Christmas Eve! Actually it only hit me just now that most of my family, about 20 people probably, including kids, are at my mom’s house celebrating the holiday. Although I miss them and the celebration, I’m pretty darn happy here! Tomorrow we will celebrate Christmas, starting with going to church at 8:30 am. I don’t know what all the festivities will hold, but Lucy, the other Dutch volunteer have combined our gifts to present to the family and others living at the house.At the house there are Godfrey (also called Geofrey), the director of Sprout Care Foundation, his wife Gorreth (pronounced Gorety), their three sons (the twins are 6 and the other is about to turn 3), Gorreth’s nieces Winnie and Doreen, a teacher from the school Prossy, myself and Lucy the volunteer from the Netherlands. Apparently there is also another girl, Tracy is a student at the school but is currently staying with her aunt for the holiday. Another volunteer Luke will be returning January 10th. I had no idea so many people would live here and I misjudged the boys’ ages so Lucy helped by offering to pool her gifts with mine.
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Here’s a bunch of pictures I’d like to share but they don’t necessarily go with any of the writing I did.
As I write this I am in my new bed, under a mosquito net canopy, in my new Uganda bed. I have been in Uganda for about 8 hours. I left Liberia yesterday at 6 PM Liberia time and arrived in Uganda this morning at 9 AM Uganda time (3 hours later than Liberia and 8 hours later than the East Coast of the US and 9 hours later than Central US.
I slept for about 3 hours on the plane so I was very exhausted on the 3.5 hour drive from the airport to my new home in Kalisizo, Uganda.
So, Liberia. I met some WONDERFUL people. I have great memories and friendships that I will hold close to my heart. I wish I could write so much more than I have time for.
Ok. I’m bored. I’m also annoyed. I’m experiencing wifi problems like I have never encountered and hope to not have to encounter much more after Liberia, but I very well might!
How we are using the internet here is with a small wireless hotspot that runs off of 4G towers. William Horace, the man of the house, when he got here in mid November, he says he paid 5$ USD for one month of service. When the three other guys were here, all of us were trying to share that service and basically it was extremely hit or miss and I was never able to get my computer hooked to the internet and therefore not able to post to my blog or share pictures that were not on my phone. My phone would only connect for about a few seconds at a time once every 24 or 48 hours. I adapted. It was ok. I’m glad I didn’t don’t have enough internet to scroll through newsfeeds for hours and waste time reading about stupid celebrity and reality tv trash. I’m very glad!
Today’s weather is NICE. Very fine. So typically the generator is turned off about 8 am. And then my fan dies and I get so hot I have to get out of bed because it’s just miserable. But today, when the generator died, I was still under the sheet and I felt SO pleasantly happy and content and wanted to lay in bed and enjoy this unusually cool temp. I checked my thermometer and it said 78 F (26 C or so). So nice! Best temp since I’ve been here! Lovely.
I went to breakfast and made my daily “Cafe Lauricano”, 2 Nescafe packets and 1 Tablespoon Nido dry milk protein with hot water. I drink the hot drink regardless of the air temp because it is like my security blanket. My stable rock that I can turn to in this strange and unpredictable world. (A few times I couldn’t have Nescafe or Nido and I still got by, no tears or outbursts.) Breakfast was some fried cassava and fried plantains, paired with boiled cassava and plantains with a hot stew of peppers, tomatoes and spam. Kebbeh came in and was making some tea and said she needed tea because she was cold. I said I LOVED the temp!
Today three of our American team members headed back the states. It’s now just Saliha, me and the Liberian couple. Honestly, it was a tearful goodbye (on my part) because I have worked so closely with these guys for the past two years and now I may never see them again. I sure hope to though.
Since two bedrooms just opened up I asked to have my own and I got one! I had my pick. I’m not sure I chose wisely, but I would think that with either choice I might think that. I chose Ron and Jon’s room. They both said it was hot. Jon said he never once covered up with the sheet, Ron said only one night did he cover. For comparison, I covered up every night. So their room is the only corner room and therefore has a window on each wall. I liked this for the sake of light but also I was deducting that a breeze could blow through there. I assumed that they were getting hot because they’re both tall, broad guys and they were sleeping in the same bed (father and son). Also, their room has a closet! With a light!
Last night was pretty fun. The first place was a bar and restaurant that was very Liberian, called Vicky’s Fingers where we sat outside and had fried fish with cassava farina salad with various vegetables in it and drank Club Beer, the native Liberian beer. I was encouraged to eat some of the head of the fish. The “wingman” says he eats the entire head, skull and all and that it makes him smarter. He seemed smart, so I at least dug out the eye and ate it. I wouldn’t say it was delicious but it wasn’t terrible.
Today was a great day! We went back to the LLTW site with the main purpose of exploring more villages. We hiked about 45 min to a village called Kpanjah (pronounced Panja). On the way we found a school and a medical clinic. We stopped by both. At the school we were told by one of the head teachers that it was the end of the day so they brought all the classes together to sing a couple songs before they release them. The children sang a song for us, one we have heard before in this area, called “He Didn’t Have to But He Did” a song about Jesus’ sacrifice for us. There must have been about 35 kids and maybe 5 adults. The head teacher said that the teachers were all volunteers.
Yesterday we went swimming again! This time at one of the supposedly best resorts in West Africa, Kendeja Resort which is owned by the guy who owns BET. It was pretty nice for Liberian standards. Expensive prices though.
So here are some observations on Liberia:
- It’s very expensive. Prices are similar to US stuff, or even higher, which in contrast to the wages within the country, it is terribly sad. Apparently it’s because they import almost everything.
- The sky is extremely hazy. It is probably due to a mix of humidity and smoke. A local told me that only in January you can see the moon and maybe one star. I find that pretty sad.
- There are tons of species of plants everywhere. The land is clearly extremely fertile, but they aren’t really farming that much. We’ve seen some small farms but I would think that corporations could put up some big farms and do some exporting.
- My fingernails have been extremely strong. Perhaps it’s being away from chemicals and not doing dishes and so forth, or maybe the greasy oil from my skin is coming down and conditioning them.
Our water tower has ran out several times! I don’t mind too much, I like the bucket showers! We’re hooked back up at the moment.
I got baptized yesterday at the beautiful Kendeja resort in Monrovia. I have been a Christian for many years and baptized as a baby. Not all Christian’s believe baptism is important, and many believe that as a baby is sufficient, but the people I am with right now do believe adult baptism is important. I have thought that it would be a good thing to do for awhile. It was a great setting where I got mine done, in a cross shaped pool with palm trees and the Atlantic in view. It was a good experience and I’m glad I got it done.
Yesterday we went swimming in the strong undertow of the West Coast of Africa, AKA the East Shore of the Atlantic. The water was warm and it was such a blast. A beautiful deserted beach, under a palm canopy. It was incredible. Such a peaceful setting. I would not recommend the rough tide to an insecure swimmer but to those confident in the water and/or ocean, it is very doable and encouraged by me. We all had a blast. Lots of sand in our suits. I’m sure glad at the last minute I switched my swimsuit bottoms when I was packing. The green bottoms would not have been compatible with these waves.