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

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wanted: Monrovia Garbage Picker-Uppers

Just when I thought I was getting acclimatized the level of poverty in Monrovia, a small ‘three hour tour’ with some amazing people from the Mercy Ships realigned my thinking once again. After waiting at a shanty little house, basically underneath the bridge to Vai Town, for 3+ hours, we were finally led into one of the most disgusting neighbourhoods of Monrovia that I’ve experienced. Down to the water we walked in between two closely constructed buildings until we arrived upon what looked like a garbage dump. Did I mention anything about a cross-dressing Liberian who shoves long nails up his nose? Well, if I failed to mention of the sort, I saw exactly that while waiting for our boat to arrive. Lets just say that he was a character. Our boat finally arrived, and what a boat it was. It would say it was probably 35-40 ft long, not a dugout canoe but a boat actually made of wooden planks. They unloaded their day’s catch and threw a plank down that we could walk up on our way to boarding this medieval vessel. A few African drums were brought aboard and the party started. Up and down the river we cruised, the odd person getting up to “shake what their momma gave them”.Kids ran up and down the bank doing a little jig to the best of their ability. It all seemed like a fairly festive event if it wasn’t for the fact that it seemed like everywhere was covered with garbage. There were areas where it looked like the physical landmass had actually increased because of so much garbage. Lets not forget about the masses of garbage that were just plainly floating around looking for a home on the bank of someone’s yard. Let me paint you a picture here. Just imagine a paradise land, silver lined beaches, palm trees and scorching sun. Now lets apply the Monrovia filter to the situation. Sand is nowhere to be seen – garbage replaces sand as the staple item to build castles. Any item that resembles a building supply is used to build a latrine that hangs over the water where people have for the past number of years defecated into what once was pristine water. Kids now play and swim in this water. Parents collect this water for drinking, cleaning, washing, and cooking. Its just disturbing. Recently I brainwashed myself to saying that Liberia “isn’t THAT bad” but after seeing the inhumane living conditions of these people the last thing it makes me feel like doing is “shaking what my momma gave me”. Garbage piled up around bridge structures and burnt and fully-destroyed automobiles provided a firm foundation of these fully rotten piles pieces of “earth”. It was quite a sobering tour to say the least.


  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Gaillie said…


    I love the way you juxtaposition children into so many of your photos. This one is a masterpiece of irony

    Good work!



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