Monday, September 26, 2005

Two Months In

Hey Friends, Fam, and Web Surfers, Bob Reed here.

The past eight weeks have been the most full of our lives, with almost everyday a roller coaster of emotion. The sun rises and sets pretty much the same time all year round, and during each twelve hour period, Renita and I experience anxiety, disappointment, fear, relief, hope, and some days, elation and celebration. Lately, we’ve enjoyed more of the latter, and that makes us think we have passed into some indefinable space that says, “Home is Here.”

Maybe it was getting the generator-solar power running, despite missing a battery. Maybe it was getting the iron door built and installed, despite delays and cost overruns. Maybe it was visiting Grand Bassa and making it back without our car breaking down or receiving rave reviews from the priests after a very long workshop. Maybe it was making contacts with the folks from CHAL (Christian Health Assoc. of Liberia), LCIP (Liberia Community Infrastructure Program), World Vision, and USAID, and seeing better where I will best fit in, or even something “simple” like driving in and out of Monrovia fifteen times over the past two weeks and not getting hassled by the police. Perhaps it is because the raining season is ending early, or that we are going to make it to October after a very expensive September. And even as I ponder the shift, I see it was all of these events and more. Renita and I feel as though we’ve stepped into a clearing after entering a forest (rainforest, of course) that we had never seen before, believing it to lead somewhere, and now that we are in the clearing, we see better that there are several pathways through, that there are people here and back home who are with us, and that if we are patient and faithful, it is going to be exactly as He promised: Much more than ok. Maybe even grand and lovely.

So, we are nearly settled. Still missing so much back in Michigan, but feeling like maybe, just maybe, we can build a home here in this clearing.

And now, the news…

Item: Renita is fully engaged in Homeschooling and doing an outstanding job. Hannah and Noah are both very bright students, and Renita seems to challenge them to do their best with her. It is quite something to see on the days I’m around.

Item: Renita is also beginning her consulting activities with LEAD (Liberia Entrepreneurial Asset Development), and REAP (Restoration of Educational Advancement Program), which requires her to do some of her own driving into and out of the pothole laden wackiness that is Monrovia.

Item: We have always had some significant concerns about the orphanage on the beach. Thirteen children live in terrible conditions, in a place that has not improved since we visited eighteen months ago. Since we have been here, several children have gotten sick with cholera and malaria. We have met with the manager regarding our concerns, and if he does not work harder to gain the support of government and non government organizations to the provide food, water and medical treatment available to children, we may need to get more active in helping relocate the children to better facilities. Bad orphanages are a plague in Liberia, and the government is shutting down the worst of them, and moving the children to the best of them.

Item: I have a week free of going into town every day. Although I still need to come in to post blog updates and send/receive emails. The week will give me a chance to visit some NGOs I’m interested in and putter around the house.

More pictures soon. I want to show the solar installation and some interiors of the orphanage.