I arranged a 7:00am departure with John 2 so we could get to Monrovia and return before dark. We had a few passengers riding in the truck bed. Titus needed to drop off a bag of rice to his mother in Wreupu (just south of Salala in case you’re mapping this!) and Amelia had planned to visit her family near Monrovia for the weekend but her friend’s car broke down yesterday. She was accompanied by Dusu, her son Cooper, four other family members, two gerry cans of some liquid (sometimes it’s better not to ask), some greens, and a live chicken (again…didn’t ask). The cool air from the prior day’s storm lingered into the morning so poor Cooper (about 4 years old) sitting in the open truck bed at 55 mph was crouched next to the chicken with his teeth chattering. I could only assume it was chilly Cooper and not the chicken contemplating his fate upon arrival with that side of greens!
We made it to Monrovia in good time and began the errands I had listed in proper geographic and prerequisite order. Box pickup from shipper near ELWA Junction. Quick purchase at Stop & Shop for a few items not carried anywhere in Gbarnga. Continue to LCL office and pay Mark the head driver for the remaining balance of costs for having Saah drive my guests. A few blocks further, drop off one box at the Peace Corps office for Andy to retrieve from Klay at a later date. Head to Foton dealer to see about ordering a brake drum and buy some oil filters. Along the way down the Randall Street area, look for stores selling poultry supplies that I seem to remember from some distant past trip. No luck on brake drum, but a quick google search triggers a memory of the place called Gro Green. We pass it on our way towards Eagle Electric and they’ve got the chicken “drinkers” I needed (well… the chickens will need). On to Eagle but it’s just about noon so I make a stop (still along the way) at the Royal Hotel for a chicken Caesar wrap/French fries/Coke with safe ice cubes. Back on track to Eagle where I get electrical supplies for the solar system, plumbing supplies for bringing water to the chicken houses, and tools/supplies for the poultry caretakers. With the 20ft PVC pipe securely strapped to the truck, we’re on our way. Oh yeah, the police pulled us over and checked our papers and John’s drivers license. It wouldn’t be a trip to Monrovia without a visit with our favorite law enforcement officers.
John 2 had loaned our truck’s tarp to Sumo and forgot to get it back. So, our booty was left vulnerable to the elements. Dark clouds gathered in the distance as we drove northwards to Gbarnga. With Titus still in the truck bed, I was concerned about cargo both animate and inanimate. After our first brief encounter with light rain from a passing cloud, John 2 assured me it wouldn’t get heavy. Let’s just say I’m not taking stock picks from John any longer…it poured about ten minutes later. Fortunately, I’ve been trained to completely encase in clear packing tape every millimeter of surface on any box I ship, making them practically waterproof to 20,000 leagues under the sea should our container ship capsize crossing the Atlantic.
The rains ended about an hour from home, affording us the luxury of unloading the truck without getting soaked. Within 20 minutes, however, the wind picked up and a clap of thunder bellowed the end of intermission as an even more impressive second act began. Unbelievable volumes of water were jettisoned from the clouds, punctuated by fiery flashes and reflexive rumbles. I sat on the porch and watched in awe.
As the precipitation performance continued in the background, I began revealing the precious cargo, box by box – relishing a private Christmas morning in my imagination. Box #1-school supplies; Box #2-my canned food and a crushed package of Pop Tarts; Box #3-tools and hardware. Sixteen boxes later and I was ready for bed after a long day of driving.
But wait…I pulled out a small package containing a portable, rechargeable light and bug zapper that Kimberly gave me for Christmas. This would make a great ending for the day to see if it really zapped as advertised. I crawled under my bed net and a few renegade insects had followed. I flipped the switch and the mellow purple glow of the zapper function was engaged. My first victim was soon lulled by the siren call of the purple glow. DSDZDZZZZZTTT and a slight spark. The deed was done….it works!