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.