Sunday, April 25, 2010

A trip to the Du-Port,Liberia's first port

Hi everybody... as our time in Liberia is looking shorter and shorter (leaving in just over a month), we've enjoyed getting to know this rich country and culture better and better even in recent weeks. We took our second trip to Kpatawee waterfall a few weeks ago; we posted our first visit there a couple years ago. And yesterday we visited the Du-Port--known as "Liberia's first Port". This is a canoe-only creekside drop-off point for firewood, charcoal, other goods, and passengers wanting to get to Margibi county or Marshall. It was used for more serious cargo back in the years before Monrovia's Freeport was opened up. When you drive down to the end of Duport Rd. there's a paved circular road that gets you within a few yards of the creek, which feeds into the "Du" river (thus the name Duport). This was unfortunately also an area where many innocent people were killed during the 1990 war, and in fact there is a marker there in the traffic circle indicating that it is the site of a mass grave in which victims from some of the killings and atrocities in the 1990 war are buried. We were told by Mr. Kpahn, one of the community elders, that a durable memorial marker is being planned for the site:
Over the last few years a Liberian who has been living in the US has been working to develop an area that is about 25 minutes (when going with the current... more like 50 minutes when fighting the current) away by canoe... So we decided to take the canoe ride over to "Mangrove Paradise" as it is being called. After a few minutes of tough negotiations (I started at $10 US, he started at $35) we wound up at $20. I suspect on a different day you maybe could get the ride for $15... Here we are in the canoe (Caleb was with us, but he was hiding behind his brother!).

It's a terrific ride--very quiet. We saw some beautiful birds--a couple of tiny malachite kingfishers, some type of cormorant, and a couple beautiful little waterfowl. We're told the birds are more numerous late in the afternoon. And the trees are absolutely amazing--terrific intertwined mangrove root systems all along the river. Sometimes I felt I'd been transported to one of Tolkien's swampy forests! And in fact, we spotted some lovely round trees that we have tentatively identified as the lost entwives!

Great Roots, huh???

When we finally reached the "island" where Mangrove Paradise is to be built, it was a beautiful area, but not much had been realized yet.... just a few half-constructed huts and shelters. So it has great potential. Highly recommended for the lovely canoe ride!