Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun and Games

We have had a busy, busy week here. The children are on school break, so different activities were planned every morning to keep little hands busy (and also to prevent mommas from going crazy!) 

Some of the fun stuff we did was finger painting, beach volleyball, play dough art, water games, and drawing lessons. One morning, the boys flew kites on the beach. Another day, we began our fun with a rousing game of kickball.
We also tried our hand (or rather, feet) at some line dancing. It was a busy week which everyone enjoyed. At closing ceremonies on Friday, the kids received an official "Certificate of Completion" as they had participated in all activities with great enthusiasm, laughter, and good spirits.
It is Saturday today. We are and adults. Thank goodness for weekends!
Dave & Babs

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Stop and Shop"

I miss shopping. I miss meandering through malls, scouting cosmetic counters, ducking into messy changing rooms. I miss the smell of new shoes, the bustle of large department stores, the quaintness of small boutiques. I even miss giant food warehouses. I miss Roseville Galleria, Arden Fair, Stone Ridge in Pleasanton, Walnut Creek shopping, Santana Row....yes, my list goes on and on! There is a large structure going up down the road from us, and I was so hoping it was a mall! I would give anything for an Ann Taylor Loft and a Pottery Barn. But, no. It seems to be something in conjunction with the new brewery being built next door to the village. (sigh) Like the world needs another brewery. Not so! We need a mall!
But what Monrovia does have is a portable market. I like to think of it as "Wheelbarrows R Us". If you own a wheelbarrow, you have unlimited access to customers. Goods are piled high and pushed around from markets to street corners to parking lots. A wheelbarrow store is highly specialized; the ultimate specialty shoppe. There is usually only one type of commodity per "shop." Our favorite purchase from a wheelbarrow store is bread. "Wheelbarrow Bread" is a soft french bread and rather tasty.
Here are some of the products seen being sold from wheelbarrows: tennis shoes, nail polish, fabric, stationery, cassette tapes, pineapples, socks, rice, jewelry, canned sodas, smoked fish, men's golf shirts, coconuts, watches, flip flops, telephone accessories, cornmeal, toddler's clothing, DVDs, blue jeans, stuffed teddy bears, men's skivvies, watermelons, crackers, plastic bowls and buckets, ladies sandals, toothpaste and soap, onions, sugar, women's underwear (kind of a rolling Victoria's Secret!).

Well, until I can find an Anthropology or J.Crew or Target, I will continue to enjoy scouting out the portable markets.
Happy Shopping!

Oh, by the way, the most innovative use for wheelbarrows I have observed is transporting patients to the hospital. Just flop your buddy into the wheelbarrow and push him to the nearest ER! I have also seen patients being discharged from the hospital in wheelbarrows. Hopefully, they were on a lot of Vicodin, as it seemed a rather uncomfortable ride.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Babs at Hope and Restoration Home

Hi All,
Attached is a picture that I took of Babs holding a baby named Surprise.

This past weekend we went on another road trip again. We were asked to visit an orphanage by a social worker that visits a lot of these homes all over Liberia. She had been up there the week before, investigating this particular home because an orphan had been raped and was now pregnant. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare found out that there were people interested in adopting this pregnant girl. The people interested in adopting her were pedophile types that were not interested in this child's well being. Adoptions have been put on hold because of horrible situations like this.

Anyway, when the social worker was there, she noticed this scrawny little kid. The name given him was Surprise. The reason that name was given him was because it was a surprise that he lived; no one thought he would. The father brought him from deep in the bush, and brought him to the lady that was running this place. She refused him because it was obvious that this baby was going to die, and she was afraid of getting in trouble from the authorities. The father then brought the baby to police who in turn took the baby back the this home for care. The lady then accepted the baby because the police now had a report on the child and knew the circumstances.

The "father" who brought Surprise said the mother had died at child birth and there was no one to care for this three week old baby. The lady at the home thinks that the child was much older because he was able to handle the food that she had for him. So now, the social worker saw this child and some sort of bond developed between them. (The little buggers have a way of doing that!) She would like to see this baby at Rafiki, and so would we, so we are working through the process.

Surprise has been in this home since November. The manager there says that Surprise's biggest joy is eating. They say that he eats more than some of the older kids. He has a ways to go to catch up to what his weight should be, but he is giving it a shot!

In the picture you can see Surprise working his magic on Babs. Now there are two women under this little turkey's spell. We will keep you informed how things progress.


Monday, April 6, 2009


In a country where there is no shortage of palm trees, Palm Sunday decorations abounded. Every church we drove past on Sunday was decorated with palm branches, as were grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and private homes! Churches had processionals with the whole congregation waving branches. It was a festive day. We decorated the dining hall with palm branches, too. Our cooks showed us how to braid the palm fronds. Looks great.

This Friday, Good Friday, is a national holiday in Liberia. It is officially called the Day of Fasting and Prayer. Most people will be attending church services Friday afternoon from noon until 3:00pm...the same hours that the sun was darkened while Christ suffered on the cross. It will be a somber day; it is not a celebratory holiday.

The celebration is saved for Easter Sunday. Churches will have longer services, filled with extra singing. Sanctuaries will be decorated with more palm branches and flowers. People will dress in their finest clothing. Choirs will sing many special arrangements they have been practicing for weeks. It will be a glorious day of praise to our wonderful Savior. Sounds like churches here and in the States celebrate the grand event of the Resurrection pretty much the same way!

Wishing you all a blessed, hope-filled Easter celebration.
Alleluia! Jesus has risen indeed!
Dave & Babs