Friday, February 17, 2006

Some Random Images

Hey folks. You know, we take a lot of pictures, and only a few make it to the blog. Here are a few random shots taken around the country.

We begin in Gbarnga. A nice shot o' the forest in the morning.

Army ants. If you look closely, there are the regular troups moving, and bigger ants along the pathway, standing watch. This was in Gbarnga. Noah loved these guys.

One of the towns about an hour out of Monrovia.

A couple of egrets take wing in the rainforest.

On the road to Rivercess: The UN drivers often drive exactly as if the vehicles belong to somebody else.

A village like you will find everywhere you travel outside of Monrovia.

Looking up Center Street-- that's Providence Baptist Church with the white roof at the top of the hill on the right side of the road.

Renita by the ocean on a cloudy day.

Eventide at home.

Downtown Monrovia.

Some kind of blue bird-- I'm still researching, sitting on a mango (here called a plum) tree.

A breezy day down at the Thinker's Village beach.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Week of Homework

This was a busy week, but mostly spent at home. Both Renita and I have full schedules-- Renita with LEAD, homeschooling and the upcoming LEAD/Madison Square Church visit, and me with developing psychosocial training, working on this mental health task force, trying to forge links between Mother Patern College and US schools, and just last week, the college asked me to teach a class called "Conflict, Trauma and Peacebuiling." Great sounding course, but the curriculum is gone. So I get to invent my own peacebuilding class. Its a lot of work, but I love the topic. Here is what our week looked like in a few pictures.

The day begins with a lil' breakie. Some toast and eggs. Here, I'm checking so as not to burn da bread.

Homeschooling. Renita explaining the day's tasks.

Renita at midday, grading papers for business people in the LEAD class. Some of her students need a lot of help.

I'm on a roll. I'm developing the course outline and schedule for the class I'm teaching starting Feb 27. This was a good day.

Early afternoon. School's out and Noah shares his "playtoys" with Walker in red, Enoch in green stripe, and Obadiah in sorta white.

Some of her work done, Renita relaxes in the hammock. Reading Maya Angelou's "All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes."

Mid afternoon, and Hannah shakes a little boote' with Odelle, Victoria 2, and Rachel. This is a couple houses away, as Hannah continues to explore the neighborhood.

Late afternoon football action. Renita decides to face her mortality and explore what her lifestyle is doing to her muscle tone. Me, I take pictures.

Lionel and Noah, on the right, wrestling, get slammed by Hannah and Andrew, on left who are playing soccer. Nikki drools from a distance, preparing to seriously lick somebody.

How we prepare for the evening-- hauling the "VV9500" generator from house to shed. At ten pm, we bring it back in to the house. Its good exercise and a moment of sharing for Renita and me. Sniff.

A parting shot of my two favorite ladies.

Monday, February 06, 2006

What Do You Do When the Well Runs Dry, Honey?

Well, if you are in Liberia, usually not much you can do, except find another well. The well that sits between our property line and Deacon Reeves’ is an open, uncovered well that serves probably twelve families. However, every year during the dry season, the well begins to produce dirty water as the water table drops, and sometimes families have to wait all day for the well to be used again. Thanks to a generous and caring family in Grand Rapids, the well is being deepened to a point where it no longer will run out of water. The process is interesting. The well is essentially a series of culverts cemented together and dug into the ground. However, to deepen a well, you can’t put culverts on the bottom of the well, so you start from the top. A worker goes into the well and digs at the base of the bottom culvert until the whole well begins to sink. As it sinks, new culverts are added on top, the top culvert is given a “cap”—not a cover-- and the well is back in business.

Now, it is still an open well, and tests have shown that while the ground water is good, the water gets contaminated by each bucket that gets dropped by line into it. The Reeds are fortunate in that we have a filter that all our water goes through. Our neighbors are not so fortunate, and while they are adjusted to the water most of the time, there still is a risk of contracting water born diseases. Hopefully, someday we can cover the well and put a pump on it. But at least now, our neighbors will have water, all the way through the dry season. Here is a look-see at the process--

This is what the well looked like before the work began. Hannah and I doing the daily chore of drawing and hauling 30-50 gallons of water.

Here is Mr. Sanfo and Son preparing the well for sinking. The cover has been removed and the collar busted up around the base.

Sanfo Jr. in the well digging out the sand underneath so the culvert assembly will begin to sink.

Pappa Sanfo holds the line over Jr. While Noah and Renita learn the trade.

The well has sunk, so...

... the first of two is cemented on top of the well. Meanwhile, the structure continues to sink.

See? First culvert lower, second in the wings...

...and put into place. Soon we will be back drawing water again. A mixed blessing if ever there was one.

By the way, we got a special request for a garden update. Here are the tomatoes...

Also, one of the pineapples. Now you've seen the garden, ma.