Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011

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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12/22/2011 Thursday


After a day of fatigue and rest, I will tell you about the day yesterday.Adolphus was the first of the Kumeh family to graduate from college. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from University of Liberia. He persisted for over 8 years to earn this degree for often after the semester would start, the teachers would lay down their chalk (go on strike because they had not been paid), the semester would end, no credit would be given and the students would have to start the semester over again and pay additional fees. It wasn't fair, but many things in Liberia weren't. However, under the direction of a new Univeristy President, things are beginning to change.The graduating class was over 1200 students. Apparently the June graduating class is well over 3,000.

The day began early as Adolphus remembered that he had to have an all black tie to go with his black suit, white shirt, black shoes, black socks. Of course all this is hidden by the robe, but it was a requirement for graduation. They were to arrive at the soccor stadium to begin formation at 8:00 am. Needless to say, this was Liberian time and even though they didn't leave the house until after 8:30 am, they arrived in plenty of time. Timothy, Koyo (nephew and ward of Adolphus) and son Jeff all went. They didn't want me to go because it would be 8 hours in unprotected sun.

After they left for graduation, Annie (the mother of Adolphus) arrived to be here for the party following graduation. She brought me some Challah, a fried donut, that I dearly love and have not had yet since being in Liberia. She was followed by Nancy, the wife of Dennis (the Physician's Assistant) who is a nephew of Timothy's. Nancy and I get along so very well together and have a great time talking when we see each other. She came to help cook. but while we were waiting to begin, I gave her a computer lesson.

At the same time the graduation group left, daughter Patience and a friend went to the market. They got back home about noon and the cooking began in earnest.While they all fixed fufu and soup, rice, and potato salad, I worked at washing dishes, cleaning the house; sweeping, dusting, finding new homes for objects around, and taking care of the grandchildren. I was exhausted before the party even began. Some of the girls put together the makings of "Liberian Egg Nog".It consists of condensed milk, peanut butter, nutmeg and lots of gin. I think they bought a dozen coke size bottles of gin. They told me it tasted like Bailey's Irish Creame. I put the couple of swallows they gave me in a coffee cup and made coffee to dilute it. While it was very tasty, I chose not to drink anymore for the day.

Adolphus arrived about 3 pm from graduation. After the initial hugs and congratulations by all the family and friends, he was seated in a chair covered with a piece of material indicating that he was the honored guest. His mother was seated on his left, I was seated on is right and Timothy on his far right. The party began with the eating of cola nut dipped in pepper, the prayer to the ancestral spirits and the pouring of cane wine on the thresh hold of the house. Then, welcomes, remarks by family, followed by remarks by Adolphus, followed by remarks by all others. It was a very emotional time for the family because of their pride in what he had accomplished.

The food and beverages were served and then the party began. There was singing and dancing around the table. I joined in as long as my legs would hold up, but it wouldn't be much longer than 10 or 20 minutes. Because I was willing to try, everyone appauded my efforts. It was more fun to watch the different members of the family. One or two began drinking the "egg nog", then Coca-cola,beer, cane juice wine, and back to "egg nog". What was even more interesting were the large hand bags the women were carrying and they would slip coke cans into them periodically as well.

Adolphus shared his graduation medal (much like an Olympic medal) with me by hanging it around my neck. He gave his mother his class graduation ball cap. We took pictures of his son Sawsee wearing his mortarboard, and Koyo going around with his graduation robe and hood telling us he was practicing for his graduation. He is 15 and has a way to go,but would like to be an electrition when he completes school. Many of the family brought gifts including monetary envelopes. He received about $10.00 USD and several undershirts and T-shirts. We were teasing him about the family all knowing he must have needed underwear. He also got his own set of eating bowls with lids.

Long about 7 pm when it began to get dark, Adolphus and his friends moved the party across the street to the nightclub and the rest of the family drifted off to their homes. It wasn't long before we all went to bed, tired but happy for the celebration.

Peace and joy,
Anne and Timothy

PS - I almost forgot to tell you that son Jonathan has a new baby boy child - born Monday night. It is tradition that the elders in the family name the child. Timothy chose to name him after my brother Edwin Jr.
While Timothy never knew my father, he very much admires my brother for his strength, patience and sense of humor. He felt that Edwin would be a wonderful role model for this small child to grow to be. Jonathan and his wife will be able to give a second name. So welcome to the world: Edwin Kumeh.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday 12/20/2011

Greetings to you this lovely afternoon.
It is in the 80's, partly cloudy with a light breeze. Just enough to keep you from being too hot!.
Chrstmas is "just aound the corner", the children are out of school and already bored, everyone is in a hurry to earn some last minute money to cook dinner "for the Christmas", and Timothy is once gain out on the farm fighting the land battles.

To bring you up to date: He and Adolphus were arrested when they went to the court to answer a trespassing charge filed by the man who was selling the land as his. They were allowed to leave the court and return last Saturday with their documents to prove that Timothy is the rightful owner to the property. In the meantime a complaint was registered in the Circuit Court by a woman who was building a house that Timothy was trespassing. Saturday when they went to court for the first arrest, they were cleared as our deed is registered in 2003 and the other in 2011. The man fled the court after he ruling lest Timothy go after him. Monday upon going the Circuit Court it was also resolved in our favor. Monday afternoon, we received word that a woman was planning to begin building today and had torn down the house that our boys had started which was being cleared and resumed building. This morning, they went to court again and filed a complaint against the woman and also an arrest warrant on the man who is selling the property. When they went to serve the warrant the man ran away so they are returning to the Police Station to have them watch for the man and arrest him. One of these days I hope that this can all be resolved. The court system sometmes is still corrupt. The President is working hard to get this stopped, but some are slow in adhering to the law.

Last week we received the shipment of the car. What a joyfilled day to find that indeed it had arrived. The day before we had learned that the shipping company only knew of one vehicle in the shipment and it was not ours. After a frantic trip to the Warehouse, we found that while the clerk only knew of one vehicle, upon inspecting the manifest listing, our vehicle was in the shipment as well. It traveled pretty well, has a few dents and scrapes, and needed the oil changed, etc., but we are doing fine with it. How wonderful not to have to go out to the road and try to find a taxi to carry us where we need to go at the rate of $5.00 US per hour. Gas is $4.00 a gallon here and so it really adds up to take a car anywhere. Jeff loves to drive and keeps the car tuned and clean all the time. Sawsee went to church with us Sunday and rode on the wide armrest in the middle front seats of the car. He loved every minute of it and had his eyes literally glued to the road, traffice, and everything that Jeff was doing. I do believe that we have another mechanic coming up on the family. Of course, it will be several years before he is able to drive, but he is fascinated by cars.

Saturday we put up the Christmas tree. It was a first for everyone in the family with the exception of Timothy and I. The children and grandchildren loved it and carefully hung the bulbs and decorations on the tree. We gave Sawsee a small plastic decoration of Santa Claus to hang. He delights in carrying it around, hanging it on the tree, or leaving it sitting on a chair o table It was lost for a short time this morning but he quickly found it. I have a feeling it will be difficult for him when we put away the tree and decorations for the next year. Last night with the genius of Grandson Koyo, we were able to light it for the first time. I would have loved to have a picture of the children's faces when they saw it all lit up in the dark. Others from the community have been by to admire the tree and thank us for what we have done for the community.

Speaking of such, we have been notified of promises in the amout of about $400.00 for the drinking well project. We are naming it the "Houseman well" for the family that first took on the project and made the first contribution to the well. Clean drinking water is about 1/2 mile away from us. So about 4 or 5 times a day Koyo carries a 5 gallon drinking container to fill for our family use. However, many other families nearby do not even have a drinkin container so they come to our house for water. We are hoping to build a well at our home for the neighborhood community to have clean, safe, drinking water. We use another well about a football field away for cooking, bathing, laundry and flushing the toilet. However, it is not safe for drinking. I would like to cook with safe water as well.

Another blessing was received this morning when we learned that grandchild # ?? was born last night. I am having trouble keeping track of the number and will have to check for sure. I think #25 or 26. Jonathon and his wife now have a second, healthy, little boy child. I had hoped for a girl after so many boys, but it is just not to be. I will have to sew shorts instead of little dresses. However, God is Good!!!

Christiana is doing much better and has completed her radiation treatments. She is having problems eating since she went so long with out because it made her so sick. She is gaining strength and soon will be returning home after Christmas. We are so excited she is doing well. Timothy ran into a friend he had worked with at JFK hospital. He is now an OB/GYN at Firestone Hospital and in charge of the cancer treatment center there. He has offered to take over the care of Chris once she returns to Liberia. Again, God is Good!

It seems that every day is filled with troubles and frustrations, yet we always seem to manage by depending on God to carry us through. It is truly a life of trust each and every day for there is so much that we have no control over. I thank God daily for women I am meeting here that are quick to help and support me as I learn to do things the Liberian way and teach them some things the American way. I thank God for family and friends in the US who pray for us and write news from the states. Even the weather is interesting!!!!

While it appears to many that life may be difficult without so many of the conveniences of home, we live in that reality, make do, and celebrate what conveniences we do have. I showed Jeff how to pull dents out of the car with the plunger yesterday. He was amazed and so excited. He kept looking for other dents to pull out and am sure that he went to the local garage to show them his newfound knowledge. An old tire has become a car for Sawsee and he can put a can or bottle in it and roll it along the ground. He has an old key that he found and carries it as well. At night we hang it on the key hook in our bedroom.

Rolf is doing well and is very protective of me and Sawsee. Right now they are both napping on the bedroom porch while I am blogging. Patient is with her mother who is having glocoma surgery today, the boys are with Timothy at the farm, Candy Girl is running in and out for food and Koyo is watching DVDs after charging the player with the solar panel this morning.

The Kumeh family wishes to all of you our very warm wishes for a Merry Christmas and Blessings for the New Year. We will continue to keep you up to date on our life in Liberia. If you would like me to address a specific topic either post it in the comments or email me.

Peace and joy,
Anne an Timothy

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday, Dec. 4th, 2011

Greetings this warm Sunday afternoon,

Our guest room was finished in time to welcome our first official guest, Jim Perry from Raleigh NC, to our home.  He has been with us for a week touring the Agriculture projects that our two specialists have been working with.  This week they traveled to Ganta and brought back lots of honey for us to bottle and sell along with the moringa leaf.  We are very excited to get this project going and want to have the first on the market within a week.  We have a neighbor woman who is willing to be our test market seller.  Timothy will be taking a cart with honey, leaf and seeds to another market nearby.

The pictures are of the finished guest room so you can see that we do live a slightly civilized life.  Jim said that he was very comfortable with a fan for a breeze and a screen door to let the air pass through the room.  It is quite spacious and in spite of several obstacles we made it in time for his arrival.  It is now ready for other guests who will arrive in the future.


We also met our new grandson, Riley Kumeh,

 who was born after we were here in February, 2011.  He is a delightful child, smiling constantly and only fussing a little when he was sleepy.  He is the son of Timothy Jr, aka Archie Boy.  Archie Boy spends a lot of time away and loves to fish in the open sea.  He scares Timothy because he doesn’t know how to swim, but we just take it all in stride for that seems to be his calling.

Christiana (Chris) is finished with her treatments and is now spending a month healing and for observation before she can come home.  We are hoping that she will be able to be with us for Christmas.  Her husband came back to Liberia on Friday so he could return to work.  We have talked to Chris several times.  She is very tired and depressed.  It is hard to feel like you are healing when you have gone through so much hurt to the body.  While it is normal, those of you who have had cancer understand, it still is not easy.

We planted 4 moringa trees in the yard and within 24 hours the children had pulled them out of the ground.  We found two of them and got them replanted and now we wait to see if they will survive.  Unlike the US, children here run all over the place without much supervision.  You can hear your children’s voices and know approximately where they are.  There is much dependence on neighbors to keep an eye on them when they see them.  It is a crazy maker for me, but I am slowly getting used to it, while keeping track of Luther’s whereabouts.

Our tomato plants are doing well and I have one cucumber plant in the nursery that will be ready to put in the ground soon.  It is better to start the seeds in containers here so that you can tell what is growing and where it is when it is planted.  With the tropical vegetation, it is difficult to tell what is plant and what  is weed when they are first coming up.

We are beginning to see signs of Christmas around town with trees and some decorations.  Our tree is in the car which has arrived in port.  We hope to be able to take possession of it next week and then will be able to have some sense of freedom to travel around the city.  At the present time, we have to try to find a taxi and it costs $5.00 per hour.  No trip to town is less than 4 hours.  $20.00 in gas will go a lot further.

I made a bow from some Christmas ribbon that I had packed and hung it in the living room.  I also made a red and white hot pad to put on the table to remind us at mealtime.  We hear Christmas music on the radio and it is interesting to hear the carols and songs about snow when it is in the high 80’s with little breeze.

Son Alan sent some magazines and mail with Mr. Perry when he traveled here and it was wonderful read Midwest Living and Good Housekeeping even when there is little relavance to where we are now.  We also read Time and National Geographic to keep up with the news and some mind stimulation.

In return, Mr. Perry has taken our Christmas cards to mail and I do believe this may be the first year they go out sooner than two days before Christmas.

May you all be blessed this Christmas season and live in the joy of Christ.

Peace and joy,

Anne and Timothy

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Good morning and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends:Thursday 11.24.2011

Good morning and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends:

As all mornings here, it is cool and heavy with no breeze.  It will clear off by 9 am with a rise in temperature and bright sky.  As you gather to celebrate today, we give thanks for you, our families, life and God.

We have been preparing for the arrival of our first American guest.  The boys have replaced a door, and are painting the room, hanging new screens and curtains.  It is an interesting reaction in the house for this is an entire new experience for them.  They are quite excited and yet a bit apprehensive.  This is the trial run before we have Kelly and a group of people here next July for 2 weeks.

Yesterday, Timothy graduated from the LEAD program “Liberian Economic and Development”.  It was a ten week course in marketing, finance, public relations, etc. for people who are marketing a product.  It is a very good training program with lots of information and resources.  It was with a great deal of pleasure that I was invited to present the certificates to the graduates. 
   There was supposed to be a picture here!

In the evening after Grandson Luther (Sawsee) has taken his bath, he likes to come in our room and rest on a towel to fall asleep.  I will put relaxing music (generally Mozart) on the computer and it only takes a few minutes.  Last night Rolf chose to lay down with him.  It was quite a sight to see both my “little men” sleeping together.  While I was on Skype, Luther thought it was great fun to see himself on the computer and was waving to my friends.  It was great to actually see people even through there was frustration  with the connection breaking up.  It was the first time I was able to use Skype since I have been here.
There was supposed to be a picture here too.

Rolf got to ride in the taxi with us yesterday and thought it was really great to spend some time seeing everything.  Last week when we went to the local market to get rice, we took him with us.  We took a short taxi ride to bring the rice home.  When we got out of the car, Rolf sat down along the side of the road and would not move because he wanted to ride longer. 

We understand that our car is to arrive tomorrow at the port.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will have it at our disposal.  Son Jeff has already arranged for the license plates so we will be able to drive it home.  How wonderful it will be to have our own transportation.

Next week is the District Conference from Wednesday through Sunday.  The District Superintendent has invited me to be a special guest for the Conference.  While this is an honor, it also means long, hot days in a meeting and no knitting to keep me occupied.  Those of you who know me, can see the humor/frustration in all this.

Today some of the community girls and I got together with my Liberian Cookhouse Cookbook and went over a few recipes that I would like to try.  One of them knows someone with an oven so we want to try to bake a pie or some bread for our guest next week.

When I went to the market yesterday a lady came in wanting canned pumpkin for a pumpkin pie.  The owners looked a little quizzical to her until I said “are you making Pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving?”  She replied that she was.  I told her my time of making cranberry salad with Craisons and Jello.  She thought that was a great idea and got the items to do that as well.  We wished each other Happy Thanksgiving as we left.

It seems strange to think of Christmas being here in just a month.  I will have to think of something very creative to do.  We have a Christmas tree packed in the car and a few decorations.  It will be fun to light the tree and see the children’s eyes light up with a new discovery.

It is after 9 pm here and about time to call it a day.

Love and hugs to all,

Anne and Timothy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday 11/11/2011

It is a very hot, heavy, and humid day here in Liberia.  It is only 10:00 am and already I have been sweating since I got out of bed.  There is no breeze to speak of.  However, it is warm and there is no snow.  For that we are very thankful.  I don't believe that Timothy misses the snow at all.  When I asked him this morning if it was going to rain, he replied, "That it doesn't matter, we will make it!"  Why is it that we complain against the occasional extremes.

The election is over and the results are in:  President Ellen Johnson Serlieff has been re-elected by a majority of 98%.  I guess there is no question of a recount because of a very close vote.  Most everyone around in the community was dancing upon hearing the results.  I am very happy and hope that one day I will actually get to meet her in person.  She is amazing and Liberia is progressing under her leadership.  She is no nonsense person and will not stand for unreasonable actions.

Today, son Jackie, is moving back home.  He will be sharing a room with grandson Koyo.  It will be a bit crowded as you can barely walk around his bed, however, he will be in a better position to have some guidance from Timothy and begin  to save some money as he works.  He is a very good carpenter and pays his bills on time, but does not save for unexpected expenses.  He often acts and then thinks later.  It is not bad and only for a short time until he is able to find a place nearby.

We have discovered that everytime we do laundry, it rains.  It is like those of you who wash your car and it rains that day or the day after.  We did serveral days of laundry and had it all on the line.  About 2 hours later, we had an unexpected rain that really came down.  However, now our clothes are rainwater softened without the cost of the softener.  I recall when we were here in 1998 as a workteam in Buchannan, that the guys would put on their swimtrunks when it would rain and take a shower under the eaves of the house.  The water would hit the hot tin roof and warm as it ran down and off the edge.  They said it made for a great shower.  I mentioned it to Timothy, but he didn't think it would be something that he would try.  The children do have great fun running around in the rain and cooling off, getting clean at the same time.

Timothy has gone into town today to prepare for next Friday which will be the graduation of his study group at LEAP.  This is a financial management class given to men and women to teach them financial management as they enter into business.  At the end of the class they are eligible for apply for a Micro-loan to enlarge their business.  He is doing this as a learning experience for his Micro-Franchise project.

Grandson Luther decided this morning that he was a puppy like Rolf.  He is maybe 2 years old and wanted some attention.  He crawled around on all fours, got Rolf's toy rubber bone and was carrying it in his mouth.  Rolf tolerated that all right until Luther thought he might taste the dog food and lap the water.  Rolf decided that was a little too much and started edging him out of the space.  Luther was licking his mouth like Rolf does and laying his head in my lap to be petted.  It was just too funny.  I was fixing morning tea and peanut butter bread and when I told him that puppies didn't drink tea and eat bread, and it was only for little boys, Luther realized that it might be better to be a little boy than a dog.   Later I was getting dressed and used my deoderant.  Luther raised his arms to have some put on him as well.  He loves to pretend to drive a car and scoots around on a small bench, chair or water jug constantly.  We have a "pickup" and a "Mustang" (old water jugs) parked in the yard that belong to him and a friend. 

Otherwise, the community is about its daily activities - getting water at the well, wheelbarrow sellers coming through with their various goods they are selling (toilet paper, brushes, soap, biscuits, etc.) children playing (some are gathered and jumping up and down on a large pile of branches where a tree was cut down Saturday), laundry is doen and hung out to dry (yet again), and the honking of cars and trucks as they pass up and down the main road nearby.    The lizards are running up and down the sides of the house, there have been a few snakes killed nearby as they are coming out now that it is warmer, and we have a little mouse (although here they are called rats and what we can rats are called mice) running  in and out.  Timothy is getting glue traps today to try to catch it.

Have a great day
Timothy and Anne

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

(The internet is running very slowly so Mom sent me this to post on her behalf)


Today is sort of a down day after all the excitement of the past week.
Yesterday was the run-off election day between the top two vote getters from the October 11th election.  The people were voting for the President.  We will not know the election results until probably Monday or Tuesday of next week.  There has been some unrest and at least 2 people were killed at one gathering.  We were quite a distance away so only heard about it on the radio news.  Here at home, it was pretty quiet.
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving Day in Liberia.  The children were home from school and it was a very relaxed sort of day.  Daughter Patience fixed Jollif Rice which is rice, mixed vegetables, tomato paste and a variety of meat, fish and chicken.  While we enjoyed the day with the children coming and going, we also received news that Christiana had been discharged from one hospital and was to be admitted to another one in Ghanta.  However, before she could be admitted, one half of the cost would have to be paid up front.  This would amount to $2500.  Obviously we don't have it, so we have been trying to find a means to pay this amount.  Until that time, she will have to wait in Ghana.  When she left the hospital she was on oxygen and blood transfusions.  We are praying that she will not have to wait long.
Timothy attends his last class today in Micro-Financing.   There will be a graduation celebration at the school to honor those who have completed the program.  He has been taking the classes in order to gain more knowledge about the process for his Micro-Franchising work.
Last Sunday was the dedication of the new addition to the Johnson G. Nyan United Methodist Church.  This is the church we attend here in Liberia.  I was invited to preach and following the service of communion, the dedication took place with several dignitaries present to cut the ribbons in all the doorways.  It includes a Pastor's office, Sunday School classroom, Pastor's bathroom and 2 additional bathrooms.   The entire program ended about 2:30 pm and we finally arrived home about 4:00 pm to eat.  It was a very long day.
 In two weeks the church will be hosting the District United Methodist Women for several days and they have been busy preparing for women from 31 churches in our District.  There will be speakers, programs, and other activities throughout the day.  The UMW from our church will be feeding them two meals a day while they are here.  I understand there will be visitors from the US in attendance.
We are still opening and sorting boxes until we can find space to put things or work on finishing the house so they can be put to use.
Rolf is adjusting slowly to this new style of living and climate.  He wouldn't eat for a couple of days but seems to be doing better.  He is still quite the attention getter when the boys take him out for a walk.  However, after they are gone for 2 or 3 hours, he can't wait to get in and get a drink of water and sleep.  I may have to curtail the long walks for he may suffer from exhaustion.
We are doing well, and more news will come as it is there to tell.
Peace and joy
Timothy and Anne

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday 11/1/2011

Good afternoon everyone.
I didn't realize that it has been an entire week since I lasted posted to our blog.  So----- I will try to bring you up to date.

Daughter Christiana is still in the hospital in Ghana.  They had wanted to move her yesterday to a different hospital and begin radiation today, however she began bleeding heavily again and they have put her on oxygen.  Surgery will not be done because she would begin swelling.  We truly do not understand what is going on at this point.  Everyone is very upset and concerned.

Yesterday, as you know, was Halloween.   I had told the children about it last week because it is not celebrated here in Liberia.  They thought it was very interesting and reminded me that it was October 31st.  I had already remembered while I was at the market and bought enough biscuit cookies to share with all in he immediate neighborhood.  They like the tradition but thought it was very silly to dress up in funny clothes in order to get a sweet treat.

Timothy has been working at the church the past few days helping to get all the finishing touches on the church and new addition before the dedication on Sunday.  Last Sunday the pastor was lamenting on how everyone that she invited to preach the dedication service was not able to do so.  Then, unbeknownst to her, she was told that I was an Elder in the United Methodist Church.  She asled me from the pulpit if I would be willing to preach the dedication sermon this coming Sunday.  When you are asked from the pulpit, there is only one answer - "Yes, I would be delighted."  The wonderful thing is that I really like her and she is a woman after my heart.  She admits to "making lots of noise" to ge a job done, but will appologize afterwards.  She says it like it is and doesn't beat around the bush.  Very refreshing indeed!

The boys have been very busy on the house.  Jonathan was working on the other bathroom and realized that the plumbing was not correct for the drains.  As he began digging up the floor to find the problem, he ran into even more.  By the time we were done, he had to run an entire new drain line for the tub, stool and lavatory for the old one was not sealed and drained into the foundation under the house.  It is now all connected to the septic system now.  When they uncovered the mess, the cockroaches were everywhere.  Ugly, ugly two inch long creatures running all over the place,  We had bug spray and slippers in hand as we launched an attack on them.  There must have been 4 of us going in every direction as we chased them down.  Even Grandson Luther was pointing them out to us in his 2 year old babble.  Joathan has proven himself not only to be an excellent mason, but a plumber as well.  He is such a hard worker and takes pride in a job well done.

Son Jackie has had a bit more success.  He has the ceiling done in the storeroom and the shelves up.  The only problem he ran into was that the door that he ordered was about 5 inches too short.  He is getting that replaced today.  He also hung the wires for my curtains in the bedroom.  When I get my camera back from Son Adolphus, I will post some pictures.

Granddaughter Candy Girl (7) has been ill with malaria and worms.  She is having quite the time getting everyone to bend to her every desire.  However, she doesn't like to take her medicine and will vomit everytime.  So - Grandma to the rescue, went to the supermarket and paid plenty for the individual cups of applesauce.  I mashed up her meds and mixed them in;  down the hatch they went with no problem.  She was still home from school today, I don't know if she has taken her meds today or not.  We shall see.

Life is falling in to a sense of routine.  It seems strange that we are not returning home after a short stay.  Rolf  loves lying on the porch and soaking  up the sun.  The heat doesn't seem to affect him at all.  Jonathan took him to his house on Sunday for the day and was quite the neighborhood attraction.  The children here love to take him for walks and play with him.  The other dog, Survivor, likes to bite his neck and ears, so we have to be very careful to keep them apart.

It has been fun opening the boxes and starting to sort through things that we shipped.  When the pantry is finished, there is a lot to store for the kitchen.  It will be wonderful to have everything for the kitchen in one place and not scattered all over the house in different rooms.  We will get organized sometime, I just don't know when, but it really doesn't matter as long as we do a little something each day

I visited the Methodist Compound where I lived as a misionary.  Two of my favorite staff people were working outside the walls and didn't see me come in.  When security called Mr Brown on the phone for me, I asked him where he was.  That I was there to see him and he wasn't around so I was with security until he would come.  He said that he would be back very soon.  When he arrived at the Compound  and saw me he said,"ah ha, I knew it must be you.  I didn't make you out on the phone, but soon figured out there was only one person who gave me a hard time and it had to be you."  We had a nice visit.

I also was able to located my mechanic, Thompson, and am thrilled that he is still around working hard.  He remembered me and will be happy to take care of my vehicle for me.  He was the only one I would trust to work on my cars.  He would travel to where I was if we had a breakdown to repair my car. 

Enough for today, it is time to go and take down the laundry for it will be getting dark soon.

Love to all,
Timothy and Anne

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday 10/25/2011

Good Afternoon
Many of you have asked for pictures, so I will begin to add some to the blogs.  So far it has taken me at least a half hour to add this one, but I am sure as I become more adept it will not take as long.
This is  picture of our home.  In the very front is "my porch" off our bedroom.  You can also see the front porch that leads into the living area and behind that is the car port.  My intent is to take them from various angle so you can get an idea of the size of the house.

At the present time I am on "my porch" observing the goings on around me.  Grandson Koyo is home from school and reluctantly getting water for the house.  To my left, a young man is climbing the coconut palm barefoot with a machete in his moutn and cutting down several coconuts.  They fall to the gound with quite a thud.   Daughter Patient is in the kitchen cooking groundpea soup for supper, Timothy is taking a nap because he had no place to go today. 
 Son Jonathan is out purchasing tile, cement, and a commode to work on the second bathroom so it will be in a decent condition for guests.  It was deplorable and I didn't even want the children using it.  Jonathan and his helpers took a sledge hammer to it a couple of days ago knocking down the old bathtub, tile and flooring.  Tomorrow they will finish the walls, add new tile, rebuild the bathtub, lay floor tile and install a new commode.  The entire remodeling will cost about $500.00 USD.  Yesterday he did his part of the work on the pantry.  I found that kitchen supplies were stored all over the house and no one special place.  Since Timothy had a small room that was designed as a half bath that was never finished we decided to turn it into a pantry.  Jonathan finished all the walls and floor yesterday.  Today, Son Jackie who is the carpenter has been gathering the supplies to put up shelving and add a door.  When he is finished, Jonathan will take leftover floor tile from the bathroom and finish the floor.  After it is whitewashed, it will be finished and ready to receive the dishes, cooking pans, and other items.  How wonderful to be able to go to one place for everything pertaining to the kitchen.  Last night,I introduced Patient to hot pads in the kitchen.  They either use their bare hands or a towel to remove pans fron the heat.  She thought the hot pads were really nice.  We laughed that someday we might have a real American kitchen.

Koyo just brought me fresh coconut from the trees.  He likes the coconut milk and I like the coconut meat so we shared.  Rolf decided that he liked coconut meat as well.  Koyo also brought $200.00 Liberian dollars from the boy who was cutting the coconuts.  That is not quite $3.00 USD but will almost be enough to buy Koyo the sandals he has been eyeing for the past week.  I told him if he countinued to help without being told, I would buy them for him by the end of the month.  A Liberian form of allowance.

Last night I fixed spaghetti sauce for supper and we put it over rice.  The ground beef was $7.00 for 2 pounds, green pepper $1.75, onion 3 small ones for $1.00, 2 cans diced tomatoes at $1.00 a can and regular sauce for $2.75 a jar.  I added garlic salt and basil to it along with some hot Liberian pepper for seasoning.  The children all loved it and of course want me to fix it again.  It will be a meal saved for special occasions, maybe for Thanksgiving.  I understand they also like regular spaghetti pasta and haved learned that it is fixed with cucumbers, onion and Miracle Whip.

At the same time we were shopping at the supermarket, Timothy wanted a new weed whip to cut the grass here at the house.  A weed whip is similar to a machette but the tip is longer and curves out at an angle.  Sort of like an L shape.  It has a wooden handle like a knife and is swung to cut the grass and weeds.  A Liberian lawn mower.  I was concerned about the price, but was amazed to find the price was only $2.50. 

Sunday several of the grandchildren were here and it was a bit chaotic.  I can handle one or two at a time but not an entire house full.  Sunday night everyone was gone and the days have been peacefilled ever since.  We continue to gather for the story time each evening.  Last night it was Hansel and Gretel and tonight is Aladden and the Magic Lamp.  They have caught on that there is either a wicked step mother or wicked witch in each story.  This time also helps them to understand my English as I begin to develop my ear for their English as well.

Day is drawing to a close, evening meals are being prepared, children are coming home from school in their different uniforms and others are coming home from work.  Soon supper will be eaten , baths taken and the sun goes down on another day.

Peace and joy,

Timothy and Anne

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday 10/22/2011

Good afternoon,
It is a typical Saturday just like in Indiana. 
I have done the laundry and it is drying on the clothesline in the carport.
The room has been tidied up and swept for the day - well until before I go to bed.  I cannot stand to walk on the sand that is carried in when I have bare feet and I certainly do not want to carry it into the bed with me.

The boys, Jonathan, Jackie, and grandson, Koyo have been cutting the grass around the house with a whipper.  I tried to go out and show them how long to leave it so they wouldn't cut it clear off into the ground.  That was a great laugh for all since I couldn't get the swing down right and kept cutting the air.

We have had visitors today, family members and friends have been stopping by to greet us.  It is quite different here.  They will come and stay for several hours.  Conversation comes and goes and most of it is in dialect or Liberian English.  I have difficulty being still for all that time so am generally up and down several times.

I helped daughter Patient, fix lunch/dinner.  Bitter ball, pepper, fish and chicken feet in a soup over rice.  I ate the soup without the fish and chicken fish and then came and got peanut butter and bread.  That has become my staple food when the Liberian diet is more than I can handle.

Seven of the grandchildren are here and they continue to "Grandma, Grandma" me.  I can retreat to the porch for awhile and they will entertain themselves.  Darlington's arm is healing much better and he is beginning to bend it more.  He broke it last year and it was not set properly.  When we were here in February it had an ugly infection that has since cleared up.  His brother, Roosevelt "Teddy", and sister, Annie, are here to visit overnight.  Candy Girl stays here most of the time and when it is just her, we have a great time together.  However, when she is with a group of others, she tends to try our patience. 

Grandson Koyo (15 years) is watching our seeds closely.  He brings the containers in at night and puts them out each morning and makes sure that they are watered.  The herbs are beginning to grow, but the tomatoes have yet to poke trough the ground.  I promised him that next week we would plant flower seeds at the front of the house.  They will be protected enough from the hot sun that they should grow well.  Nice hardy annuals like marigolds and zinnias.  I also have some tall sunflower seeds to plant.  They should cause some comment in the community.   They are getting used to this strange American lady and her ways.

I talked to our carpenter son, Jackie today about adding shelves to the room that we will use as a pantry.  We are accumulating several kitchen items and need one place to keep them rather than putting them in sleeping rooms.  He will put ceiling tile up, shelving, and a door.  Then everything will be in one place.

The shipping boxes are all stacked in our bathroom and I have been slowly unpacking them, sorting and repacking some of the items.  Today I found the box with all the hangers in it so we can begin to hang our clothes in the wardrobe on the rods that son Jonathan put in for us.  Slowly, very slowly, this will become home.

We have received no word today from Ghana about daughter Chris so we figure things are about the same.  Since the season is beginning to change here and the cooler winds come in at night (it may get down to mid-70's) people are getting colds and not feeling well.  Personally I like the cooler nights and can cover up with a sheet.  Once in awhile, I do pull up the quilt for a little more.

As I write, we can hear the traffic up and down the road and pick-ups with  loudspeakers proclaiming their candidates for the run-off election to be held in November.  The election on the 11th was like our May election where you will declare your party affiliation and vote for only those on your party ballot.  Then in the runn-off election, it is like our November election where you can vote for any candidate of your choice among the top votegetters from the earlier election.

Today I wear my Western Marching Panther Pride t-shirt to honor my Grandson, Riley who is competing in the Indiana State Marching Band Semi-finals.  They will be performing in a couple of hours and I may even stay up late to view the post to see that they have won another gold medal to go onto the Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Love and hugs to all.
Anne and Timothy

Friday, October 21, 2011


Good afternoon.
It is about 80 degrees out and a storm is brewing.  The black clouds are rolling in the we can hear the thunder rumbling around us.  We are out on the porch with Little Luther (3 years) and Rolf.  Both of them are down for much needed naps.  Rolf is upset because Luther has one of his blankets.  Rolf keeps sneaking over to remove it and carry to where he is.  Koyo and Candy Girl just came home from school and Patience will not be far behind. 

Yesterday we called the shipping company about the 4 boxes that were to come in.  When we arrived, not only were there 4 boxes but all the other boxes that we have sent.  It took three trips in the car to get them all home.  Now it is a matter of sorting though them gleaning what we are able to use now and what we must save for later.

Rolf is really getting into this diet change.  Last night we had bitter ball soup with chicken legs and feet (ugh) and some fish.  He wolfed that down and this morning he was eating orange seeds.  Timothy is giving him a orange now to eat.  He has decided that is yummy as well.

Last night the children were sitting on the porch and when I went out they were climbing all over my lap.  I got my Kindle and read them a fairy tale.  By the time I was finished children and youth from the neighborhood were there listening.  They were so engrossed that I will now be reading a story each night to them.  Somewhere in my books is a children's bible story book.  That will be my next source of reading material for them.  Learning all their names is a tough one, but as they are around, it will be easier to remember them.

As for comments you might want to leave or questions you may want to ask.  At the end of each blog is a place that reads "Comments" and the number posted.  If you click on that, it will direct you to a page that reads at the bottom "Post Comment".  There you may do so and I will be able to read them.

The rain has begun, the babies are asleep, and all is well in Liberia.

Peace and joy,

Anne and Timothy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday 10/20/11

Good morning.
Another hot and steamy day today.  We are waiting for our neighbor to finish her laundry so we can borrow her laundry tub to do ours.  Laundry must be done everyday or it builds up and can really wear you down trying to keep up.

Timothy went to his finance/marketing class yesterday.  He left at 10:30 am and got home about 7:30 pm.  His class runs from 1-4 p m.  That is how difficult it is to get around in the traffic or to find a taxi or bus to make your way home.

I stayed at home sorting, sorting, and more sorting.  As we have discovered items we have shipped and set them aside, somehow they got repacked and we are not able to locate them.  In time, it will all work out.

Little man Luther is a mischevious 3 year old who, when he does something he is not to be doing, looks up at you and just grins from ear to ear when he is corrected.  It can annoy me greatly as he knows exactly what he is doing.  It can be comical at times, but not always.

Zayzay stopped by yesterday to tell me more about his work as an agricultural specialist.  He is helping farmers set up bee hives as the time has come for them to colonize.  They will not move during rainy season (who can blame them) but now that it is drying out, they are starting to come together.  Some of the farmers who started with a few hives are now wanting to add more.  Zayzay will give them the hive, set it up, and give them a bee suit.  After they harvest their first crop of honey and sell it to us, we will deduct the cost of the startup from their money.  The same is being done with the irrigation system, seeds, fertilizer and pesticides.  In a few years time, they will become very productive.  We are very postive about the future of these projects.  Incidentally, Mozart from UMCOR is working with Zayzay on these sustainable agriculture projects.  I am trying to find out if any of the Pine Creek Cluster money has been used for this project.

Koyo finally went back to school today and has not returned to the house this morning.  I gave him money for a new uniform shirt so that he would not be put out again.  He told me yesterday that he wants to be an electrician when he finishes school.  It would be very nice to have an electrician in the family to add to our carpenter and mason.  He has taken his responsibility for the seeds very seriously - at least for the past 2 days.

Candy Girl (Jeff's daughter) comes everyday after school and greets me.  I try to save her some bread to eat because like any other child she is very hungry.  We talk about her day and she plays with Rolf.  I want to start working with the flash cards with her on math facts.

My namesake, Annie Seedee, came by on Tuesday to see me after school.   She went home telling her mother about Rolf,  They both came last night to visit.  When she is here, she is very shy but in time I know she will talk to the point I will want her to stop.  They ate with us, pumpkin soup (butternut squash)  with chicken on rice.  Delicious!  Rolf really liked it as well and ate his first Liberian food with much relish.

Please continue to pray for Chris.  She called today.  She needed blood transfusions, but when they tried to give them, they were not able to get the iv going for the transfusion.  They have been giving her injections to raise her blood production level.   She cannot undergo surgery until she gets built up.  The Doctors have run more test and it will be 3 weeks before they have the results.  Meanwhile, they are sending her home from the hospital once again.  Our fear is that her health has deteriorated to the point that surgery is not going to be possibility and they will make her comfortable.  Timothy is beginning to understand and the Doctors were attempting to comfort Chris.  It is heartbreaking.

Take care my friends.
Anne and Timothy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 2

Greetings from sunny WARM Liberia.
The temperature was a balmy 85 degrees today with a slight breeze.  It was a wonderful day to do laundry, so I did just that.  Alphonso was home from school because they were putting new zinc on the roof, so he helped me.  I am going to have to toughen up a little bacause I rubbed blisters on my knuckles scrubbing the clothes.  Did you know that red cooking oil does not come out of clothes easily?  From now on we will wear bibs when eating it.  However, the greens were really tasty.

I found the tomato and herb seeds that I had sent over, so Alphonso and I planted them.  He wanted to take the responsibility for bringing them in at night and watering them daily.  When I got up this morning, I found that he had already done it.  It is difficult to find things that he is interested in doing.  His desire is not to go to school and he will find all kinds of reasons not to go.  However, he may learn that school is better than working hard all day.

Son Jonathon worked on putting up rods in the closet today.  One long rod across the top of the closet and another shorter one half way down.  Then, Timothy can hang his shirts and pants in half the space that they would take if we only had one rod.  Jonathon worked very hard and has now started working on the second bathroom so it will be suitable for guests.  There is so much to be done, however, we are taking it one day at a time.

Timothy purchased a car so he would have transportation rather than take public transportation all the time.  Jeff loaned it to a friend who in turn had an accident.  The car is now totaled, money has to be paid to the woman for the damage to her car, the friend is not to be found, and Jeff is working to pay the debt.    Hopefully he has paid enough of the debt that he can get the car released from the police station and sell it for scrap to give him enough money to clear the debt.  One good thing to come of this is that we do have license plates in hand to go on the Rav 4. It has been a hard lesson for the two of them to learn and they both are embarrassed about telling me what happened.  Why was I not surprised?

Today Timothy has gone to his classes at LEAD, the children are in school, and I am here at the house.  I want to go through some more things and maybe work on something like my socks or needlework.  It is warm but there is a slight breeze to keep you cool.

Rolf is adjusting slowly.  He has made friends with Survivor (the other dog in the house) and tried Liberian food.  It did not set well on his stomach so we will work to wean him to it little bit by little bit.  People come by the house to see him and are afraid because of his color and his size.  It is interesting to watch their reactions.

That is all for today, love and hugs to all.
Anne and Timothy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We have arrived

The computer is still giving me trouble as this is the third time I have tried to post to the blog.

We arrived Sunday afternoon, tired but safe and sound.  Poor Rolf mananged to chew through his travel case and could not wait to be released to do his doggie duty after all that time.  He does not like flying but loved looking and smelling everything on the trip to the house.
He is  quite the celebrity here.  The comments range from "he is so short and so long"," that is all the bigger he is going to get?" and "he is so shiny".  The boys like to take him for walks around the area.

We slept the clock around and woke fairly refreshed.

Our day Monday was filled by traveling into town (3 hours round  trip travel time) for a bit of shopping for groceries and other necessities for the house.  I can see now that I will probably go only once a week and do everything at one time.

We also spent some time emptying the boxes that I had shipped early for Timothy.   We sorted and then repacked some of them.  We found the towels, sheets and other things I had sent ahead.  We are living out of one room at the present time, however, I hope that that cease pretty soon.

Today Jonathon is putting up our clothes rod in the closet.  Then we will be able to empty the suitcases and hang some things up.  That will certainly create some needed space in our room.

Chris is having her surgery today in Ghana and Blamoh has been good about keeping us informed about her treatment.  We are continuing to be optomistic.  The Doctors in Ghana did rule out AIDS.  The cancer caused her blood readings to appear to be AIDS but it is not.  For this, we thank God!

There is much to so and we are beginning to prioritize our needs, finances and time to accomodate this adjustment.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers and we will continually do the same for you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Safe arrival

Mom and Rolf arrived safely!
Mom called this afternoon to let me know that she and Rolf arrived safely.  As soon as the internet is functioning again, she will post an update and fill everyone in on all the excitement of the travel!
I was glad to hear from her! :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Good morning - Saturday 10/15

After a fitful night of "sleeping", Alan woke me up to give me a hug and good wishes.  Riley followed later as they left at the wee hours of 4:30 am for the Marching Band Regionals being held at Chersterton today.  It is hard to realize that this day has finally arrived after months of planning and preparation.

Soon Kelly and Bob will take us to the airport to begin the journey across the ocean to our new home in Liberia.

Many thanks to all of you who have been praying for us.  We will continue to pray for you and ask that you continue to pray for us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ready to go

Rolf has had his bath, Timothy has been notified of the time we will arrive and Kelly/Bob are here to take me to the airport tomorrow.  It has been quite an experience this year in preparing to retire, moving out of the Ambia house, taking the car to Minnesota, and moving in with Alan/Lisa/Riley for 3 1/2 months.
The time with my family has been such a blessing,  There has been an opportunity to spend more than just a few hours visiting.  Brother Bob and his wife, Suzanne, live in Texas.  They came up during Labor Day and we traveled to Michigan to see Sister Marcia and her husband, Clem.  What fun to visit with them and re-establish a relationship again.
Now, the time has come to travel back to Liberia.  Timothy is excited for us to arrive and has talked about the caravan that is traveling to the airport to receive us.  Details have included brushing the grass around the house, getting the food prepared to my liking and his attire to greet us.
Rolf is not sure what is going on, but must remember about packing up the house to move here, for he is very nervous about what is going on.  He hates the carrier that he must travel in and will probably despise the diapers he will have to wear even more.  I have packed his blanket, favorite toy, treats, food and water cups to try to keep him as comfortable as possible.  He does get to travel in the cabin with me as carry-on luggage.
So much for the details of preparation and now it is time to continue the adventure.  Stay tuned for more adventures.


Test Post This should be an interesting blog to watch.