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.
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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.
(I don’t have internet access right now so I’m just writing this and posting later. The post date will match when I write it.)
I have now been in Liberia for almost 24 hours. My skin is dewy, I guess one would say. It is humid here and my thermometer says the the temp right now is 31 C or 88 F. I just got done with a 3 hour nap. I still feel tired!
The flights were successful this time around. My original flights should have started Tuesday Dec 1 and got me to Africa Dec 2. Well my Omaha flight was delayed so much that I would have missed my other flights, and the African flight is only three times a week. So I called my dad and had him pick me up and we hung out for a couple more days. I next went to the Omaha airport Thursday and flew and laid-over for a total of 36 hours. I slept about 4 hours during the flights. Glad that’s over!
I was going to write about the craziness of my last month in New England, my period of living out of boxes and bags and my car and friends’ houses and my long drive to Nebraska. But, who wants to hear about that? I don’t know, Africa will probably be more exciting. Bottom line: I worked my butt off for all this. I had some fun and some joy and some stress and I can’t wait for the pay off. Which comes in just a couple days!!
Here’s the cliff notes for my last two months:
packing, downsizing, deciding, throwing stuff out, selling stuff, giving stuff away, ordering stuff, canceling things, signing up for things, trying to be social and enjoy my friends for my last bit in New England, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, creating new wrinkles in my forehead.
First and foremost, one of my fears is opening up and getting personal to just anybody and that certainly includes the internet. But months ago, when I told someone (who also loves Africa and has been to a bunch of countries, a bunch of times) about my plan for my website and blog, she said “That is so awesome. I hope you make it really personal.” My first thought was, “Oh, I hardly like posting things on Facebook…” So yeah. Also, I’ve been feeling a lot of feelings lately related to this life change and it’s not been easy to necessarily express it. So, here we go.
So why websites and social media?
Since January 2014 I’ve been the website and social media manager for a local (Mass/RI) non-profit group doing work in Liberia (Love Lights the Way). I have had a love for Africa for decades, I had some friends of friends involved on the board of LLTW, I contacted them through the website and the rest is history. It has been an amazing experience for so many reasons. Before that I had never touched the backside of website and was (and still am) pretty modest in my own social media (mostly Facebook) posting, but that’s where their need was and I was like “Heck yeah, I can do that!”
This fall/winter (current estimate is December 2015) I’m going to Liberia, Uganda and Kenya to volunteer at schools, orphanages and community development centers for 6 months! I’m very excited about this adventure. I plan to go for 6 months, but I would be very thrilled if an interesting and/or paid opportunity came up to stay longer.
I am quitting my job, putting my possessions in storage and flying to Africa to live and volunteer with several grassroots organizations who are making a difference in their communities. I want to offer whatever help I can and also learn as much from them as possible.