Wednesday, October 17, 2007

nimba part 1

This weekend I visited Liberia's tallest mountain, mount Nimba. It was a wonderful adventure.
About 20 Mercy Ships crew endured the extremely crowded seven + hour bus ride (with no AC) there. We fit 18 people and luggage in a van that comfortably fit about 6 Americans. And we sat there for over seven hours our arms, legs, torso's and books bags completely entangled. "Comfortable" had a very loose definition.

But the treachery of the travel showcased the caliber of people I was with. Not once did anyone complain, get angry or tense. We sang songs, we laughed, we stated the parts of our bodies that we could no longer feel, we talked about the differences between men and woman (why don't girls want to play soccer or video games?) and we had a great time.

We were stopped almost every hour at a government checkpoint which could be a bit frustrating. The check points are set up so guns cannot be mobilized throughout the country. We would flash our Mercy Ships badges and they generally let us pass. A few times we had to pile everyone out so our names could be written down and our ID's check. Piling out of the van was at least a 15 minute process and added plenty plenty to our total travel time.

When we finally arrived in Ganta, a city about 2 hours aways from the mountain, we happily found that our four friends who had taken a taxi (affectionately referred to as "team Ben") had arranged for us to stay at a hostile/guest house.

The house became dimly lit during the two hours the generator was running and we had large buckets of water next to each toilet that we used for flushing. There is no electricity in Liberia. It's like living in a constant blackout.

After drinking coke in a bottle and eating rice at a local restaurant, we went back to our cabins to sleep. I had worked night shift the night before and had at this point been up for over 30 hours. I was definitely tired and feeling slightly in human.

My friend Becky and I shared a room. We had a mattress that sat low to the ground and was drapes with a large mosquito net. Nothing fancy but it was a step up from a tent.

In the middle of the night (I thought) I woke up drenched in sweat. Becky was also up and I asked her what time it was, expecting her to tell me it was at least 4:30 am. When she told me it was only 11;30 I tried not to believe her. We had only been sleeping for an hour and I was already entirely sweaty and uncomfortable. I new it would be a long night.

I think I woke up at least four times. Around 2 am a school of roosters outside our window decided to crow every 30 minutes. I hate roosters.

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