Monday, August 14, 2006

Field Trip to Zorzor, Lofa County

Just got back from Zorzor, Lofa County, way up north. Quite a breath of fresh air next to the chaos and grit of Monrovia. Which is an odd thing to say considering the abysmal shape that Zorzor town is in. Nearly every concrete structure is demolished and full of bullet holes, and the majority mud huts aren’t doing much better. [Didnt' take enough pictures, sorry.] This was one of the prime entry spots for combatants from both Sierra Leone and Guinea, and the place took many poundings over the war years.

Young people are in abundance in Zorzor town, standing around on the street, working to repair potholes on the roads for tips, hanging out around businesses, needing jobs. We went out one night to an “entertainment center” [see pic] on the town’s main road, and suddenly you could hear the banging of drums and crazy chanting of a gaggle of teenagers running by, acting wild. A young Liberian friend who’s not from the area said, “The youths here are very arrogant. They are mostly ex-combatants. They are out of control.” They haven'd had many options; today’s graduation ceremony at Zorzor Central High School is the first one in 15 years.

Pakistani blue-helmets keep the peace in this area, and the radio station (Radio Life Zorzor-Salayea) airs nothing but peace messages and positive vibes all the time. Tribalism has been a big social problem here, so they broadcast in several languages.


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