Friday, January 13, 2006

ReedNews Update

Well, Julie DeGraw is back in the USA, and we are settling back to normal. Here are some news tidbits:

Item: On Monday the 16th, Liberia will inaugurate its president, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. By now most of you know what an historic event this is for Africa and the world. It’s a big deal, with dignitaries from around the world coming. George Bush’s better half and the Secretary of State will be here, so the security is already tightening. And the entire country is sprucing up. Every where you go, roads are being patched, brush is being cut, junk and trash is being picked up, and buildings are getting a new coat of whitewash. The capitol building looks great. I’ll get you a picture.

Item: The beach orphanage is no more. On Saturday, the children were transferred to a home run by a registered nurse, Esther Wleh. Interestingly, only five children were transferred—the other eight found their way back to their families. This was what we wondered: how many of the beach children actually had family who should be taking care of them, and when mild pressure was applied, the truth came to light. So eight children went back to their families, and the remaining five—truly abandoned or orphaned—joined the Wleh orphanage. Thanks to some of you, a new room was added to the building, a well head repaired, six new bunk beds, mosquito netting for all 38 children, uniforms for school, and there is still enough to provide a few bags of rice each month for a year.

Item: All the recent rogue activity has brought with it increased community activism. Leaders around us have been meeting to discuss ways to join together and form a night-time watch. Even though we have not been the only ones targeted, we sense some of this care is directed toward us. The community folks have been very kind in their words about us and seem to fear that if the rogue activity does not stop, we might leave. This will not happen, but we appreciate them looking out for us.

Item: Despite our desire to not spend time and resources on security that our neighbors can not have, we have come to see the need for what our neighbors are urging us to do. So the wall is now about nine feet high, with glass shards cemented in the top. There are neighbors patrolling our area at night, we have solar powered flood lights around half the house, and today some guys are covering our windows with chicken wire to keep hands from cutting our mosquito screens and reaching in through the bars. Is this too much? Not here, where these kinds of measures are in use in any home that can afford it.

Item: Noting the absolute worthlessness of Nikki as a guard dog, we have added yet another pooch to the family—Pinky. However, this one is a barker and in the most recent rogue event, she woke us all up and warned us of the intruders. We’ve had her about three weeks now, and we think we have a winner.

Item: Renita is busy these days visiting many businesses for LEAD. She is getting to know folks and word is spreading about this organization empowering Liberian businesses to grow. Of course, the Dynamo is also teaching the kids. This semester, in addition to the regular courses, she’s throwing Spanish and typing at the lil’ nubbins.

Item: Plans are underway with the staff of Mother Patern College to have something they’ve never had before—A Bachelor of Social Work program (counseling emphasis). Joseph, the MSW at the school, and I are hammering out the curriculum and will teach many of the courses. But we could use a hand and are thinking of asking a US college with a BSW program to lend us some expertise. Any thoughts from you as to who we might consider?

That’s the news. Here are the images.

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