Thursday, June 26, 2008

Let The Games Begin

We are playing games here in Liberia. Almost daily, we head out to the play yard in the late afternoon to play games with the children. Games such as "Duck, Duck, Juice." It is difficult for some of the kids to remember that it is "Duck, Duck, Goose" when they have never seen a goose.
We play "football" (soccer) with two coaches who head for the ibuprofen after our games (Dave and Tarry Nelson). Babs is the referee because she has the big whistle. Our teams are The Gorillas vs.The Crocodiles.
We play "Red Rover", "Follow the Leader" (Dave is the most fun leader), and run races around obstacles.
We also tried to play "Animal Upset" (a variation of "Fruit Basket Upset") but some people have had a difficult time understanding the concept of running through the circle to the opposite side instead of all over the play yard. Maybe next time we play that game, it will work better.
As the older children are on a school vacation, they have been meeting Babs in the dining hall after breakfast for some "Alphabet Bingo," Bible Cards (a matching game), and matching letters. Also doing some phonics work.
Dave hopes to teach some of the older kids how to play checkers this weekend. He is a good teacher who makes one work for the win. Just ask Jill.
So lately, games have been a large part of our life. Hope to someday teach someone here how to play "Rook", our favorite game!
Have a fabulous day!
Dave and Babs

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lessons From Liberia

Here are a few things we have learned so far, after one month at the Rafiki Village Liberia:
---You cannot kill a medium-sized spider with a screwdriver.
---When the ground is covered with ants, keep moving.
---Two year old children have attitudes no matter what country they live in.
---Palm Springs, Liberia, ain't nothing like Palm Springs, California!
---When you are clueless as to what is being said to you, even though it is supposedly English, just smile.
---In the rainy season, always have an umbrella handy.
---When you haven't had sweets in ten days, you slowly savor one M&M at a time.
---Do not get in the way of a three year old and his car.
---It is difficult to distract ten children waiting outside a medical clinic for their turn for an "injection" (immunization) while the eleventh child is inside the room, and not happy with the situation.
---Walking next to a child holding an umbrella without getting poked in the eye is a challenge.
---Screaming at a large spider (make that an XL spider!) does not make it disappear.
---Percocet helps one sleep at night (just kidding!). Being exhausted helps one sleep at night!
---Benjamin's laugh makes everyone laugh.
---God is good...all the time.
Wishing all a fabulous day!
Dave & Babs

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Gecko Named Nuisance!

Starting to get to know the native staff workers here on the Rafiki compound. Last week, I was introduced to a guard whose name was Honest. I was kind of hoping for 'Bruno,' 'Hefty' or 'Bubba,' but 'Honest' is a good name for a guard, too. Later I discovered that his name was really Earnest! This was after several days of calling the fella 'Honest!' As you can tell, I do not understand what the locals are saying much of the time. 'Earnest' is a good name for a guard, too, but in my head he will always be 'Honest.'

I do enjoy the names of people. There is a child here named Anna Blessing; the laundry gal is named Comfort; Sunday is a groundskeeper; Patience is a hospital administrator; two children being considered for placement here are named Hope and Grace (not sisters). I think this is a wonderful idea! Maybe if in the States people would stop naming children after actresses and entertainers (who usually have questionable lifestyles!) and consider naming their kids after the Fruits of the Spirit, well, maybe children would have something to live up to! Just a random thought...

Here is a picture of the school children in front of the flagpole. They begin each day at the flagpole (unless it is raining) with the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, Lord's Prayer, and a hymn. Nice way to begin school. Then they line up and walk to the classroom. The teacher is Joanne Colvin, who also is the Village Director here in Liberia. She has a wonderfully decorated room with many books and is teaching the kids basics, like numbers and the alphabet. The children like school, and are learning how to listen and obey. For most of them, this is their first experience with school, so every behavior has to be taught.

The kids are afraid of geckos! I am feeling pretty good about myself, as this is about the only thing in Africa that I am not afraid of! Probably because of those commercials on TV with the talking gecko selling the insurance. He seems so friendly! Now don't get me wrong...I will not TOUCH a gecko, but at least I don't hyperventilate when I see one. Anyways, there are geckos sometimes in the children's bathrooms at school, and that can be very disruptive. Eight kids freaking out!

Well, that is all for today.
Wishing all who read this a fabulous day.

Sneaky Snake

Hi All,
Well, I can go home now.  (Not really).  Today I experienced something that I had heard about but never thought I'd see.  Babs has been in the fetal position for about 5 hrs. now because she experienced it also.  The director was screaming (oops.  no, directors don't scream).  She was asking Tarry and I "what is it with men and their cameras, get away from that snake."

Tarry, our next door neighbor was asked by his cleaning girl who washes his car when she has time, to move his pickup out in the driveway and she would wash it.  Tarry goes outside and gets in the pickup, looks up, and a Cobra is wrapped around the antenna striking at him through the windshield.  He then phones me from inside his what am I going to do, except get my camera?  It was a feisty little guy, about 12" long.  Whenever we got close to him, he would rear up and make these lunging moves toward us.

We, being in our shorts and tee shirts (not the official Rafiki snake gear) decided to call the paid guards to come and dispatch the snake.  They were not all that keen on messing with it either.  Matter of fact, if the women would not have been out there by then, I think they may have turned and walked.  They got a stick and put and end to the excitement.

As this was all unfolding, SanJay (the house cleaner) and Babs were huddled together 50-60 yards away consoling each other.  Some women just don't like doesn't matter what color their skin is.

See ya later,