Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Getting Settled

Hey Gang,

At the internet cafĂ© again, hopefully with images very soon. It has been an active week. We live about 20 minutes to the south and east of Monrovia, along the coast. Each day I’ve had to be driven (or “be carried” as they say here) into the city. One trip into Monrovia is an entire day affair, and only about three things can be accomplished before the body and soul needs a break from the haggling, jostling, begging, waiting, returning, shouting and sweating that occurs there.
We must go however, because the city has what we need to accomplish our first major task here: to get settled.

Getting settled means, among other things, and roughly in chronological order: killing very large cockroaches and spiders, unpacking, learning to use the toilets and showers (no running water), purchasing basic food supplies, buying a drill, a safe, and hardware, attempting to get online, installing some security alarms, hanging bed netting, hauling water from the well to the barrels in the house (every day) selecting phones, changing phone servers, returning phones for replacement parts, ordering iron bars for doors, shopping for a car, attempting to get online, purchasing furniture, cleaning fire ants out of furniture, haggling for best prices on cars, catching a lizard in our bedroom, going to Western Union downtown to get wired money for car, being turned away because money is in Renita’s name, driving back with family to get money for car, purchasing car, backing car into tree, learning the hard way what the wrong voltage can do to a laptop, catching a lizard in Hannah’s bedroom, getting title to car, registering car, getting car insurance, hunting down the vole in Hannah's room (a vole is like a large mouse with long nose), reporting to US Embassy, getting letters of employment from MPCHS, and registering with Liberian Immigration.

Now, lest you think we find settling in overwhelming or too great a burden, I assure you it is not. We remain in good humor. Our life at home is more peaceful with every passing day. We live close to the beach, and our neighbors seem to like us. Our evenings are quiet and there is play and laughter throughout the day, every day. Look for images of life in Liberia very soon.