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Wifi Let Downs, Telenovela Pickups and Pumping Water

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! read more

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Laundry Day

My African daughter, Kebbeh Horace.

My African daughter, Kebbeh Horace.

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! read more

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Goodbye White Men

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.

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The LLTW mission team. Ron Burnett, William Horace, Jonathon Burnett, Saliha Stewart, Bruce Bates, me (Laurie Scharp) and Helena Horace.

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Team Born in America. Saliha, Bruce, me, Jon, Ron at the LLW site.

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! read more

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A Night on the Town in Monrovia

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. read more

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More Village Exploring

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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Water

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. And I got baptized in their cross shaped pool!

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Let’s Go Down to the Riptide

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. My green bottoms would not have been compatible with these waves.

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I’m in Africa!

(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!

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Road Trip! and Nebraska.

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:

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Building Websites and Managing Social Media

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 a 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!” read more