Friday, November 04, 2005

Update Time

Hello again, faithful Reader, time once more for some toothy tidbits from the ReedNews Network:

Item: The runoff presidential election is a few days hence, with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Weah blitzing the country with final campaign messages. The campaign is on everyone’s lips throughout each day. It is interesting to see the constituency of these two candidates. The educated, the urban middle class, the Americo-Liberians, and the established business people seem to be siding with Sirleaf, while the poor, the disenfranchised, the less educated and the ex-combatants seem to be favoring Weah. I think if George wins, his opponents will be afraid and anxious for the country, and if Sirleaf wins, her opponents will be angry and less willing to accept the outcome.

Item: Andy Ryskamp, the executive director of CRWRC is visiting the organizations interests in Sierra Leone next week, and is dropping in on us for the weekend. It is nice to have him, because he can see our activities here and also have conversations with CRWRC partners and former partners.

Item: On a sad note, Deacon Reeves dog was hit by a car yesterday. We brought her back to the house alive, but watched her die within minutes. She had ten puppies, so we allowed them one final milk meal from their dead mother. We think we can keep them alive, as they are nearly weaned. She was then taken around the neighborhood by wheelbarrow to see if anyone wanted her for her flesh, because nothing is wasted here. Someone offered the equivalent of US$4.00, and that was that. No one except our Hannah shed a tear, as the culture does not view pets with the same attachment as in the US. Her name was Survivor.

Item: Our garden continues to grow, with the radishes, lettuce, watermelon, cucumbers and peppers making appearances. We had been waiting too long for the tomatoes, so we planted some pineapple in their place, and I planted some tomato seeds in a baking dish to keep an eye on them, and several now have sprouted.

Item: The kids at the beach orphanage continue to be neglected and are getting sick frequently. Since we have been here, there have been several cases of cholera and malaria, as well as sores and poor nutrition. The other day, the orphanage had two of them selling rice by the cup in the community—bad enough I know—when a couple of older boys took the rice and their money, then dragged them into a nearby house for purposes no one needs to guess at. Fortunately they were rescued by neighbors. There are many times the children are completely unattended at the orphanage. Renita and I are working to get them transferred to a nearby orphanage which is much better supported and administered.

Below are some images of family life, as well as some interior shots of the orphanage.

The orphanage at the beach. A beautiful location. but without supervision, nutrition, clean water, or sanitation, no place for abandoned or orphaned children.

The girls bedroom. The mosquito net does nothing to prevent malaria, with several cases in the three months we have been here. Seven girls, including Betty and Helen you see below, call this home.

The boys closet. This is all six boys own.

What we would call the "living room."

Finally, the dining room. Water from a local pond, and a pot of lentils.

A very common sight at sunset-- lots of kids outside at play with Renita and I observing from the porch.

Noah, Hannah, and Helen atop our new "fence." For once I'm driving them up the wall, instead of the other way around.

Hannah and Betty. This, and the one I took of Noah and the kids at the beach back in July, are my favorite pics so far.