigate Waterside Market. I am looking down on it from Front Street. Across the water is the Port of Monrovia where one day soon the things I've shipped will arrive intact.

Deciding to try again another day I walked one block away from Tubman Boulevard heading toward the Atlantic Ocean. The streets running parallel to Tubman Boulevard had large multi-story homes with security guards seated outside the gated barb-wired high walls; various United Nations’ agencies; embassies, including the Cote d’Ivoire. Harper is on the Liberia-Cote d’Ivoire border.

Flags of Liberia (left) and Cote d'Ivoire (right) border countries. Cote d'Ivoire forms a part of the northern border of Liberia as well, abutting with Guinea.

Flags of Liberia (left) and Cote d'Ivoire (right) border countries. Cote d'Ivoire forms a part of the northern border of Liberia as well, abutting with Guinea.

Stepping inside I learned that a six-month multi-entry visa cost $150.00 so I decided to get one. I needed to complete the application form, present it with my passport and one passport sized picture, and then pay the fee. It was back to Tubman Boulevard to the Atlantic photo studio where in twenty minutes four passport pictures set me back LD$250.00, about US$3.50. Within a few hours it was all done.

I did not accomplish the predetermined goal of the day, but I’m more ready for the taxi adventure tomorrow. I’m happy that I am now able to cross the border between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire without any hassles.

 

8 Comments

  1. Going to infinity and beyond (you’re so Buzz Lightyear!) — I hope you’ve watched Toy Story so you get the reference…
    Hope you’re taking care of your spirit. Don’t get so caught up in the day to day that you don’t take some downtown and relax and rest your spirit. We all have to renew ourselves, sometimes daily. Take care of you!
    Edna

    • Hey there Edna – I have to watch Toy Story again to get the reference. I am having a pretty good time. I’m learning to give up the expectations so frustrations are much, much lessened. Going along with the flow and letting things unfold at the same time I learning to function in this culture. Thanks for the words of advice.

  2. I’m enjoying your blog; I feel like I’m on your journey with you :) And look at you in the National Chronicle! Nice! Looking forward to reading more.

    • Hey Erika – it is so easy to be a mini-celebrity in Monrovia. Its been a really interesting experience so far. “Normal” is a word I now use sparingly and very purposefully.

  3. I am really enjoying your experience, virtually.

    • Remember it was Satre who said: “For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.” Keep on sharing your stories, Jennifer.

      • Hey Andrene – today was the best adventure of all. I went into town all by myself, walking most of the way, and managed to get into the inauguration even though I didn’t have an invitation. It was great!

    • Great – I’m hoping you and other friends will plan to come visit – if not Liberia then we can meet somewhere else on the continent. Think about it.

www.comopreparar.org www.todoensalud.info www.reparaciondepc.info www.seoposicionamiento.info www.empresaseo.info www.seogog.info www.reparaciondeordenador.info www.mijardin.net www.tengounsecreto.net www.tengounsecreto.in www.altaenbuscadores.cl www.noms.cl www.registrarmarca.us www.registrodedominios.in www.abogadodemarcas.in www.busquedademarcas.info www.peliculas3d.info www.productoraaudiovisual.org www.contactofarkas.com www.gatoempresario.com www.echohostore.com www.jug.com www.jugalo.com www.kartaago.com www.porlachucha.com www.blackhat.cl www.blackhatseo.cl www.antidepresivonatural.com