Sunday, September 21, 2014

Travel back to site

When I found out I would be leaving Liberia within the week, my first thought was “how am I going to get back to Pleebo to a) get my things and b) say goodbye to all those who I love?” After talking to Becky, my boss who informed us of the decision to leave Liberia, I came to the realization that I was probably not going to be able to return back home to Maryland county.  I was devastated by this news, and I walked around not really knowing what to do with myself…

I begged my boss to allow me to return back to Pleebo, arguing my case as such:  if I left Kakata Thursday morning early, I could reach Pleebo by Friday night, turn around on Saturday, and be back in Kakata on Sunday.  She told me to wait until 7 am the next morning before I made any decisions; this terrified me.  If I couldn’t return back to Maryland County, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to have any real closure on this situation. 

Thankfully, the next morning I found out that Sam and ZayZay, two Liberian staff members who work so hard on behalf of all the Volunteers, argued my case and got me a Peace Corps car and driver to carry me to the southeast.  Brian (the volunteer in Zwedru) and I got in the car with Alieu, our driver, that morning and headed out to the southeast.  We arrived in Zwedru, got something to eat and dropped off Brian, and made it all the way to Fish Town before stopping to sleep for the night – a trip of about 15 hours.  In that time, we drove through a river that went up to the windows on the LandCruiser, we drove through mud that went up to the base of the car, and there were many times that I thought we would have gotten stuck.  Alieu, however, was an amazing driver, and we made it safely.

The next morning, we woke up, had breakfast, and headed to Pleebo, where we arrived around 1:00 pm.  There I spent my time packing up and saying my goodbyes (see the next post), and the next morning we headed back again.  We left Pleebo around 9:00 am, picked up PCVs along the way, and spent the night in Ganta, where we arrived at 10:00 pm.  The next day, Sunday, we arrived in Kakata around 11 am, where we unpacked and waited to be shipped out. 

On the trip back to Kakata, we almost got stuck quite a few times due to the heavy rain.  Once we did get stuck, though, and thanks to the truck drivers and Liberian men in one of the taxis, our car was shoveled out of the mud, and we were sent on our way.  The mud on one hill in particular is especially tricky, and I was amazed we made it through on our way back to Kakata. 

I will be forever grateful to Sam and ZayZay for their advocating for a Peace Corps car to carry us down to the southeast and back.  Had I not been in that vehicle, I would have never made it to Pleebo (or back to Kakata), and who knows when I would have left Liberia.  (Not like that would have been a bad thing, but I don’t think Peace Corps policy would have approved, haha.) 

It was a trip I will always remember, that’s for sure.  Liberian hospitality, thankfully, made it much better and easier to tolerate.  Again, just another reason why I love that country so much.

Alieu, the best driver in Peace Corps Liberia!
A little mud never hurt, right?

Mitch is standing on what was the old's a road no more

This truck got stuck; we were forced to go around it.

Our transport back to Kakata

This was where we got stuck.


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