Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Today is Flag Day in Liberia. Actually, it was really yesterday, Sunday, August 24. However, as the holiday landed on a Sunday, today, Monday, the 25th of August, is the celebrated day. The president requested all institutions and schools to observe the holiday with a program, so at 8:30 am we all gathered at the flag pole. Even though there was no school today, the children arrived wearing their school uniforms. They look so good in their uniforms; so neat and tidy and orderly. Uniforms can be very deceiving!
The kids all wanted to stand in front of us and we were feeling rather loved, until we realized that they just wanted to get out of the sun and stand in our shadows! So much for that warm, fuzzy feeling of being loved!
All national employees working today were also invited to the Flag Day program. We said the Liberian Pledge of Allegiance (very close to ours in the States); sang the official flag song (yes, there is an official flag song); and then we sang the national anthemn (nothing like ours!). Prayers for unity in Liberia were offered by some of the children and staff. We ended by singing the first verse of the national anthemn again. A nice little celebration, all in all.
The mommas took the older children on a walk to the beach this afternoon. The beach is about a half a mile from the Village. That was a special treat, a walk to the beach! This evening, to finish the special day, sardine sandwiches were served for supper. Babs did not care to sample the cuisine, but Dave really wanted to taste a sandwich. He asked Martha the cook for the recipe. Guess we will be having sardine sandwiches some evening...well, maybe one of us will just have a nice salad while the other one scarfs sardines.
Wishing you a Happy Flag Day, too!
Dave and Babs Veneman

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bugs in Liberia...

Well, we are learning that things are different here in Africa. Back in California, butterflies are happy little creatures, flitting blissfully from flower to flower. Here, the butterflies are scary, the praying mantis's look like they have been taking steroids, and the beetles have claws and seem rather aggressive!
The butterfly in the picture was hanging out around a neighbor's front door. I guess the snakes on it's back are part of it's natural security system, as it's predators will think it is a snake and leave it alone. Worked for me; I left it alone! I do feel rather badly for the butterfly, though. How sad to go through life with bad tattoos, just for protection. Just doesn't seem fair. Even the life of a butterfly is hard here.
The bodies of the African praying mantis are about 6 inches long. Add the length of their spindly legs to that number, and you have a formidable bug. Not a big fan of any bug, but large, formidable ones kind of creep me out!
Which reminds me of the beetle that stalked me yesterday morning. It was waiting for me in the dining hall. As I walked around unlocking doors, it followed me. No matter where I walked in the large dining hall, he was scurrying toward me. I would walk behind him (wa-a-ay behind him) and he would turn around and head right toward me again. Creepy! Straight out of a Stephen King movie. All I can figure is that the fella' could sense fear, and knew it was a sign of weakness. He was going for the big kill! Man, I do not need to end up as a trophy on some beetle's rec room wall! And people wonder why I walk around with a can of bug spray!
Wishing all who read this a wonderful, bug-free day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Hi, Friends.
Liberia is a interesting place, especially if you think you have a good handle on the English language. As folks who have always maintained that words mean something, the sayings we read throughout this country make us wonder about that truth. Many times we have scratched our heads, looked at each other in confusion and said "What does THAT mean?"
It is the custom to write a statement about life on your taxi....or maybe after too much happy juice, it seemed like a good idea to make a public statement! Either way, we are enjoying reading bumpers here in Africa! Makes driving much more an adventure. And we are re-thinking our earlier stance....maybe words really don't mean anything at all!
Wishing all who read this a fabulous day! And remember: A Wacted Pot Never Boil!
Dave & Babs
(click directly on each photo in order to view them bigger)