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