Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Month In

News from the front: After being here just over a month, we estimate we are smack-dab in the middle of the getting started process. It continues to rain nearly every day, some days a steady rain interrupted only by even harder torrents, for twelve hours. The liquid blessing takes a break, we might see the sun for an hour—might not—and it starts again off and on for another twelve. The humidity affects everything. Clothes do not get a chance to dry on the line, paper always seems wet and flimsy, cuts get infected easier, the car starts harder, glasses fog up just by wearing them, and we go to bed every night a little sticky. On the other hand, my dermatitis is clearing up, and we have lots of water fights.

Item: I’m working a bit more frequently at the catholic college. The dean asked me to sit on a mapping task force mandated by the government to assess the mental health efforts in Liberia, to clarify the role of various service providers, and to make recommendations regarding future training and professional standards. It seems like a good way to make connections. In addition, I’ll be doing some teaching and training soon.

Item: Hannah and Noah continue to adapt, and are actually beginning to have fun. It was hard to get Hannah out of her room the first week, now she is outside on the porch or in the yard with neighbors every night. It’s nice to see her laughing again. They saw their first monkey the other day. It was tied to a tree, but it still counts as “African Wildlife.”

Item: I am currently almost over a bout with amebic dysentery. It’s an intestinal thing that involves bloody diarrhea and microscopic animals, so let’s just say I feel better and leave it there.

Item: I had my first warm shower since we got here today. I heartily recommend it for everyone. Of course to get the full effect, you have to take cold showers every day for the month proceeding, but I promise you, the experience will make you feel reborn. It’s also nice not having to wince before the water hits.

Item: Here are a few assorted pics.

A water crown for an all-wet princess. She's getting pummeled from a downspout on our roof.

Roland, Betty and Eric. Three undernourished kids who spend a lot of time with us. She's not showing it here, but you could spot Betty's smile from the length of a football field.

Join us on a stroll to the beach. This is the view from the road where we live.

Thinkers Village and Barnes Beach.

The beach and the shelled out building that 13 orphans call home, including Roland, Betty and Eric.

Bob, Betty, and Noah.

The waves come in like walls.

She's soooooo kewl.

Lionel, the ever-present tormentor.

Drawing water at the well. About ten buckets every day.

Our living room. I call the decor "Summer Cottage Tacky."