West Point and internet, Liberia, third day

French version here

Let’s go to West Point.

Someone drive me to the school and i have the objective to be leaded to West Point (West Point, it’s here), the biggest slum of Liberia with the goal to familiarize with this, so called, so dangerous place. I am asking somebody if someone can drive me there. They answer me: Sure, Emma (not her real name) will show you. hum, I had presentations yesterday and this name is unknown too me, they probably forget to introduce me. It’s actually normal: Emma, 13 years old, one of the school student, will drive me into the maze of West Point. A car will wait for me at the entrance of the slum when i will finish my photographs. So okay! Let’s go then. last recommendation from a teacher:

“Try to avoid taking your phone out when you are in West Point”

“I do not have some, someone is unlocking it, but what about a camera?”

“This? No worry, they wouldn’t know what to do with it”

Okay then, i mean, i think. I walk with Emma. west point is about 15mn far from the school. We are talking, we are close to understand each others.  We arrive in the crowded slum. At the beginning, for about 1km, an overflowed pathway full of stalls and commodity. We slip between all those different habitations, a true narrow corridors Labyrinth… I am totally lost but have a blinded trustfulness regarding my child guide. poverty is there but i do not feel some insecurity. There are a lot of colors, a lot of gazes are crossing mine and some warm “Hello” spurts. I am answering with the same and keep my optimism despite a flagrant precarity. decrepit houses,  rubbish strewn (but still no unhealthiness) and some persons look like totally lost with empty regard.  We arrive at Emma’s house that introduce to me her family. Emma is living in something that look like a Bunker. No window, no electricity, an open hole without door and grey walls made of grey cinderblocks. just for me the time to elevate my camera to my eye that a swarm of kids coming around Emma. Ok! No problems! I shot a picture. A weird and aged person is out of the frame but start to beat the arm of a kid who is doing the peace sign with his fingers. For mister, it’s forbidden on photos… Kids just ignoring him and seems to mean “He is like that, we do not have choice”. Ok Emma, It’s over! Thank you very much, you can bring me to the place where the car is waiting. we cross many others corridor and a big place that drive to the beach. We finaly arrive to the meeting point. a crowded people street.

“- Where is the car Emma?”

“- You have to call, the car will come to pick you”

“- But i have no phone Emma”

“- …”

“- …”

“- …”

“- Maybe we can take those yellow tuktuk?”

“- What?”

“- Yellow tuktuks, over there”

“- Gogo, we say gogo here”

a quarter minutes after, we finally have a tuktuk (yes, i prefer tuktuk) and we leave West Point. We arrive to the school. I pay 20$Lib and ask a car to bring my guide and her friends that followed us since her house.


Je commence un peu à prendre des photos en dehors des heures de boulot. Ici, une de mes voisines. prochaine étape, West Point
I start to take pictures out of work hours. Next steps: town and west point.

Internet et Skype

After this West Point journey, I decide to test this USB key they give to me and that’s act of a modem to connect internet with my computer when i am not at the office. I is not functioning where i live or, i have to go to the roof. Basically, in the afternoon it’s heavy hardcore sun and the evening, it’s mosquitoes to the dead and even if most of expats here are saying “Malaria? Hoo i get it three times already, i just don’t care about now”, let’s try avoid teasing the devil. this internet key is wonderful because it confirm some of our comportment aspects that we all used to live one day, with our phone of our inside antenna. You know “Wait, don’t move, i step onto my toilet, i have better signal” or “yeah, go on your right a bit, yes, yes, PERFECT, STOP, DON’T MOVE”. I have a software that provide me a graphical signal quality in real time of internet data flow. So, after a few binary contortions and some improbable exploration off all the corners of my houses, i finally figure that the right place is close to the window, knees sited, a quarter on the right with my computer a bit elevated (but still, doesn’t mean that is working but you know, it life, Liberian Style dude!). So yes, all this stuff just to say that Skype can be done at the office and after work only.

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