Roads in Liberia are amongst some of the worst in West Africa and driving on them to get to a project site is no joke. While negotiating in heavy duty, sports utility vehicles with standard gear shifts, there are life lessons to be learned:
– In most instances, take the path that has already been tread before you. It makes your going that much smoother.
– Don’t veer too far into the brush. The ground may look solid but often a deep ditch is hidden just beyond your sight.
– Sometimes, it’s easier to go through a rough patch of road than to expend energy trying to get around it. Just change your gear and tactic and dip carefully into the hole.
– Don’t flinch or cede your space when you see another car coming. The other car will adjust itself to accommodate you.
– Show no fear. Even if the bridge ahead of you is effectively two planks of wood connecting one side of the road to the other.
– Even if you can’t see what’s coming around the bend, don’t slow your pace. Just honk to let others know that you are coming.
– Finally, yes, you should feel like you are the baddest thing on the face of this planet because you, frail, inexperienced thing that you are, are bouncing along in over a ton of fine Japanese engineered iron, steel and aluminum along dusty, craggy, war torn roads. Go you! Go you!
Bernice Yalley is a CRS fellow working in Liberia on savings-led microfinance projects. Her posts appear Mondays on the CRS blog.
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