Saturday, December 26, 2009

Traveling Road Show

Even though Christmas 2009 is officially past, we thought you might enjoy the adventures of the Traveling Christmas Pageant Troupe:

The children had been practicing a Christmas play about Jesus' birthday. They learned their lines well, and memorized the verses to several songs. They attended rehearsals and subjected themselves to costume fittings. Finally, they were ready to share their Christmas production with the world!


There are two villages near our site, and a few days before Christmas, we took our show on the road! We gathered up the shepherds, the wise men, townspeople, angelic hosts, and the holy family, and went to share the Good News with our neighbors. First stop, Zorkpah Town, where we performed under a large mango tree. The performance went well, except for one minor glitch when one of the shepherds refused to kneel before the baby Jesus after his staff was confiscated due to improper staff usage. This shepherd had a little discussion with the village director on the way to our next performance arena, and he willingly adjusted his behavior, and later even got his staff returned.


Our second performance was at Boy'sTown, where we were ushered into a large hut that was the main meeting hall for the village. It was very warm in the hut, but we were acting professionals, and the show must go on! The children gave another fine rendition of the first Christmas Night, and the audience was appreciative.



Our last stop on our tour was the orphanage down the road from us. We performed for about thirty children and ten adults. Once again, the show was flawless, although one of the angels was rather distracted by the water tower's wind mill. And then we sang Christmas songs on the way back home. It was a fun afternoon, and we hope God was glorified by His little traveling troupe of Christmas actors.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joy to the World!

The older girls have the privilege of helping in the kitchen/dining hall after the noon meal. Today, Patience was wiping tables and sweeping the floor. And while she was doing her chores, the wrapped presents were placed under the tree. Patience no longer was just sweeping the floor, but she was dancing while sweeping! What fun to see the excitement of a child who has never before experienced a Christmas such as this one! Patience has never had a Christmas tree, nor a wrapped present. She quickly identified a package with her name on it, and that is when the "dance sweeping" began.

Sometimes, in the middle of the mundane things that need to be done to keep this place running smoothly, one loses sight of what we are doing here. And then Patience sees her Christmas gift, and begins to dance and sweep and sing. And we remember that we are here at God's request, to help children live His grace.

We wish all of you a wonderful, blessed Christmas, and it is our prayer that you, too, experience the joy of the abundant life in Christ.

Happy Christmas!
Dave & Babs

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shopping With Melvin

I love taking our social worker into the interior with us to investigate leads on children because Melvin is a shopper!  I am a little retail-deprived here in Liberia. I am married to someone who rates shopping right up there with getting a root canal, and so it is difficult to get Dave to stop at shops that look interesting. 

But Dave stops for Melvin! On our last trip to Buchanan with Melvin, we made several stops on the way home, so Melvin could load up with goodies.

We stopped at the crawdad boys. Melvin was not impressed, because the crawdads in the basket were not as large as the ones they were waving about to get our attention as we drove past. Melvin did not buy any crawdads, and chastised the crawdad boys for false advertising.

We stopped at the fella' holding the large grouper. It was a beautiful fish, probably 8 pounds or so. The guy wanted $5 U.S.  Melvin said that was way too much..."drive on, Dave."

We stopped at the guy holding a large ugly creature by the tail. It was an armadillo, except the Liberians call it an "ant bear". Melvin said this is a delicious animal to eat; kept saying the meat is "sweet", whatever that means! And it would make great soup or barbecue. But Melvin did not buy the ant bear, as the man was charging twice as much as Melvin thought it was worth.  That is a problem Melvin has when he is with us...because of the color of our skin, all prices go up!

We stopped at a market where a man wanted to sell a live fawn. It was so cute, and Melvin told me that it would make a great pet. If the guy had been selling a Black Lab, I would have gone for it, but I have a hard time seeing me playing fetch with Bambi. And do deer bark at strangers? I don't think so.
(Dave and Melvin take some time out from shopping to tinker under the hood)

Melvin bought two bags of coal, as the price is much better on coal the farther away from Monrovia one gets. And Melvin had Dave stop at the sugar cane stand, so he could bring sugar cane stalks home to his kids as a treat. Another stop for cassava, and yet another stop for cucumbers.  By the time we got Melvin home, he had coal and food for his family and neighbors. What a great shopping adventure!

Wishing you all a great day at the mall!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

With Fond Memories of Vella's Fruit Stand

Well, I guess the fruit stands in the California Central Valley have pretty much closed for the winter.  It is always a little sad when the last stand stashes the empty lug boxes for the season and shuts the doors against the rain and fog. However, here, in Liberia, the fruit stands never close!  The growing season is never over and the fruit stands stay open all year round.

When we drive inland, fruit stands are a regular part of the scenery. They are small "Mom and Pop" stands, owned and operated by people who live near the main roads. Most homes offer something for sale along the side of the road. Often, only one type of produce is available per stand, and often, there is not much of that item. Mostly, it is whatever is leftover from the garden/orchard after the family eats. Sometimes, there will be a pile of cassava, or a little pyramid of cucumbers. The neighbor's stand might have two pineapples on the table, and the neighbor across the road might be offering a pile of palm nuts or a bunch of bananas. Down the road, there might be three papaya , with some sugar cane.
We often stop on our jaunts into the interior for bananas and pineapples and watermelon. It would be difficult to find fresher fruit at a California fruit stand, although more variety per stand would be nice. There are some things that are impossible to find at these family stands, like tomatoes and navel oranges and lettuce and nuts. But then, mangoes, edo, and coconuts are not regularly found at the roadside stands in Modesto, either, so I guess it all evens out!  
Customer service is a big thing, for as soon as the car stops, produce is pushed through the open window, with the salesperson loudly stating the price. One can buy all the produce offered by the road without ever leaving the car. It is sort of "drive by shopping." If more than one fruit stand is in the vicinity, the car will be mobbed with people from every stand, hawking their wares. It is not a shopping experience for the timid!

But even as convenient as it is to get fresh fruit here from the roadside stands, no one offers a cup of coffee and a fresh-baked goodie from the bakery. Oh, I miss Vella's Fruit Stand. That place is a Modesto treasure!

Anyways, here's wishing you happy banana shopping!