19 February 2012

Liberia pt1

Its been almost a decade since the civil war in Liberia ended. Much has been rebuilt and fixed but still the scars of the years of fighting can be seen everywhere. Today was basically a day off for me as I wait for the rest of the crew to arrive from the states. Instead of hanging around at the hotel I hooked up with our driver for the trip and spent the day with him as he ran some errands around the city.

One of his missions for the day was to test an old Land Cruiser which a friend wanted to buy for another local NGO. The car was basically an empty shell patched with poly filler. We took the unregistered car up the west coast and tested it on some of the more dodgy roads on the outskirts of the city with the burly nigerian car salesman in the back and the rest of us three bunched in the front. On the way we found an empty destroyed 6 story hotel with a local community living around it. I asked Anthony my driver to stop and managed to quickly look around and shoot a few shots of some of the kids who play in the empty building. The kids wearing Army clothing gave the place an eerie feel of child soldiers which might have been in the same place a decade ago.

On the way back I experienced some real Liberia as we were chased down by a police car for having an unregistered vehicle. We spent about 40 minutes waiting in a truck stop of sorts as Anthony bargained with cops until they agreed to a price for the "fine."

All Anthony said afterwards was T.I.A. (This Is Africa)

Frank the local kid who showed me around the abandoned hotel

Frank and Daro on the 2nd floor where much of the ground has caved in spots



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