Thursday, January 28, 2010

And She Goes On and On and On...

Every once and a while, Babs jots some of her closest friends and family a “little”note that just goes on and on. I thought that I would paste sections from one of her notes on the blog (and add some pictures) so more of you could empathize with those folks that dutifully read these letters and then respond with encouraging words time after time.


Saturday night

Hi, all.

I will start this tonight, knowing that I will have to finish it tomorrow. Probably, as I write this, many of you are attending Frances’ funeral. Thinking about you all today...especially Al and Patty, Noel, and Shea. Frances was a special lady.  

It has been another very busy week. We are in the process of opening up the school to day students. We are going to accept children of employees first, into our kindergarten and new first grade class. We will add a new class every January, and that is how we will grow the school. The children have to fit certain criteria, like know certain things to qualify for kindergarten or first grade (numbers, colors, alphabet, shapes, etc.) so we are in a screening process. This morning we were supposed to interview about 8 children with parents. One child with her older sister showed up. Tomorrow afternoon, we are supposed to see three more children. I suspect we will be seeing the rest of the ones tomorrow, also, who did not show today. Your browser may not support display of this image.  

We received delivery of school uniforms for our kids this week, and then some of the uniforms had to be altered. It is bad when the necks are too small for the heads to get through the jumpers, and arm holes are too snug! We changed tailors again…third time: first guy could not deliver anything on time EVER, and the second guy delivered early, but his workmanship stunk! This last tailor delivered on time, and mostly his workmanship was good. Just need to get the neck holes and arm holes a little larger! 

Also, we recently received a delivery of school furniture for the new first grade class. Some of the desks rock 'n' roll a bit, and the tops of a couple of them are quite friendly (they wave), but all in all, for what craftsmanship is available here, it is good stuff.  Today, white boards and bulletins boards were delivered. The rooms are looking great.  

We do have a teacher problem. Like we do not have enough teachers! Miss Roberts retired after the December term was finished. So we have Ms. Rennie, a national teacher, and Julie McKeighen, our educational director. That is it for four classes right now. There is a fella who has applied that looks quite promising, but he needs to find a copy of his teaching degree. The war really messed up records here. Many records were destroyed. He thinks there might be a copy of his degree at his old homestead in Kakata (three hours away from here). Of course, he is not working, so he does not have income for a taxi to get to Kakata...

Anyways, I will be teaching the pre-kindergarten class for two hours every day this week. Hopefully, by the end of the week, another teacher will be in the works, and I can slip out of that role. It has been fun setting up the room, and getting materials organized, copying worksheets for the kids, planning learning activities...yeah, I know...I should have been a grade school teacher! So that is fun; however, I really do not have the time for this! There is a huge possibility that we might receive another child next week. And that takes a lot of time. I have to prep the mother, and dig up clothes, towels, bedding, shoes, etc., and then have to watch him for medical issues and just be around close by, as he adjusts to life here. And then of course, there's the paperwork...

Your browser may not support display of this image.He is 3 1/2 years old, and been orphaned for only two months. His dad died before he was born, and his mom died in November from malaria. This place will be a huge adjustment for him, as his uncle got him from deep in the bush, and he still just stands by the road in town to watch cars go by. It is a novelty to him. He is a cute guy, and pretty with it. He has never been to school, but knew several colors, and could count to five with a little prompting. I think his momma may have taught him as best she could. Momma was only 19 years old when she died. Dave and I made the jaunt inland to screen him, and take him for a medical exam. He only has an ear infection, some lung congestion, is malnourished and anemic...pretty healthy considering what we have been getting lately!


Ok, the latest news on our newest arrival. Timothy, age 22 months, was pretty sick when he came three weeks ago. He just finished his second round of antibiotics, and is feeling much better. So this is the big news:  he is walking...a lot. He decided yesterday to take some steps on his own, and then he decided that this beats crawling, and today he was walking every place he could! And always with a big grin! It is too cute! He laughs often; except this afternoon, he was ticked that he had to stay in his crib for rest time.

I think he thought he should be allowed to walk around the house while everyone else rested.  He was still pouting about it after rest time was over. I went to the palava hut to talk to his momma, and he was standing to one side, looking away from us. Ma told me that he was angry, and called his name. He turned his head toward us, but closed his eyes so he couldn't see us! Both Ma and I started to laugh, which he did not like either! But it was pretty funny! Yes, I think we may have a strong willed child here. That's ok; we like them with spunk! 

And, I saw three dead snakes on the road yesterday! Yikes! Yes, you are saying, "Well, Babs, at least they were dead" and I AM thankful for that fact! Except, what if they really were not dead, but only pretending, so they could grab on to our tire and flip themselves up into the undercarriage of our car, and sneak up to the front seat and attack my scantily clad feet (flipflops!)? Huh? Did you ever think of that?!? Because I have!   

Julie and I made a foray into the local market on the Firestone plantation this past week. As we were driving up (still some distance away, though), Julie remarks, "Oh, this is like Shipshewana!" I laughed! I have always wanted to go to Shipshewana, and almost did go once with Aunt Loretta when I visited her in Michigan, but I never got the impression that Shipshewana was ANYTHING like the Harbel outdoor market. After purchasing four pairs of used children's shoes, several yards of material, never locating shoe laces, having small children poke us in the butt to get our attention, arguing with two men over the price of a pair of kids' Nike's, and having a saleslady try to make us feel guilty for not buying shampoo from her, I think Julie might re-evaluate her comparison to this market and Shipshewana. I am not sure that it is even right to use "Shipshewana" and "Harbel market" in the same sentence.  

One day this week we entertained the Episcopalian bishop and her entourage. She is from NYC and was visiting Liberia for several days. The Episcopal Church donated the land here for this site, and they wanted her to see the facility. Nineteen people came for this visit. They almost outnumbered us. Julie made a nice program for the kids to present, and the kids sang and recited well.  As the visitors arrived at snack time, we had a yummy dessert ready and served them with the families. It was nice...many of the guests sat at tables with families and visited with them. Then they had the village tour.  

One of the ladies from NYC who was traveling with the bishop was in a wheel chair. Our kids were fascinated. Three year old Obadiah could not keep his eyes off of her. He was like in a trance! The kids had never seen a wheel chair before!  I guess when you think about it, where would they? So I asked her to talk about her chair and show it to the kids. She was great! Talked about how she gets around NYC with her motorized wheelchair (this one was a push one), and then she had her picture taken with the kids. When she was leaving, she gave Nehemiah a ride on her lap to the car. Great fun! The bishop was a nice lady, but her friend was the big hit as far as the kids go!

  We have been showing "The Sound of Music" after supper again this week. It is back by popular demand!  This is the fourth time we are showing this film since we began showing movies regularly to the kids (since last August). They love this do I! We all sing "Sound of Music" songs during the day (The mothers forbid singing during the movie! Rats!) It is fun to hear the kids singing "How do You Solve a Problem like Maria?" and "I am Sixteen, Going on Seventeen". Ben laughs before events happen, like when they all fall out of the boat? Ben starts laughing as soon as he sees the boat come into view. He loves movies! He really gets into the emotions...even of the cartoons we show. I love watching Ben. 

It is dry and dusty here right now. The road that goes past the village is, silty dirt, and there are taxis and sand trucks that barrel along way too fast. The dust just billows up and drifts into our buildings. It is gross. Everything has a coating of fine, red dirt on it. I know that I can hardly believe I am saying this, but we need rain. It has been several weeks since we had a good shower. We are due. 

Dave has had several plumbing projects this week. He had two sinks leaking in the men's staff bathroom (there are only two sinks in the men's staff bathroom!). As he was working on them, the main sink in the kitchen began leaking so badly we had to shut that sink down. And then the shower in the woman's bathroom began leaking. Plumbing fixtures are junk here. Dave tries to replace things with a better quality junk, but it is difficult. He has a pretty good attitude about it (usually). "It is what it is." 

Well, I need to go! I have some lesson plans to study. Wow, can you tell I needed to chat? Thanks for letting me bend your ear (or eye, or whatever).  

Oh, one more thing...what have I learned about God this week? Well, He enables us beyond what we ever imagined we were capable of doing, and He is the "Great Stretcher Of Time", as we do not have enough time to do it all, but He somehow makes it all get done enough to keep this place afloat! Amazing!  

Have a great week. Missing you. This "conversation" would have been much more fun face to face.

Lots of Love, Babs