We needed to “officially” start the retracing of Graham Greene’s journey by going to Foya, Lofa County, Liberia. So we left Voinjama and headed to Foya. Since we had to pass back through Voinjama, Jeff and I left our bags with Johnny. This was great since now I had no extra weight on my bike, so I just flew down the road. I think I did most of the damage to my bike at this point. Jeff was a little slower than before, but he still kept up just fine. It was tons of fun to fly over rocks and wash outs and just throw the bike around. It also really made me wish I was on a Honda 450 and not a Chinese POS 150.
Foya was super cool. It had even more of a Wild West border town feel than Voinjama, probably because it really is a border town. We had a great fried egg, mayo, and avocado sandwich at a Fula tea shop. The streets were dusty and had shops and stalls up and down them. It felt like we had gone quite far from Monrovia and the civilized world. The picture to the left if the main road in Foya. As you can see it’s pretty empty, not tall buildings or anything, just dust, shacks, and blue sky. The picture on the right is taken from the tea shop we had lunch in.
On the way back to Voinjama we stopped off at a church mission that Mr. Greene had stopped at. That was pretty cool. We met a couple father’s there who were very cool. They had were older and had been in Liberia long before the war. It was really neat talking to them because you got a sense of how the country was before the war. They were all well spoken and obviously well educated. It just made you realize how nice the country had been once upon a time, that people were educated as well as these gentlemen. They stood in contrast to the younger people you meet in Monrovia. The campus was also very beautiful. I’m sure before the war it was absolutely amazing. Jeff and I had been on the road Easter Sunday, so we asked the senior father to bless us and he did. That was really cool. I love hearing older folks with lots of experience praying and things like that. It’s so cool. The picture on the right is of the main church building on the mission.
Since we didn’t have bags and were driving faster the riding was rather intense. That’s not to say that it’s not usually intense on these roads, but it was especially so. One thing I noticed after driving for a while on these roads while trying to keep the bike at 50kmh is that it just cleans out your head. You don’t have the capacity for high level reasoning and thinking. No, “I wonder what she meant by that the other night?” pondering. Instead all you can think is, “left, left. Speed up, Slow down, get out of the left lane, get out of the left lane, wash out, slow down, slow down, lean right…” Like I’d get off my bike and then become aware of bug bites that I had gotten 20 minutes ago. I’d totally lose track of my thoughts and just concentrate of riding. It felt very purifying. I did have time for some quick simple thoughts like “that’s cool looking,” “Where’s Jeff?”, and “Man this is awesome.”
So after riding for what felt like all day we made it back to Voinjama. We had lunch with Johnny and then hit the road to Zorzor. Zorzor is about 7km from Guinea and he plan was to overnight there, giving us all day to cross into Guinea. The ride to Zorzor felt like it took forever and I noticed that my front wheel was really, really bent up. That’s what you get for trying to shot down hills with volleyball size rocks in the way at 40kmh. On the way to Zorzor we stopped back in at Kortie Town where this child was kind enough to give me a bit of a back massage. There was some confusion between punching my back and chopping my back, but we worked it out.
We got into Zorzor right at dusk and met up with Zaezae. I was exhausted. Zaezae knew jeff since he worked with the Justice and Peace Commission and they partnered with the Carter Center on things. Zaezae had a really nice house that we stayed in. To the left you see Jeff with Zaezae and his family. To the right is me totally whipped out after the ride. Notice the dust highlight I had added to my hair and face, very fashionable.
Chelsea, the British football(soccer) club, had a big game that night so Zaezae went to a video club to watch the action on DSTV while Jeff an I chilled out at a quieter venue. Zaezae walked into the video club, saw that it was 0-4, left in disgust, and hung out with us. I should point out that European Soccer is huge here. People can have their whole week wrecked if the wrong team loses. None the less, I made fun of him for being a fair weather fan. Sure enough, an hour later people ran up saying it was tied 4-4. Jeff and I also admired the battle depicted on the wall of the bar we were at. Club beer Vs. Stout, who would win?