The main reservoir in West Point, the largest slum in Monrovia, had dried up several days before, as had the income of the town’s water carriers. But on a recent morning, water began to drizzle from the tap, and tempers were fraying.
“Draw your water and move from here!” one man yelled.
“You always want to be first!” said Adolphus Darwon, who has been carrying water in West Point for 20 years. “I haven’t drawn one gallon yet.”
Mr. Darwon, 41, furrowed his brow.
Born and raised in West Point, a seaside slum with an estimated 75,000 residents, Mr. Darwon spends his days pushing wheelbarrows through the narrow alleyways that run between rows of rusty zinc shacks.
His labor earns him about $7 a day, most of which he sends to his 16-year-old son in a rural town in northern Liberia. Much of the rest he spends on heroin, which he says gets him through the day.
It is a hard life, but for people like Mr. Darwon, and thousands of others who have flocked here from rural Liberia and neighboring countries, West Point is a place where poor people can survive — and where the more ambitious can make a modest something from nothing. READ MORE OF THIS ARTICLE