Tuesday, December 24, 2013


        December 24, 2013        Barnersville, Monrovia, Liberia

 

Greetings to our friends and family,

First of all, I thank God for the internet since it would be impossible at this date to send each one of you a Christmas card.  Even though I wasn’t very good at getting them in the mail early when we lived in Indiana, now it would be next to impossible.

It is hard to believe this is our 3rd Christmas in Liberia.  The weather today is 90 degrees, the sun is very bright and there is very little breeze.  However, the Christmas spirit is in the air in the neighborhood.  Small Children are touring the area, beating pans with spoons, blowing whistles, and singing at the top of their lungs to gather small money for treats.  The adult girls are wearing Mardi gras masks and dancing to an I Pod to earn some extra money for Christmas.  Neighbors are going house to house greeting each other and we are hosting a community gathering at our home tonight.

We have had an exciting year as we began the Liberia Self Reliance Program.  We started with about 20 acres of land which was completely depleted and have worked to restore it bit by bit with compost and other organic supplements. Some of it has been turned now 4 times and we are beginning to see the results with healthier plants and a greater yield.  The beekeeping, moringa, honey, sheep, fish pond and SRI programs are keeping the staff busy.  We are developing tire and sack gardens and a line of cooking stoves that can be used in different environments.  Next year looks to be even more exciting.  Our needs include a pickup truck, small air conditioner for the clean room where we process and package moringa and honey, tools, and a small tractor for the ag center.  There is also a need for funds for our bunk room, office and library area.

Our children are all doing well.  Alan, Lisa and Riley are still in Russiaville and doing well in their respective lines of work.  Riley will graduate from Western High School in June and has been accepted at 5 different Indiana colleges to date.  The winner will be the one with the best scholarship package.

Kelly and Bob are in Wheatfield.  Bob had bypass surgery earlier this year and recovered faster than the doctor’s expectations.  He is back to work full time, losing weight, and getting really healthy.  Kelly is learning with her 3rd graders as she does every year and loving every minute of it.  She has started work on a PhD in Education and enjoying her studies very much.

The children in Liberia are doing all right.  We have added another grandchild, Jesse Kumeh, named after my grandfather.  My family names are being added to the Kumeh family and the children are encouraging us to do so.  They now include: Riley, Jesse, and Edwin Kumeh.  No little girls to name although we already had an Anna, and Anne.

I traveled back to Indiana in May for a couple of months to do fundraising for LSRI and visit some family and friends.  Timothy and I plan to return to Indiana in May 2014 to do medical checkups and attend Riley’s graduation. 

We wish each and every one of you a Blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year filled with wonder, peace and joy.

Timothy and Anne

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

We are doing fine.  Timothy is just getting over a really bad cold because of the change of season.  We are going into the rainy season and the nights get cooler and the air gets wetter.  We have just had a really strong thunder storm go through and it is probably now in the low 80’s and feels very pleasant to me.  However, everyone is going around in long sleeves and flannel pants.  We have Sawsee covered up on the floor with fleece blankets.

Rolf is curled up on a pillow fast asleep and enjoying the quiet time.  There have been lots of little children (under 5 years of age) playing around here today and he just has a fit.  He is so very protective of the house and our grandchildren.  He barks his head off if anyone he doesn’t know or he doesn’t like to smell of when they come around.  Some people he is not fazed by and others he goes crazy.  I trust his instincts and for those I don’t know, we just duck inside the house.

The trees and flowers are beginning to bloom.  There is a lot of a tree that goes in AZ and in the south.  They vine up and around and are yellow, pink, red, and purple.  I can’t remember the name – ah – bougainvillea vine – although they are trees here.  There is also a tree that has beautiful purple flowers that hang like lilacs but only larger.  I don’t know if there is a fragrance because the flowers are high up on the tree and I can’t reach them to smell.  Lots of beautiful hydrangeas in all different colors as well.

There are several different kinds of lilies but I think my favorite is a white flower that blossoms like a white lily only it feathers rather than having six leaves like the lily we know.  There is also an orange one.  I had lots of them at the compound but don’t have any here.  I haven’t been able to get flowers to grow here as yet.  I want Kelly to bring me some 4 o’clocks and some other hardy flowers to see if I can get them to grow.  The lizards like to eat the Zinnias I planted as soon as they came through the ground.  We have a couple of pepper plants and some pineapples that are growing.  We also have palm nut trees.  The blossom is a very big and stiff hanging almost like a huge pine cone where the edges come down and overlap in a smooth formation rather than the traditional pine cones we see at Christmas, etc.  Then, as they grow the seeds or palm nuts grow under the “leaves” of the cone.  Once they pop out, you can see them as large red orange fruit.  When you cut the bunch down from the tree, you pull the palm nut clusters out of the stiff pointy cone – they can really do a number on your hands if you aren’t careful.  Most of the time the small girls do it because their fingers are so small they can get in a grab them without being stuck.

Then, after a day or so, you clean the hull off the palm nut, wash them and boil them in water for a few minutes to loosen the outside covering of the nut.  Then, you put time in a mortar and pestle and pound them till the oil and butter loosen.  Then, back in the pot to boil and strain the fiber from the liquid that is creamy.  The liquid is then boiled with meat, fish, pepper, onion and served over rice.  It takes almost all day to fix it and is very labor intensive.  However, it is the staple of Timothy’s tribe so we have it about once a week.  People from the interior eat it every day and it stains their hands an orange color and even their skin has an orange cast to it.

This week I have been doing some of the cooking with some modified American recipes.  I like to cook ground corn beef with cabbage, onions and tomato sauce.  We put this over rice and they really like it.  I also made potato soup with a variation of adding cut up hot dogs to it.  They love it; I just eat around the hot dogs.  Or cook potatoes, onions, green beans and hot dogs together.  One other thing they like is spaghetti, so I try to fix it every couple of weeks.  Hamburger is like $5.00 a pound here, so we don’t fix it very often.  Chicken and fish are the main things.  Their fried chicken is awesome and I finally learned the secret.  They parboil it first and then fry it.  They put seasoning in the water when on the inside.  Fish is generally fried and then added to their soup.  Since I don’t like it that way, they hold out some of the fried fish for me to eat separately.

Breakfast is generally bread with peanut butter and honey drizzled on it.  It is nutritious and tasty.  The little ones like it and it will hold them until they can fix cream of wheat or rice for breakfast.

Last week for my birthday we had a big party.  It actually was the one that Timothy promised me in 2007 and then spent all the party money of fixing up the house, and then there wasn’t enough for the party.  We probably had 75 people here and served fried chicken, potato salad, and jollif rice which is rice with a variety of meats, tomato sauce and onions all cooked together.  It is really tasty and can be stretched to meet the needs of a crowd of people. We got coke, sprite, and orange for the adults and fruit punch mix for the little ones.

We had a great time, and I received 3 beautiful dresses, material, and 2 pairs of African made sandals to wear when I go out of the house.  

Alan, Lisa and Riley all went to Alabama to visit friends over Spring break.  They had a good time and decided that all of them would go to Disney World together for Christmas.  Last year Alans’ went to Arizona so they want to do something different.  Since I am not there they are not committed to a family gathering.  It is reaching the point where Riley will not be around much longer before college.  It just doesn’t seem possible that he is growing up so quickly.  In addition to band, he is running track and cross country in the spring.  I guess he is pretty good at it and really enjoys it.  I know it probably keeps him in shape for band so that when they start marching again he won’t be so sore.  Plus he has built up his muscles from marching and that has helped with track.  Lisa is doing so well with her new business that she has hired two additional people to work with her.  She does the books, marketing, etc. for small businesses where the owner doesn’t have enough to hire someone to do it, but too much for one person to do.  Alan is doing well with the insurance too.

Kelly and Bob are doing all right too.  Kelly will be here from July 4th to the 23rd. She got her Lilly grant to do research on folk tales from Liberia and the similarities to American folk tales.  She will do a bit of teacher training and is bringing a couple of other people with her.  The kids here are really excited that she is coming as well.  She wants to help Patient in the kitchen and learn how to make authentic Liberian dishes.  Bob loves Liberian food and it is good for him.  He is back selling cars again and is very content.  I don’t know why he ever stopped in the first place.  I think he was just tired and Kelly didn’t like the hours he was putting in.  Now that they have been married longer, she is pretty much ok with it.  They try to save Sundays to do things together.

Well, it is growing late and I need to get my beauty sleep  Ha!
Peace and joy,
Anne and Timothy

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday 3-4-2012

Greetings to you all!!!!!!!

News! News! News!

1st - my news. For all of you who were waiting for it to happen - well it happened! Earlier this week Timothy and I were at the John Koffi Asmuth United Methodist Church for the dedication of their new school. Now this was important for several reasons. Boswell UMC has donated hymnals to this church because they were singing from four different hymnals because they didn't have enough of any one hymal for their congregation. Wouldn't that be a terrible problem, to have a congregation so large that you didn't have enough hymnals? Well, Boswell helped them out and they are now ready to sing any song in the Methodist Hymnal and all on the same page! Also, Brookston UMC donated choir robes and now they are all the same! How awesome! No more mix and match! The dedication was for a new 3 story Elementary/Jr Hi school in Westpoint. Westpoint is the poorest area in town to live. And they saying is "that nothing good can come from Westpoint". Well now, thanks to the Illinois Great River Conference the possibility exists by having the first school in Westpoint available to Wespoint children! Why do we care? First, we have 4 grandchildren attending that school and church, 2 of our son's helped with the carpentry and masonry in the construction, and my former houseboy (Sam) was the School Board Presdient and in charge of the construction process! I am so very proud of all of them.
Now, to the news - Timothy and I, plus Bishop Innis and the District Superintendent Jerry Kulah, were walking from the church to the school. While doing so, Bishop appointed me as the Counseling Elder for our church, Johnson G. Nyan UMC. So - now you can all breathe, I am back to work again! However, this time, I don't have to do all the preaching, visiting, etc. Of course, in exchange for all this grace, I don't draw a salary either! Doesn't God have a wonderful sense of humor!
Also, Boswell UMC donated hymnals and Brookston UMC donated robes to our church as well. They arrived just in time for the District UMW Conference last November and the church (and the women particularly) were so excited they had robes when the choir of our church was called on to sing. There was a mass choir made up of about 6 different churches. Our church would have been the only one without robes but for this wonderful gift. In addition there were enough hymnals for the 300+ women in attendence at the Conference. This is not a one day affair but lasts for 5 days. Our women were the hosts for this district conference at our church.

2nd - The Houseman Community well is coming right along. All the culverts were made with 2 extra - just in case. Yesterday, the boys started digging and were able to reach 4 1/2 culverts deep. It will be 8 culverts deep or about 25 feet. They reached the water table at about 3 1/2 culverts deep. That is great since this is the heighth of dry season. If we have that much water we will know that the well will not likely run dry. The community is so excited and some of the more able bodied men/boys were here to help. The digging is done by hand with a shovel that resembles 1/2 of a post hole digger. The dirt/mud is put in a bucket and lifted out. There is only room for 1 person digging and they almost have to flatten themselves against the side of the well to raise and lower the bucket. Tomorrow Jonathon will rent a water pump to keep the water out of the well while they continue to dig. Once they have reached the desired depth, they will then put gravel and sand in the bottom to filter the water. The pump will be set in concrete and sealed to the well, the water will be chlorinated and we will be in business. I have been taking pictures and hope to find some way to post them on the blog so you will have a better idea of what it will look like. The members of our community have stopped by several times to tell us Thank You! However, the thanks goes to Rev. Larry Houseman for taking on the fundraising for this project and all the congregations, friends and family who have helped support it. It will be wonderful to have clean drinking water available within 100 feet of our home and our neighbors.

3rd - The land issue for Timothy has still not been resolved. He reached his attorney on Friday and will meet with him again of Tuesday to have the complaint taken out of the Circuit Court and to the Superior Count for resolution.
He is still very concerned but is much more calm now that he has confidence in his attoney and the higher court.

4th. Christiana (our daughter) has had her ups and downs with her battle with cervical cancer. She was finally able to receive her first round of chemo treatments last week. She had to have 3 pints of blood to raise her blood levels before beginning the chemo. The Dr. was not even happy with that but went ahead to see how she would respond. If we are not able to keep her blood level up (it was 18%) he will discontinue the treatments. She received 4 different chemo drugs. We had to search Monrovia for one of them that was not available, but one pharmacy ordered it for us at the cost of over $400.00 USD. But - we have it and that is what is important!
She had the normal reactions to chemo but seems to be holding her own. Yesterday she even surprised us by making our bed and sweeping our room for us! She is ever tired but seems a little stronger each day. Please continue praying for her.
Another blood test was taken Friday and we will receive the results tomorrow. Wednesday we will travel back down to the Firestone Hospital to meet with her Dr. and learn what his prognosis is. We are also taking another daughter (Patient) with us for a check-up to make sure that she is ok.

General news and observations:
All our grandchildren here at the house with us are now in school. It gets very quiet during the day but is a welcome relief. Koyo (15) and Sawsee (3) are the only grandsons here. Granddaughters: Mary (14), Faith (10), Dena (7) and Candy Girl (8), plus daughter Patient are the others in school. As you can see - women rule! We have been working on this little bit by little bit since we arrived, and have finally achieved this goal.

Rolf is adjusting well and it well taken care of by the Grandchildren. One has spoiled him rotten by feeding him his food by hand. Now he expects everything to be handfed to him. He will just lay and look at you with "Well, here I am, do you expect me to move?" He loves to ride in the car, stick his head out the window and let his ears blow out from his head. People are always doing double takes when they see him. If we are not able to take him with us, he will meet us as we turn into our road and ride in the car to the house. Now Sawsee is doing the same thing. We have to stop and pick them up to ride that short distance. But they are both happy.

Today traffic was moving very slowly on the way home from church. We found out that a steer ( they look like Bramah bulls with the horns and hump behind their heads) was wandering down the street with a long rope around it's head. A car had driven onto the rope and stopped the steer. The driver finally was able to get off the rope, but the steer continued down the middle of the road for some time. Eventually, he got off the side of the road and the traffic was able to pass. I am not sure where he was going and no one was with him.
Another day, I was waiting in the car for Jeff while he was at the mechanics - this is an open air shop along the road. Next door is an open air wooden furniture shop, on down are other shops and/or businesses. Quietly walking through all this was another steer meandering his way to the area called "cow factory" where the slaughtering takes place and the butcher shops are located. We often stop along the way at the little carts with roasted cow meat. They take fresh meat pieces and roast it it in the carts. You can pick your piece of meat, have it sliced, and have onions sliced with it and seasoned. A serving will cost about $1.50 and is very delicious.
Another day we saw a man holding a full size mattress on the back of a motorcycle traveling down the road. Granted, they are made from foam rubber and are about 6" thick. They are doubled over and tied so they are portable. However, it makes for a very interesting ride in the traffic.
The Christmas tree that was put up 2 days before Christmas on the Blvd. was finally taken down this week. However, the tree and decorations are still up at the church. Maybe they will be down in time for Easter.
Yesterday I made French Toast for breakfast. The children loved it. 1 1/2 dozen eggs and 2 loaves of bread managed to feed us all. I hope to get a large skillet and fix pancakes one day. I did the French toast in a large dutch oven type pan over a charcoal fire.. Very interesting experence.
Life is good, God is good and all is well!
Love and hugs from the Kumeh clan.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Box

Dear friends,
I am preparing a box of supplies to be sent to Mom in the next few weeks.  If you would like to send items to me to ship over or if you would like to contribute to the filling and shipping of the box, please contact me at kellyjurkowski@gmail.com
Mom has given me a list of items she would like and I would be happy to share that list with anyone who wishes to see it.

Kelly

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday, Jan. 17th, 2012

Greetings,
Yesterday was a nationa holiday here in Liberia as President Ellen Johnson Serliff was sworn in for a second term of office. Her term is 6 years and she will be 80 years old when she completes the term. She is asking for a show of patriotism in every Liberian resulting not only respect for the country but for each and every individual. Great strides were taken in the past years in the recovery efforts and I anticipate many more in the years to come as she continues to rebuild this country.

We now have 24 hour access to electricity available in our area. There was quite a cheer went up from the community when the street lights came on for the first time last week. There are four homes in our immediate area seeking electricity so we are going together to purchase a pole ($200.00 US) for the area. We have to provide our own line and then current will be connected to our homes along with a usage box. How wonderful to be able to have a fan running when the days are very warm and still plus power whenever we need it!!!!
We began the sale of our moringa products this week. Our sales people have red wagons that they pull around the area and explain to people the benefits of usage. Many have already heard about it and are welcoming the supply. Sales have been good and we are now looking for more leaves to wash, dry and process. It was quite a sight last Friday to see all our boys competing to see who could grind the leaf into powder the fastest. We were able to package over 50 small bags that will sell for about $1.25 USD or $100 Liberian. One teaspoon of the powder added to food will prevent malnutrition. We have the leaf and powder for sale along with the honey. In the future we will add moringa seeds and root. The root can be placed in a bottle of liquid (anything from Palm Wine, beer or water) and drank with the same nutritioal benefits.

The well project will soon be underway. We have enough funds now to rent the forms to make the 30" roun concrete tiles that will be placed in the hold as it is being dug for the well. It has been explained to me that as the hole is dug a tile is placed in the hole. As the hole deepens the tile will slide down and another tile will be placed on top of the first. This will continue until the well is the desired depth. We will be digging during dry season so when we get water we will be assured that the well will be deep enough to meet the community's needs. Once a sufficient level of water is reached the bottom of the hole will be filled with rock and gravel for the water to pass through thus cleaning the water. Then the well will be covered and sealed with the hand pump installed. Finally the water will be chlorinated on a regular basis to ensure that it is pure and drinkable.
We really thank Rev. Larry Houseman for his efforts to help us with the community well. The entire project will cost about $1500 USD and we have about $600 in hand. That will start us making the tile which takes 3 days for each tile to set in the mold and then an additional 21 days to dry. With our time frame will will not be able to install the pump and seal the well until April. There is still time to donate to this community project.

I am certainly enjoying having Christiana home with us. Her children are here as well so it makes for a lively house. Can you imagine that we still have trouble with the girls taking their turn at doing the dishes. There are 4 of them, and always an arguement about whose turn it is. Today I made all 4 of them do the dishes together. I guess that children are the same the world over for my siblings and I had a discussion one day around the table about this very issue. They were saying that I was the "Queen" of avoiding doing dishes and went so far as to call our older brother to confirm it. Just adding insult to injury - don't you feel sorry for me being the smallest and always picked on!

Chris is an excellent cook and loves cooking so I have been letting her take charge of the kitchen. Oh, the tasty meals she prepares with just the right amount of pepper to give flavor but not overpower the food. She has taken to frying me a fish each evening for supper because she knows I will enjoy it so much. The only problem is that I have to share with Timothy and Rolf so it doesn't go very far. But yes, I love fresh fish. Yesterday she took some ripe plantain, mashed it, added flour, baking powder, milk, pepper and ginger to make a batter. Then spooned into grease to fry as a donut without a hole. The fresh ginger and pepper mix gave it a real kick! Yummy!

The land issue still is an issue. The man who is selling our land filed suit against Timothy to try to circumvent appearing in court to bring his deeds to compare with ours. So far, it has stood in court that we are the rightful owners but we are not able to do anything as long as the issue is in court. It gets more and more interesting and now has been referred to the Temple of Justice and the Circuit Court rather than the local court. I dread each day that Timothy has to go because he gets so very stressed out over the entire situation.

We have a little garden with okra, cucumber and tomatoes in it. It is a trial to see what we can do. We are using the soil that is here at the house but have been advised to add dirt, manure, and sawdust to it to strengthen it and hold the water. It is a start and if it does well we have plenty of room to make it larger.

As I sit on my porch to write, I can see Sawsee wheeling a tire around the yard. He has so much fun and will do it for hours. It is his truck because he can put things in it and they will ride along. His car is an old 5 gallon water jug that he pushes or sits on and scoots around the yard. He found an old key so he has to come in and hang it on the key rack when he is finished for the day. I hope to be able to get him a tricycle for his birthday in May. He will the be "hottest" kid in the neighborhood. Earlier I saw two little boys with their handmade cars of tin cans and wheels made from old flipflops. The girls play a jumping game with a "rope" made from unraveling a rice bag and tying the strips together. It is more knots than rope but it does the trick. One has made the circuit of the entire neighborhood as they will lay it down when they are finished and someone else will pick it up. At times there is a game of kickball going on with the girls in one area and soccer with the boys in another. One evening the women were having elimination races to see who could run the fasted from one palm tree to another about 25 yards apart.

So it goes here at Lulu Parham community at the 1603 turnoff across from the Cellcom tower on the Barndersville Road.

Peace and joy,
Anne and Timothy

Monday, January 9, 2012

Friday,Jan 6th, 2012

Friday, Jan. 6th, 2012
Greetings and a very Happy New Year to everyone!
The New Year celebration in Liberia is in some ways similar and other ways very different than I have celebrated in the US.
But first, let me back up just a little – Wednesday and Thursday (the last of December) Timothy and Zayzay went to Cape Mount to bring back moringa leaf to have dried. Then we would package and label it for sale as one of our Liberia’s Own products. Well-----they brought back moringa leaf ----- more that we could actually handle. They returned about 6 pm with their haul plus four bags of charcoal, fish, and other assorted goodies that I was supposed to be proud of my “mighty hunters”. The only problem was that it was almost dark, we have no refrigeration, supper had already been prepared and we had all this wonderful fish and crab that was going to go to waste. Patient pan fried and parboiled it to save for the next day.
The moringa had been packed in 100 pound rice bags and was already hot from the moisture that had gathered in the bags from the leaves. Zayzay quickly began spreading it on my living room floor (even though it is cement) I was a “little bit” disconcerted, however even more so when I didn’t have any extra sheets and they had to spread it out on my 4 best tablecloths because they are so large. At the time I was not able to laugh about it, but now I guess one will do almost anything to make sure a product is taken care of to avoid spoilage.
The next morning, some of the moringa was carried to a nearby community where it could be washed and dried and ready for packaging. The balance was gathered up in the tablecloths, carried to the warehouse to be washed in water and salt, strained through a large strainer and mosquito netting and then spread to dry in the warehouse. This was a process that took the entire day.
In the meantime – people were marking our property for foundations for new houses requiring Timothy to go to the Court to lay his complaint to have the man selling the land unlawfully arrested. They went to serve to papers and the man fled. To date, I believe that people have started to mark for foundations or begin to build on the land. Ironically, the man resold some of the same property that he had sold to one person who lost his suit against Timothy. The man just doesn’t know when to stop. We also have a complaint to have him give to us the value of our house that he had knocked down in all this process.
In fact, Timothy is in court today, on this very issue once again. I truly hope that it can be settled and we can use our land for farming as was the plan. All this fuss over a dirt block house and 3 acres of land has consumed most of Timothy’s time this week.
However, at this point, the moringa is drying to be packaged, we have honey to package as well and then we will be able to actually get it in the market. We have been selling honey privately up to this point.
On Friday, December 30th, Chris arrived home safe and sound from Ghana. She is very weak, still has pain, tired and frustrated, but home! For that we are very thankful. She is staying with us and is able to help some with things that she enjoys doing and don’t involve a lot of physical activity. Her girls are thrilled and couldn’t wait for their time for her to plat their hair. She seems to be gaining strength from being around those who love and care for her. She also brings her own unique sense of humor, authority and no-nonsense that I appreciate in her so very much. Everyone is happier since she is back with us.
Saturday night, New Year’s Eve, the adult children all went for watch night services at various churches. Since I was preaching New Year’s Day, Timothy and I did not go out but stayed home with all the grandchildren. Watch night services begin around 7 or 8 pm and go through midnight. Singing, praying, singing, preaching, singing, testimony, and did I mention singing? Everyone came home hoarse from so much singing.
Here at home, Timothy and I listened to the drummers going around the neighborhood; others with portable stereos were grouped together singing, and parties. It was quite exciting, and very noisy, but we all took it in stride.
Sunday morning we were awakened to singing and stereo music outside our bedroom door. The girls who live in the houses behind us were over to wake us to the New Year with their own kind of music. We prepared to go to church and arrived late, almost just in time for me to preach. However, I did beat the pastor there and discovered that a church is able to carry-on whether there is a pastor or not. The sermon was well received, the offering was taken (several times) and money was raised for the various programs in the church.
Sunday afternoon I cooked with what we had on hand. I thought I would make spaghetti with cucumbers, onion, garlic and mayonnaise. However, we could not find cucumbers anywhere. So, I got creative with diced hot dogs, spaghetti, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, kidney beans and made spaghetti/chili without chili power. We had guests for dinner and served Timothy’s birthday cake (without frosting which would have cost me an additional $10.00). Everyone had a great time.
The older children went out to celebrate New Year’s Day, so once again we had all the grandchildren. There was a wedding reception with a DJ at a nearby house, so we all danced on the porch till dark and the party ended. Monday was a rest day for everyone and a sense of back to work on Tuesday.
Tuesday afternoon, I began to feel bad and ended up going to the clinic on Wednesday morning. We figure it must have been a bad case of the flu for I tested negative for both typhoid and malaria. I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday in bed. By Friday, I was pretty well back to normal and glad it was nothing serious.
The trip to the clinic was an experience in itself. As we entered the building set back from the road accessible by a back alley, it was dark with rows of benches for the patients who were waiting to register. We went up the iron staircase to the second floor where Timothy and Jasper (his nephew who is living on the farm) knew a nurse. She then carried us back downstairs to the emergency room. There I was registered, blood pressure checked, temperature taken and paid my money for fees. It was $150 Liberian Dollars to register (about $2.00 USD) and $1,000 Liberian Dollars (about $15.00 USD) for treatment and lab work. Since I would require a drip they had us go back upstairs where I was taken to a semi-private room. It consisted of two old iron beds with bare mattresses. They put two hospital gowns on a bed as sheets for me. They started a drip line with about a pint of fluid. They also injected into the line medication for nausea and diarrhea. Later the nurse gave me an injection for the pain.
While we were waiting for the drip to finish, an evangelist was preaching to the people downstairs waiting to be seen by the Doctor. We could hear it all because an interior window in our room opened into the lobby below. She was preaching repentance and was really into it. I commented to the Physician’s Assistant that I was a pastor and would really prefer to hear prayers than preaching. He agreed and commented that I was already the second pastor that day in the clinic. At the completion of the drip the lab technician came and took blood for tests, they we waited some more.
After about 2 ½ hours total, we learned that I probably had food poisoning since I had tested negative to their lab tests. They gave me 4 different kinds of medicine and sent me home to rest. The next day, Timothy’s nephew Dennis who is a PA came by to see me. We were discussing the illness, diagnosis, and treatment. I commented that nobody else got sick on the food, and I really felt like it was the old-fashioned flu. I asked if they had flu in Liberia and he said “Oh, yes” That is what you have when we don’t know what else it could be. Ah, the wonders of medical science in a third world country.
Life goes on and we are doing well. I am learning to praise God for every little thing and trust God even more .
Peace and joy, Anne and Timothy
Sawsee and Candy Girl on Christmas morning before church. I made Candy Girl’s dress for her Christmas present and we gave Sawsee a small toy car.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011

Greetings,
Today is literally the 3rd day of Christmas in Liberia.

Saturday, Christmas Eve Day was spent traveling about, visiting family and friends and carrying gifts or money to them. We visited two new grandchildren; Irena who is the daughter of son Jeff - she is almost 4 months old, has two teeth alrady, and is a very strong willed baby! The second was litte Edwin who is just now a week old. He is very bright eyed and has a head ful of black ringlets! They are both so very adorable.

We gave the gifts to the grandchildren and the children that we had brought from the US. Those who didn't receive gifts, received money. We gave Sawsee a little red mustang car about 5 inches long. He will not let it out of his sight and will either wear out the knees in his pants or have calluses on his knees from playing with it.

All in all, it was very simple because of the financial needs for Chris and her hospital care, Adulphus' graduation, and surgery for the children's mother. We did learn that Chris had to return to the hospital on Christmas Eve day and on Christmas. Hopefully, she is back home today and we hope that she will be able to return to Liberia on Friday and continue her treatment here.

We were not able to go the Christmas Eve services at the church because they had to be cancelled. There were riots in the streets on Friday night because students who worked from the time school was dismissed for the Chistmas holiday until Christmas had not been paid by the government. They were to be paid $80 and were only being given $40.00. They rioted in the streets, smashed government vehicles and caused a lot of damage. A curfew was imposed through Christmas. We were able to see them running in the main road by our house and smashing a police vehicle just down the street. We were not in any danger, however, Sawsee was terrified, grabbed my hands, pulled me into the bedroom, slammed the door and wanted me to lock it. However, he then went out on the porch, and we watched the activities from there. Apparently it began in town just after we left on Friday and continued out to this neighborhood in a matter of hours.

However, Saturday night we were awakened by drumming about 3:00 am. I asked Timothy what is was in light of everything else that was going on and he told me it was Santa Claus. Here, Santa does not bring gifts but travels in the neighborhoods dancing to the drums and people give him money. We saw it in downtown on Friday. Generally it is someone dressed in grass and totally covered. They are bedecked with ribbons, paint and a stick and dance in the streets for money. It was a little disconcerting, but I did get used to it and went back to sleep.

Sunday morning we got up and prepared for church. We had a car full and arrived just as the service was beginning. Candy Girl was so cute in a little blue dress that I had made for her for Christmas - she had no suitable dresses for church- it was from Liberian material and complete with a headtie. I loaned her a necklace and she was quite the cutie. Sawsee was quite the little man in brown cargo pants and polo shirt complete with a Santa Hat! He didn't want to take it off and wore it into church.

The service included a time of testimony of what God had done for us in the past year. At the time the testimonial is made, money is donated to a special offering. This was in additioin to the regular offering, the mission offering, your pledge, your dues, and an assessment of $20.00 USD per family to help gather the funds to pay the pastor for two months owed. Asking for money is not a carefully worded request, you are just told this is your assessment and you are required to pay it. Your name is read as the payment is made so the entire church is aware of who is delinqent.

We sang Christmas carols, read the Magnificat and listened to the sermon based on that text. It was good, but very long and we didn't reach home until afer 2:30 pm, tired and hungry to find 5 more grandchildren who had left home to seek Grandma and Grandpa. After a meal of Jollif rice (rice, tomatoes, several kinds of meat, and mixed vegetables) the older childen decided to out for the evening leaving us with all the grandchildren. One of the neighbors was having a party so we danced outside on the front porch until dark. When the current came on, they watched videos until I packed them all off to bed about 9:30 or 10 pm. This morning they all got up and hit the sugar bowl so we had a wild time. I worked them doing laundry and other assorted tasks until we got it out of their system. After some behavioral modifications they quit their attitudes and were pretty decent the rest of the day. If they had been able to continue as before the house would have been chaos and everything in it destroyed. One wonders how anxious they will be to come to Grandma's again. The interesting thing is that their parents didn't even know they were here and called late in the afternoon to check to see if they were here. Oh my children!!!!

Today, we are sort of taking it easy, but not really. People have been in and out and Timothy went out this mornin to visit some church members that he didn't see yesterday. I can hear music in the background from a party, smell someone popping popcorn and people walking about in dressup clothes. Christmas is a religious holiday and there is actually very little gift giving as such. Timothy's nephew, Dennis and his wife Nancy, sent us some food yesterday. We returned the basket today with a little someething in it for them.

Sawsee is awake from his nap, is holding his clothes and wanting a bath. Here I am!!!

Love, hugs, peace, joy, and Christmas blessings.

Anne and Timothy