Thanks for all the love this year!

kriterion at kwepunha

2014 has been a tough year for Liberia but with your help we have been able to keep Ebola out of Robertsport and pay our entire staff for the last 4 months!

We would like to thank every person that has contributed, shared or discussed our Rise Above Ebola campaign because without you, our efforts up to this point would not have been possible. Back in October we successfully hosted the Kriterion Monrovia group for a 1 week long Ebola awareness program with the Robertsport community. This resulted in over 3,000 people in our community being educated about the Ebola virus and how to keep their families and themselves safe from it.

Let's not forget the extreme privileges those of us living in the western world have and what luxuries those privileges affords us. It is so easy to take our access to quality healthcare, jobs, education, clean water and many other social resources for granted but that is not the case in a majority of our world.

As we move into 2015 try challenging yourself to find a grass roots project, non-profit or community, whether local or abroad, that you would like to to support. From making a new friend to donating your time or money, there are some many ways we can make a difference to the causes important to us.

Thanks for being a part of our cause and have a great new year!

Much love,

Team Kwepunha

 

Our volunteer is heading home.

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We just wanted to share a special thanks to Zach Cameron who has been our volunteer on the ground in Robertsport over the last 3 months.

Zach has played a fundamental role in helping us run our Junior Lifeguarding Program, establish new roles/responsibilities for our staff and find ways to streamline our operations. Zach is also one of just a few people that remained on the ground, kept calm and helped prove that despite what occurs within the country, we will stand beside them. He has patiently taken time to educate Robertsport community members about the Ebola Virus, helped raise awareness on preventative measures/safety protocol as well as disseminated fact from fiction regarding the virus as it has spread and become a national emergency within the country.

With new actions being taken such as a community quarantines, a countrywide curfew, the Liberian Navy intercepting fleeing boats and more, we are happy to know Zach is safely on his way out of the country and will soon be back home in San Diego. It feels really good knowing that despite all the crazy developments that have taken place during Zach's stay, he couldn't help but tell us how sad he was to leave and that he will most definitely be back in the near future.

Thanks again Zach, your commitment and passion for the community during the recent weeks has definitely made a lasting impact on lives here in Robertsport not to mention your earned status as the best skateboarder in Liberia. Yew!!

Kwepunha Volunteer Journal #1 — Zach Cameron

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Kwepunha Retreats newest volunteer, Zach Cameron has agreed to share his experience living in Liberia via a travel log he will be keeping while staying with us over the next few months. This is a first person perspective of a travelers first time experience visiting Liberia.

After only one week in Robertsport, Liberia, I already feel more safe and comfortable than I do back home in downtown San Diego.  Everyone is so kind and welcoming, it is hard to believe this community had gone through a brutal civil war just over 10 years ago.  These people have been through horrifying times that most of us can only imagine or see on TV, yet their uplifting spirits and energetic personalities have made me feel right at home.  Everyone is stoked that we are here and grateful for the work we are doing throughout the community.  I have already made several Liberian friends that treat me like family and are more than willing to show me around and share their perfect waves with me.

I was fortunate enough to arrive during the best swell of the year and was stunned by the beauty and power of the ocean, not to mention surfing perfect waves with only one or two buddies out.  One of my most memorable days was speaking with the oldest man in Robertsport, Momo Dassen, and learning the local language of the Vai Tribe.  He taught us about the history of the village and how Americans used this language during WWII to confuse the opposing Germans.  Momo Dassen gave me a Vai name and named me after himself, which I thought was a huge honor.  I am also excited to be helping the locals work on their resumes and cover letters to get international internships or attend college, which is a huge step for Liberian youth.   I already feel like a part of this community and I love walking down the street and having kids and adults shout my name or say "white man hello."

It is difficult to describe this place with word or pictures, it is a place that is so different from home, one truly needs to come experience it for themselves to fully understand how remarkable it is.  I believe everyone should leave their comfort zone and travel somewhere off the beaten track to experience a new culture and learn how people live around the world.  Sure, it is challenging and overwhelming at times, but dealing with these situations and overcoming them, in my opinion, is the best way to broaden one's horizons and grow as an individual.

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Liberia Loses an amazing friend! RIP Sarah.

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It is through a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a great friend, one of our biggest advocates on the ground in Liberia, and one of our favorite reoccuring guests, Sarah De Lacotte. She was an absolutely amazing person with a beautiful energy, spirit and soul.

To celebrate her life, Kwepunha Retreat will be throwing a memorial party for her and all of her friends/family here at Kwepunha Retreat. All friends/family of Sarah will either receive a free night stay with us or 100% of your room rate will go towards a community project and/or a memorial for Sarah on one of the Kwepunha properties (swing, bench, carving, etc.). The date and planning for this event will be chosen by her closest friends living here in the country and announced by us in the near future so please stay tuned.

ISA exemplifies Kwepunha as model for surf tourism in Africa!

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Kwepunha's Sean Brody speaks on behalf of International Surfing Association, Kwepunha & SRN at Africa's largest sports convention.

Over the last few years we have received an incredible amount of support from the International Surfing Association in regards to growing the sport of surfing in Liberia. This partnership is now being used as a model for the value of surf tourism in Africa by the ISA and we couldn't be more honored. To put a cherry on the top the ISA sent Kwepunha's Sean Brody to speak on its behalf at this years Africa International Sports Convention (CISA), the largest sports convention in all of Africa. Such a great opportunity for the growing surf tourism industry in Liberia and the entire continent of Africa!

Again we would like to send out a heart felt thanks to the ISA for all of their support and encouragement from press releases, to helping us make Liberia part of the ISA and even helping some of the local surfers in Robertsport with incredibly generous educational scholarships. You can find out more about the ISA via the button below.

Talking surfing with presidents.

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How often do you get to eat with the President of a country and talk about your biggest passion?

That is correct. While in Cape Verde representing the International Surfing Association, Kwepunha Retreat and Surf Resource Network, Kwepunha's Sean Brody sat down with the president of the country to discuss the value of sustainable surf tourism.

If only all of us could have such a prestigious thing to claim to our kids. Way to go buddy what an amazing opportunity!

Kwepunha Liberia Documentary is Out!

We had a great time with the Local Surf Cultures crew showing them around Robertsport during the making of the Kwepunha Liberia documentary.

Magic Seaweed has put together a great article highlighting this trip and some of the things we are working on with our community here in Robertsport, Liberia. Click on the button below to check out the full article which is also available to read in the last issue of The Surfers Path.

LONELY PLANET: KWEPUNHA IS A TOP CHOICE!

We had a guest cruise in with the latest copy of The Africa Lonely Planet and Kwepunha Retreat is listed as both highly recommended and sustainable!

We are stoked to be given such honorable and rare distinctions by a company noted for it's thorough and reliable listings. Click the button below to take a look at their writeup about us on their website!

SURF SLEEP TRAVEL

Kwepunha Cotton Tree Point

Here is a great page that lists us as a featured surfing destination! Check out more featured destinations at Surf Sleep Travel

Cheeck us out on Surf Sleep Travel! Make your next surf trip a trip to Liberia...Click the button below to check out our page on their site...

ESPN: FROM LIBERIA WITH ALOHA

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This years contest was a huge success and we couldn't have done it without our sponsors!

Give a glance at the photo essay from the 5th Annual Liberian National Surfing Championships featured on ESPN's website.  Click for more images;
photography by Sean Brody.

THE INERTIA: THE NEW LIBERIA

With Kwepunha Retreat in full swing and the fifth annual Liberian National Surfing Championships in the books, it’s safe to say surf culture here is booming.

These are some recent shots from Robertsport, Liberia, including the Liberian National Surfing Championships, days spent perusing the coastline and enjoying the country’s world-class lefts. Click the button below to take a look at the rest of the photo essay

THE SURFERS JOURNAL: THE WAVE CALL

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We are often asked what the word "Kwepunha" means and the following short story, featured by The Surfers Journal, explains the origin of the name of our surf retreat in Robertsport, Liberia...

"Kway-Pu-Na! Kway-Pu-Na! Kway-Pu-Na!" Benjamin bellowed at the top of his lungs while slapping the ocean with his open palms, displacing all the water around him. He took a break from his unique ritual and glanced up at me, with a quick smile and a look of pure confidence he assured me, "Big wave coming." Again, he called out and slapped the water, "Kway-Pu-Na! Kway-Pu-Na! Kway-Pu-Na!"

SCARY BUT TRUE!

Liberia is home to one of the most biologically diverse rainforests in the world and this diversity is all disappearing at an alarming rate!

Take a look at this article to find out exactly what is happening to the incredibly precious natural resource and why it isn't being managed sustainably...