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