Monday, July 26, 2010

More Rain...



It is raining.

As Liberia receives about 200 inches of rain a year, I guess this is not unusual. But it still seems novel to me that it is pouring rain so hard we cannot talk to each other in the house as it is too noisy. And it is July. Back in California, it is hot and dry. Here, it is hot and wet. Even after two years, it still seems odd to me.

The rivers are all swollen and running fast. The swamp land is flooded. Now would be a good time to survey land for a prospective land purchase, as one could tell if it floods. For those who did not do their homework, there are newly-built homes that are surrounded by large bodies of water! One fellow down the road recently built a four foot wide cement sidewalk to the door of his store. He built it about eighteen inches tall. There was such a large lake around his new store building that customers could not come in, so the new sidewalk goes to the edge of the highway.

The roads have become muddy rivers. People walking down the road get splashed on by cars driving by, as tires hit mud puddles. Walking anywhere becomes a challenge to stay clean. The mud is slick, red, and tenacious!

In this current storm, it has already rained for thirty hours straight, without ever completely stopping. At times, it was ferocious, with strong winds and deluge downpours, and then it would calm down for a few hours to a steady drizzle before again getting angry and unleashing another round of unrelenting precipitation. We have new streams on the village site today, and the regular drainage streams are overflowing. It is a rather impressive Liberian storm.
I do not mind the rain. Neither do the frogs, as there is a constant symphony coming from the swamp area around the compound. They all sound happy; it is a choir of throaty, cheery songs.

Hope you all stay dry today (oh, that's right! You will stay is July! I forget.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So Many Children...

Last night we got word from our social worker that signatures had come through from the Ministry of Health on a child that we have been waiting to pick up for the last two months. This morning, at 6:30 am, I met the social worker to get the signed documents. The boy’s family did not have a phone, and the neighbor’s phone was answered by someone who did not speak any English, so I then drove into town to notify the family that we would be back at 10 am to do the final paper work and to take the boy to his new home. I returned to the village to collect Babs and the house mother who will receive this boy into her cottage. The three of us drove back to Monrovia. We parked the car on a dirt lane that had not seen a vehicle in many days. As we approached the grandmother’s house where this young man was residing, a crowd started to gather.



It is not too often that white people visit this area. We were a novelty! A few minutes later, our social worker showed up so we could get down to the business of getting their signatures on the documents. Aunts, uncles, and grandmother were all there, with the exception, of course, of the uncle who is the boy’s legal guardian. This uncle was working on a pipeline project a few miles away. Things were explained to the relatives and papers were signed. Grandmother offered a prayer for the boy. Now we were off to get the signature of the legal guardian. As we piled into the car, the little boy’s Grandmother began to cry. Grandma knew the reality that she would probably never see this grandson again. He will only be an hour away, but when every dollar is spent on food and necessities, the chances of Grandma coming to visit are “slim to none.” There will be no money for a taxi ride.
Now, where is uncle? How do you find a man in the middle of a work crew when you don’t remember what he looks like? Once again, we just played the part of “stupid American” and everyone was helpful. We have had lots of practice of playing “stupid American” here in Liberia. Uncle saw us coming and climbed out of the ditch to greet us. He was pleased to sign the documents turning over his nephew to us. He now had one less mouth to feed on his wage of three dollars a day. He shook hands with his nephew, and we headed down the road, to a new life for this little boy. So, one more child has been removed from the masses of children that are left to live in squalor, lacking the basic necessities of life.


We try to not get overwhelmed by the many children we see living in hopeless situations. What makes this possible is that we see God’s hand in the process of acquiring new residents for the orphanage. We see how God places specific children in our path, and then God orchestrates the pieces to make all the investigation and background checks happen. He assembles the people necessary to make the decisions to change these children’s lives. He moves bureaucracy and governmental agencies to action. He causes family members to be in agreement. All these events are certainly by His doing, as in this country, few people agree about anything, and to get government agencies to complete paperwork is very difficult. Our new resident will be fine. He already was playing “football” (soccer) with his new brothers this afternoon. He enjoyed a good lunch; was delighted with an afternoon snack; ate a hearty supper. Clean pajamas and a cozy bed. This place is alright! We cannot help every child. But we are privileged to be able to help some of them. And what a thrill to see God at work in children’s lives.