Centuries stolen from us, time that would’ve made Africa one of the most established continents in the world. Instead, time was used to degrade the authenticity of Africa, while extracting that which wasn’t theirs. It isn’t late for us to revitalize our continent. I’m aware of the obstacles we face but, in time we’ll unite and divert from the colonial ways of doing. For now, I will utilize my upcoming years to unlearn 22 years of misinformation. I am taken back my stolen years, Join me!

Jul 10, 2013

Jo-BURG


Soweto! Soweto! Soweto!
As I walked the paved streets of Vilakazi, once walked by a champion of AFRICA!
The justice I should feel, and embrace seem arbitrary
I paced through a structure that once…
  Stimulated the passion for innovation
  Omitted the need for violence
  Woke up the unconscious
  Embraced the pain of injustice
  Transcend hate
  Oriented AFRICA!
At the end I feel no liberation, no justice, instead I am pondering what's next for AFRICA?

I wonder, as BLACKS are we FREE? Will we ever be free?
From my experiences and that of many I have come in touch with, the unfortunate answer is no. The successful black blue collard still has limited access to resources to expand. The successful black white collard still cannot walk in a boardroom without eyes protruding through him, awaiting the white face to sit and chair the meeting. Internally we value the opinion of others, rather than that of our own brothers, and sisters. Envious, they have something better to offer. If you believe blacks are free, I await to hear from you…

Places I visited in SA that was educational, fun, and interesting:
Freedom Hill
Apartheid Museum
Vilakazi Street
Market Theater
Cacoon
VIP

Shout out to the man behind the wheels. It's your fault all my pictures got deleted!

This guy has the most flexible joints!
 



Mar 23, 2013

This Too is Liberia…



Heading for the waves
In Liberia, after one hear the statement “this too is Liberia….” normally it is follow by negativity. This negativity takes place in all forms and relates to numerous situations.
On the contrary this post is not a subject of negativity. “This too is Liberia”….……when young men and women can hold on to a sport that allows them to preserver in all aspects of the lives.  Surfing in Liberia????

Yes, and it is taking over the coast of Cape Mount and spreading around the coast of Liberia. I longed to see the surfing at Nanas’ lodge, since I heard about it. Unfortunately, for me I always visited when the team was not around. When, I arrived in the country tired, overworked and was told there was surfing competition the next day, I knew I had to be there!

Surfing it up!

A competitor hitting the waves

With all the joggling it took to get there, we made it and it was great!! It was great to see young Liberians, girls and boys, stimulated by a sport so different from what they are not culturally accustom to, but yet so naturally part of who they are.  The competition consisted of three categories: senior, junior and women.






Regrettable, I did not see the whole competition as I had to drive back to Monrovia. However, the conversation I had with one of the 1st self taught surfers led me to believe this was not just a sport for these surfers. It was a social and psychological way out from years of devastation they had endured. 









 The confidence he exuded, from the manner in which he spoke, his leadership amongst his peers, were evidence that surfing has created a positive dimension in his life.
All in the day work 
These young surfers utilize surfing to create a sense of belonging and security. More should be done to support the surfers in RobertSport, but like most things in Liberia people shy away from the unknown, instead of exploring the unknown. Wake up LIBERIA and support your future leaders!!!!

Feb 5, 2013

Kushe Kushe Tenki 4 Kam!! (Creole) Welcome, Welcome, thanks for coming!


At the Liberia/ Sierra Leone broader
It was early in the morning when we arrived in Freetown and the city was asleep, the perfect time to sleep and rejuvenate for the day ahead. Given it was a weekend visit; I wanted to make sure I saw all I could before returning to Monrovia (though internally I knew that was not possible). Fortunate for us we did not have to pay for lodging, which is quite expensive.
After a well-prepared breakfast, we left for a tour around the city.  Most of the attractions are centralize thus; all you need are very strong legs and water.  We 1st visited the government buildings; I did not find the structures appealing, than again the British are not know for their architectural abilities. After which we found our way to the oldest tree in Sierra Leone. According to the story, the tree was there when the Portuguese arrived!! Implying the tree may well be over 500 years old.  Next to the tree is the national museum, don’t expect the Smithsonian, but it is cozy and has a lot more artifacts compare to the museum in Liberia. The museum guides were knowledgeable, and interestingly majority of the myths and believes about culture and tribes were very similar to Liberia’s.


The Tree
You don’t have to pay, but it is expected that you make a donation. The tour is carry out in two phases. The 1st, focus on the traditional believes and the 2nd focus on past, and current history.   Be aware, one of the guides might tell you to hand over your donation, though it is clearly stated that all contributions should be place in the donation box. I did not take that well, the museum received its donation, but he did not get the tip we had allocated for him. After the cultural tour, we walked over to the bank, and we had problems getting Leones (money use in Sierra Leone), due to the fact we had dirty US dollars. In Liberia, they don’t care how the money looks, as long as it is money, which is very bad. It is best to send a local to change your money, because if you have dirty money they will not change it in the banks, which I respect. Though at the time it was upsettingJ. We finally got some Leones, and headed out to the market. Things were fairly cheap, so it was fun shopping!!!


Fourah Bay College was founded by Church Missionary Society in 1827, for the purpose of training Africans as schoolmasters, catechists and clergymen. It is one of the oldest universities in Africa, and it was known for producing leaders from all around Africa. Since the war, the university have not been able to revert to its pre-war status. However, classes are back in session and students are going about business as usual. The view from the campus overlooking Freetown is beautiful. I could only imagine what it was like to be a student during its peak years.



View from the top of the college

We visited the Aderdeen strip, line up with nightclubs, beaches bars, restaurants, etc. The beach is nicely set up, with vast things to do and places to eat.  After acquiring few pieces of art, I wanted a smoothie so we stopped at a pastry shop call Town bakery (their smoothies were not good). Don’t go there!!

The next day we arrived at Aqua country club after previous arrangements were made for a boat rental and guide to Bunce Island. Bunce Island was the largest British slave castle on the Rice Coast of West Africa. Founded around 1670, it exported tens of thousands of African captives to the west.  Unlike, Goree or Cape Coast, it is still under development, but once it is restore it will be one of Sierra Leone top tourist attractions.  Once we arrived at the dock the tour guide and the boat was made available. We used a company, but it was arranged through the owner, therefore I am not quite familiar with the process. However, we paid 200 United States Dollars to charter the boat and get the tour. The ride to the Island was beautiful, it is an opportunity to see the city from a different perspective. 
I luv these guys...


Welcome to BUNCE






The Name Tree
























After 45 minutes of sailing we arrived on the Island. If you been to Goree or Cape coast, do not go with high expectations. As mentioned before the Island is under renovation, and it is not exactly a priority given the post war country has other critical issues to address. Once on the Island it is exclusive yours, and lucky us we had a knowledgeable tour guide.  It took us about an hour and half to complete the tour. On our way back we were so tired, but had gain added knowledge. One of my favorite things was the craving name tree, and the rocks I found. It was good we took a car because bringing those rocks on the plane would have been interesting.

Freetown is a city in the shape of a hill. So the further up the hill you get the closer to the peak you get. The closer to the peak you own a property the wealthier you are. We drove as close to the peak as we could go, and had to get out of the car and walked as it was too steep. We were close to the peak, but we did not make it to the top (I had lazy bums with me). I am sure next I will make to the peak!
I almost made it to the top

















It just happened the weekend we arrived there was an international arts festival taking place, which  they have frequently, so lookout for it. It is a great way to find unique items from all over africa.



What a day.........
Thanks to my buddy who resides in Freetown, and knows his way around, I was able to club hop and it was an experience to remember. The first club we entered, before I could sit down my iPhone got stolen and I was piss off!! Liberians always say Sierra Leoneans are thieves, it is bad to generalize, but after my experience I am not sure we should stop generalizing. They don’t just have sticky fingers!! They have quick fingers too!! I don’t let bad moments ruin my plans, so we went to the few other clubs. My favorites were office and old school. The music and the crowd were good, and we ended the night with me getting in the car at 6am and driving back to Monrovia. It was a good trip; I wish I had stayed longer.
Sierra Leone seems to be recovering from the war faster than Liberia based on my observations. The infrastructures have improved greatly, as well as job and education attainment. Two different countries, different context, but our shared boarders and experience of war will keep us forever bond.   However, why is Sierra Leona progressing faster than Liberia? What can we learn from their speedy recovery?

Jan 9, 2013

Robbed in Kenya



(Neighborhood I got robbed in)
I wanted my 2013 to start of with something memorable, and interesting. Be careful what you wish for as my new year eve was unforgettable. Robbed in Nairobi by four gunmen. No, I did not try to find out if the gun was real. Stripped of almost everything I own, only to be rescued by corrupt Kenyan police officers that extorted more from me than the arm robbers.  Apart from that, it was a good trip, infuse with delicious passion fruits, memorable artwork, bad cheesecake, smiling sympathizers, fantastic friend/host and her family…I will definitely return.

To my Taxi-Jackers...
I do not hate you for what you have done to me, but I hope one day your leaders, and mine can realize how their lack of sensitivity for those at the bottom effect us daily. President Mwai Kibaki term is over though he is love by many, he must go. I hope whoever wins the next election realize the plight of the Youth. Do not think I feel your actions were justify, but I understand the direct decisions made by those in position of power that led to the unjust environment you have to survive in. Once again I do not commend your actions, as there are millions just like you, who have consciously chosen not to take the path you have. However……

Thanks for answering my questions as you squeeze me between two hours of stench I will never forget.
Thanks for sparing my life as it is why I can say these words today.
Thanks for sparing me the pain of going through bureaucratic procedures of renewing my identity.
Thanks for increasing my adrenaline to explore our continent!
Thanks for understanding the importance of my wildflower.
Most of All I repeat….….GOD bless YOU, I forgive you.
1st time on the mutatu(bus)
Ooops I forgot… you will never be able to use that IPAD 2 cuz it will be deactivated…:)

Stolen Camera, Ipad = No Pictures.

Dec 4, 2012

Chimpanzee Island




Chimpanzees coming out to shore


Maybe I expected too much from the Chimpanzee Island. I had envisioned…...................An island off the coast of Marshalls on which upon arrival , a guy in a Crocodile Dundee outfit  with Australian accent comes sprouting towards the boat welcoming us to the island. Introduces himself and lead us towards the chimpanzees, on the way telling us how to behave and what to expect. Once we are close enough we can feed them, play catch ball with them, and have them eat bananas from our palms!! After a long day of playing and exploring the Island to show how grateful they are, the chimps will walk with us back to the boat, and sadly wave us away. 

In reality, we left Monrovia about 9am after we picked up several colleagues on the way. Cramped up in my Nissan, literally as we had tree in the front and four in the back.
3 in the front

4 in the back, one invisible:)












Thank God we are in Liberia, because we would have been pulled over in a second. After about 45mins of driving we arrived at Marshals Island, our guide DMAX arranged for a boat to take us to the main Island. We were charged 65 USD and they did not provide anything. We had to bring our life jackets, food, etc.  The town is quite lively with few places to get snacks, but make sure you eat before going, and take snacks. We parked the car by the loading dock, and had someone watched the car as we sailed out. 
  
Who can do the best Chimp. impression?
We sailed for about 20mins before arriving at Chimpanzee Island. The ride over was beautiful in terms of scenery, and conversations. Once we got there, I was so shock! The chimpanzees were as big as me, I wish I had the chance to get closer.


Pay attention to this sign




For all those scary cats out there, there is a warning that prohibits boats from crossing a specific point, it is a way to protect the animals and humans.  Once you follow the rules, you will get close enough to have fun with them, without leaving your bones behindJ




Unfortunately, we made a mistake, and did not buy enough bananas, after 10 mins all our bananas were gone, and we had to scrap for snacks to maintain their attention.  Take as much as you can, as it is a way to keep them active.



 
I was wondering the same thing. why do we have Japanese flags on local boats? long story..











 









On the way back we stopped to get taste of palm wine (Liberian brew alcohol brevage), and we definitely won a dance off with a self proclaim dancer.
 
Mr.Gbowee with his Palm Wine


We made it back safely!! Our sailor on far left.

As great as this trip was I could not help readjusting my thoughts to the previous days when I read an article pertaining to the Island, and how it manifested in Liberia. I was appalled and disturbed that our government will approve something so dangerous (click here to read). When does idiocracy ends?
 
To view more pictures click here







Aug 8, 2012

If I was Tomorrow


Photo
                                   We are the core!



















The more I learn about the core issues surrounding the commencement of one of the most brutal civil war in the world, the more I strive daily not to repeat the mistakes of my forefathers. There were several reasons for the Liberian civil war, but I concluded the core was our distaste for each other, and our failure to love our country. The past is the past most people say, but the lessons of the past is an intricate part of how we advance our future. In a country, that exudes violence, maintaining an attitude of tranquility is hard. How can we sustain peace when 60% of the youth population does not have the skills, or the resources to become participatory citizens? Liberian youth were dealt an unfair hand; however there are many who excelled, and are excelling irrespective of the debauch environment they find themselves. Every human has an innate ability to be great should they strive to be. Liberian youth we need to stop using the past to justify our idleness…..

If I was Tomorrow
If I was tomorrow….
I will tell yesterday it slowed me down,why hissing my teeth.
Allowing malicious war lords to penetrate my sanity.
Using me as pawn in a game I could never win, nor understand.
Infringing on my basic rights, why their children were bombarded with lifetime opportunities.

If I was tomorrow….
I will scream in the faces of my forefathers, WHY?
Why did they stand by for “others” to take away the essence of who I am?
Why is the same "old thing" acceptable today?
Why saying NO to the status quo means societal exclusion?
Why today when I stare in the mirror, I can barely recognize the features I should have inherited?

If I was tomorrow….
I will stop asking questions and start finding answers.
I will stop sulking in self pity and start looking for opportunities.
I will stop blaming the “others” and start taking responsibilities for my disposition.
Hell, with it! why wait for tomorrow, I have today!

Jul 17, 2012

Kpatawee Water Falls







Dry Season
With limited access to roads in Liberia, many find it difficult to leave Monrovia. Thus, there are many undiscovered sites waiting to be explore. One of which is the KPWATAWEE waterfall located in Gbarnga. An undiscovered gem, if properly invested in could be one of the best tourist attractions in West Africa. The first time I visited Kpatawee it was a hot, sweaty and a tiring day. I did not spend more than an hour there. However, I was taking away by the site, and promised to return to savoy in all that it has to offer.

1st time at Kpatawee (dry Season)
With limited recreational activities in Monrovia, I needed an opportunity to return to Kpatawee. Fortunate for me, my birthday is during the raining season. Liberia has two seasons, which is dry and raining season. During dry season the temperature can exceed 90 degrees. There is a saying around Liberia to explain exactly how hot it gets, many say dry season is the season during which one can take sweating showers. Literally, you are sweating while taking shower because it is so hot! During, raining season the temperature drops due to the heavy rain, thus the air tend to be cooler.

Mini stop to ensure all was in place
So, I was ecstatic when I decided to plan my birthday outside of Monrovia. Many of my associates and friends were not as excited partly because it was not the norm for them to leave Monrovia, and it was four hours drive away from civilization. However, I convinced enough people to come, and celebrate my birthday with me. Which in hindsight many did not regret.

We left Monrovia around 9am, arrived at Kpatawee at 1:30pm. It was little longer because we stopped quite a few times to take pictures, buy food, socialize with the locals, and due to careless driving we got into and accident. Fortunate for us no one was hurt, and we were able to continue with the trip.

The road leading to Kpatawee is currently under construction; therefore the last stretch is gravel. I will advice anyone going there do not drive too fast, the manner in which you drive on a coal tar road is not the same as a gravel road. If you speed most likely your tires will be pull by the gravel, which will lead to disaster. On a happier note we arrived at Kpatawee in one piece and every one was excited.

This accident did not stopped us! It just delayed us:)

We drove the car like this until we got back to Monrovia
Picture time!

Purchasing snacks...corn never look so good:)

Bathroom break, Liberian style

How high can we go!!! the locals thought we were crazzzyyy.
During the dry season the waterfall is nice, but during the raining season it is amazing! Driving towards the fall the scenery made me feel I was in a safari, and at any moment an elephant will be soaring excitedly. The massive green pasture of land spread penetrating the mountains behind the falls, inviting you in to a soundless world. Literally soundless because there is no phone signal once you branch off the gravel road to Kpatawee. Upon arrival you have to pay (100LD) per person for the day. There are no amenities available in the area, if you intend to spend the day, take all that you need (food, games, etc).  They have benches and few huts to sit and relax. However, you need to bring something to cover up, as there are ants lurking around, due the fact the area is not care for frequently.

Once inside you are instantly drawn to the gushing sound of water flowing between rocks. I can attest, the first thing anyone will like to do is to go directly into the water for a swim, except for the few greedy ones among your group who will opt for the foodJ.
FOOD and DRINKS


That rock was hot!!!
So beautiful.....
We spend about an hour exploring the Fall. Using different routes to get to the highest peak of the Fall, it was not possible. However, we were able to get high enough to enjoy one of godsend to Liberia. After which we begun to play a game of Ludo, but could not complete as our conversation was foster by the beauty of where we were.


We almost got to the top
The water felt so good, but be careful if you have sensitive skin like me.
(water is dirty)



Ma petit soeur je me manque


They say when you have something you don’t know, until it is gone. With the influx of external forces into Liberia, if we do not start taking care of what we have we might lose it to others. Apart from being a tourist attraction, the force the water flowing down from Kpatawee produces could be utilized to supply electricity to the surrounding towns, maybe all of Gbarnga. There is a possibility for mass agriculture cooperatives to be developed in the local communities in which a culture of produce specialization could commence. Electricity and sustain source of food are two essential commodities that will enable many Liberians to potentially be self-reliant. So, my people tell me why a property own by our government is so under utilize?
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