The Ugly

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Welcome to the final post in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” You’ve heard about our friends and the beautiful beaches, the horrendous roads and the outrageous costs of everything here and now you’ll hear about the nitty, gritty, ugliness of Port Gentil.

  • Public Urination – It would be an odd day if I didn’t see someone pee in the street.  I’m talking men, girls, boys and on rare occasions, women.  I know this occasionally happens at home on long road trips or in dark alleys after the bar but in Port Gentil it’s midday on Main Street.  Most of the men don’t even turn themselves away from the traffic – it’s just right out there in front of everyone and no one seems to care.  I couldn’t even count how many times I’ve exited my yard to find someone peeing on our wall.  I respond with a “C’est ma maison, ce n’est pas une toilette” but I usually just get a shrug in return.

  • Garbage, Garbage, Garbage – It’s everywhere; heaping, rotting, stinking garbage.  While garbage collection appears to happen regularly, there is often more garbage around the bin than there is within (mostly due to lack of bins.)  All of it sits and rots in the blazing heat and it smells TERRIBLE!  As you can well imagine, no one sanctions littering around here either so as people walk, they throw their bottles, carrier bags and wrappers on the ground.  Each morning our guard rakes our parking area and each day there is a mound of garbage.  Yuck.

  • Poverty – Gabon is one of the richest African countries and with a population of only 1 million its people should be thriving, but unfortunately they hardly see any of that wealth.  The further you get from the city centre, the more dire the living conditions become.  People live in shacks we wouldn’t even keep our lawn mower in.  It’s sad and it’s hard to see.

That completes my version of "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly."


  1. Just looking at the points you could be talking about London. Obviously on a different scale (especially when it comes to poverty) these things are the ugly part of the city/country.

  2. Yes, you see these things in almost every city or country but most places won't even touch the level that things reach here. It's so in your face here and there's no where to hide from it - you can't just head to the 'nice' area of town.

  3. the typical story of an African country. However your leaders should try to spread the wealth cause you guys are few 1 million as opposed to us 41 million (Kenya).


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