Today I found myself, along with my lovely cousin Weyatta, walking the Atlantic coastline at Mamba Point Beach. The only noise within several miles was the sound of waves crashing ashore; a stark contrast from the habitual eardrum overload the rest of Monrovia boasts. One thing that I’ve been warned about on numerous occasions is how strong the tides are in Liberia. Whenever I went to the beach as a child, my mother got a little nervous. She would tell me stories of kids being carried away by the ocean when she was young. Weyatta and I had the misfortune of experiencing this firsthand, we didn’t get carried away (otherwise I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale) but we did manage to get soaking wet when all we intended to do was prance around in the water ankle-deep. After being defeated by the waves we returned to the beach, where we glanced at handcraft masks, statues and even furniture at the souvenir shops behind the sand. The shops were a bit expensive, no doubt because they’re positioned directly across the street from the most expensive hotel in Monrovia (temporary home to many UN workers & diplomats). Once we realized we couldn’t afford anything we walked down to Waterside Market, where normal people shop! The market spans several blocks, with vendors selling everything from food to fabrics. (See photo in lower right corner)
***One of the harsh realities of Liberia is that poverty exists even in the most beautiful parts of the country. As I mentioned, right behind Mamba Point Beach stands the most expensive hotel in all of Monrovia, neighbored by equally costly rental homes, yet on the beach front there are makeshift huts that serve as permanent residency for numerous families, many of which have tarps in place of roofs and walls. (See photo in lower left corner).