I’m up in Nimba County this weekend – I’m staying in Ganta, where IRC has its main office, but drove around the county a ton to see a number of our projects.
Nimba is beautiful – different than the hilly Voinjama, but also higher altitude than Monrovia and so less humid and stuffy (though still HOT). It borders with Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire, and is the area where the fighting has begun in the recent wars. It’s also where many of the returnees came back into after the war. It’s got tons of rubber plantations, which I think are some of the most beautiful forests ever – they’re these seemingly endless, neat rows of white trees with leafy green canopies, and you can see the small rubber tapping cups attached to most of the trunks. I don’t know enough about rubber tapping yet, but when I do I’ll share – come on, you know you’re dying to know more!
Compared to Lofa County, Nimba has a fabulous road network – still painful by Western standards, but most of the dirt roads are graded so they are just bumpy, not nausea inducing , stop-and-go roller coaster rides. There is even a paved road coming in from Monrovia – though I think I prefer the dirt ones. The pavement is so poorly maintained, it’s worse than Minnesota in summer in terms of potholes! The drivers end up driving on the shoulder/dirt most of the time to avoid them. And of course, they are still drivable during the rains, so they’re not at all top priority to fix…Though the roads were pretty good, it was still a LONG day on Saturday, mainly because our driver, Morris, played his Lionel Ritchie greatest hits tape over and over…and over and over. I had never realized how sappy that guy is! We finally got a reprieve when he switched to Westlife. I think I would have preferred to hear ‘Ballerina Girl’ one more time.
I’m staying in the IRC residence with the Field Coordinator and our Blood Safety volunteer, and blissfully have internet. There is also a goat and two cool cats who live here (Rescue and Bossman). I was told that the compound is where Charles Taylor used to stay when he was here – very very creepy.
No pics from Ganta this time, but will take more next time I’m up here and post!