Nyk Picks: Robertsport, Liberia

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So, the Universe hijacked my trip. Barefoot Liberia announced a few weeks ago that they would be organizing a weekend of fun to celebrate the upcoming and glorious dry season.

I thought this was the perfect opportunity to  shoot some images for upcoming projects. A little work and pleasure, you know. I called up my fellow creative and planned to hit the road.

Here’s the thing, I don’t drive a SUV and the road to Cape Mount, about a three hour drive from Monrovia, is not a smooth one. Well, about 80% of the road is paved but the last 20% is tumultuous to say the least.

Being the overly optimistic & ambitious person that I am, I had decided to tough out the last stretch of dusty road with my silly little Camry. This is where the Universe decided to intervene.

Hours before we were supposed to leave and get to shooting my car was towed. Ok, you have to understand that cars basically never get towed in Liberia. In a country where many people are living on about $2 a day, there are (and should be) bigger concerns at hand than double parking.  I learned the time and effort it takes to get your car back is an unbelievably frustrating array of crooked cops and as-the-story-unfolds rules. There was no way I’d be driving that day.

Although I was utterly frustrated, I accepted an offer from a group of friends heading to Cape Mount (the county in which Robertsport resides & where my grandfather is from). As fate would have it this was a God send. After a 45 minute ride of prayers I realized I would have been hitchhiking in utter darkness in the bushes of Liberia. Not a good look. Just another example of how the Universe continues to move us out of our own way if we’ll just let it.

After said prayers, we arrived to Nana’s Lodge where I had the best time I’ve had in a long time. I danced in the rain in a bikini and swam in the Atlantic Ocean under moonlight, rainfall and stars. A priceless moment beyond words.

But the Universe wasn’t done. After a blast of a night, Latifa and I weren’t quite in the mood for hair and makeup or shooting.  At first I thought how irresponsible of me to not complete the shoot that I traveled hours for. Then I went to the ocean. I’ve been swimming since I was three and am a self diagnosed beach addict. I love the ocean but that day I got to know it in a different way.

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She is beautiful. He is powerful. It is beyond gender. Just like me.

That lesson superseded any plans I had for that day. What I did get was a beautiful shared experience with a fellow creative spirit. These images are the result of that. In all, I got to see more of my country, of myself and of God. An awesome weekend indeed.

My (African clay) road is better than the yellow brick one.

My (African clay) road is better than the yellow brick one.

All photos by Latifa Cooper.

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