Kevin in Liberia

Its Purpose: to raise awareness of current social, political, ethical, and spiritual issues within a relief and development context in Liberia. Its effectiveness is simple: It relies on me, the author, to provide insightful, and often debate-sparking material that will encourage you, the reader to get engaged through comment contributions, emails, and promoting others to read, re-think, and respond to the important issues discussed.

I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom. ~ a prayer by Blaise Pascal

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Treasure Hunting in the Bong Mines

Last Sunday Ryan and I, intentionally waking up early to get a headstart on the day, got out the door at about 11am on route to our geocaching adventure at the Bong Mines, approximately 2 hours Northeast of Monrovia. The ride up to the mines was pretty smooth until we reached Kakata where we proceeded to drive an hour along a dirt/mud road up to the mines. For the most part we had no problems. Its hard to have many problems when you're riding in such a smooth ride ('88 Toyota Tacoma - quite the piece). Actually we had one minor delay/embarrasment when we proceeded to drive into a quite inviting area of mud. Needless to say, our wheels were completely submerged in mud and even our 4x4 function didn't do much to remedy the fact that we had a lot of work ahead of us. Luckily for us there were a bunch of UNMIL guys in a truck behind us, from Ghana I believe, who decided to actually do something for a change...pretty surprising for a group of UN workers! For having the largest UN presence in the world, they seem very inactive a lot of the time..except for the odd caravan or muscle-flexing exercise here and there. My personal take on the UN presence here is that a lot of aspects of it are VERY inefficient and unnecessary. That being said, I think that some of their other functions here are necessary. Anyways, these nice men helped dig us out and after a 20 minute fiasco we were well on our way.

A little background information on this one geocache...

This geocache located in a mineshaft somewhere in the Bong Mines is one of two geocaches in Liberia (the other being at the War & Peace statue on Broad Street in downtown Monrovia). It was rated both 5 (out of 5) for difficulty and location. For my first geocaching adventure maybe this was a little overboard. The contents included a Sweden patch, a mug, and a gold watch. Sounded like fun loot. After convincing a Liberian police officer that we'd "talk to the manager of the mines" about checking out the mines we drove through the checkpoint and proceeded to get lost on a long windy road the went to this top of this lookout/plateau that overlooked the mining facilities which looked like they really did something back in the days of production. Currently the mining facilities are being dismembered by a group from India and the scrap metal is being shipped back to India for other uses I'm assuming.

We walked up this dirt road, following the GPS, past this graveyard of huge monster truck sized dump trucks, to the top of this spiril-sort of staircase that led down into this dark abyss...the start of a real Indiana Jones adventure. As we walked down these damp stairs you could hear the creaks here and the creaks there. The information on the website said that there were a possibility of snakes and whatnot so were were on our guard for sure. To tell you the truth, Ryan and I were pretty freaked out as we made our way into this mineshaft. I think the craziest thing was after Ryan warning me about the crazy bats in Liberia having a number of bats fly right past my head. I didn't know if they were coming for my neck or what. Pretty insane if you ask me. We followed the directions and looked everywhere it seemed in that abandoned mineshaft but after hearing what we thought were voices and footsteps we booked it out of the long mineshaft into the inviting scenery of the outdoors. Well, no success finding the loot but we figured with all the dismantling of the scrap metal that someone must have found the ammo box and stole all the goods. Either that or it was just a super hard geocache to find. If the latter is the case I give props to the people who actually hid that thing in the first place. Unless I knew something was, or might, be down there I definately wouldn't go wandering there unless I had a "purposeful" reason for going down there in the first place.

The scenery at the Bong mines was pretty awesome. Its a lot different than Monrovia thats for sure. After suffering defeat, we both opened up a can of salmon each and ate it plain in the back of the Toyota pickup while getting rained on. I don't know if Jen (Ryan's girlfriend)will still love him after finding out that he drank the salmon juice from the can before actually eating the salmon. It must be something that he only does when he's with the boys. The pictures from inside the actual mineshaft don't do any justice so I'm only keeping with the actual quality pictures for the blog site. The other ones will have to come later when we all sit down and view the thousands of pictures that I hope to bring home.



  • At 1:49 AM, Blogger Gaillie said…

    Well, Kev, I've had salmon juice before and it's not that bad... :)

  • At 1:50 AM, Blogger Gaillie said…

    If I knew that you were going to go down some deserted mine shaft I would have grounded you!

    Love Mom


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