Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The rainy season is finishing, as the Liberians say, and life here is going well. The "Foster Town Community Development Association" is hammering out its fifteen page constitution and offering workshops (last week's was on HIV-AIDS and was attended by over a hundred), Renita is providing support there while she teaches a LEAD class and home schools, and I am still teaching at MPCHS and offering input to the Ministry of Health through its Mental Health Task Force. But I'm a bit homesick...

Back in the US, the Detriot Tigers are having a World Series rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals (1968-- a classic series), and I am missing every pitch. I get on the internet twice a week, so all I get is the results of the games. More than simply frustrating me, missing this series is taking me back to that other series so long ago. Kaline, Lolich, McLain, Cash, Horton, Freehan, against the Cards' Wilson, Gibson and Brock--what a series that was. The Tigers came back from 3-1 games behind to win it. What a season it was. And then I find myself going back beyond the '68 series. I find myself reliving 1968. What a year that was.

Remember? Of course you do, if you are old enough. With the sexual revolution in our faces, "Laugh-In" on our new color TV, and the Beatles in our heads, we watched as Martin Luther King was murdered, our inner cities erupted in racial violence, Walter Cronkite reported weekly death tolls from the Vietnam War, Bobby Kennedy was murdered, antiwar students shut down campuses, Chigago police beat protestors at the Democratic convention ("The whole world is watching" they cried amid the clubbing), the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, Richard Nixon was elected president, Apollo 8 orbited the moon, and the Tigers won the Series. I was a lad of 13-14, and I knew the grown ups had their hands full.

I will never forget those times, or that year. It lives and breathes in me today. The events occurred exactly at the time I was trying to make sense out of life, out of the world, out of myself. Those times informed me, shaped me.

Of course, subsequent events continued to shape me, and shape me still. I spent the next few years searching for the meaning of it all. Much later-- seven years later-- I met the Holy Spirit and believed the Good News of Christ. I finished grad school. I got married, had kids. Liberia. But the sixties, and particularly 1968, remain prominent in my soul. It must be part of His Plan for me to be formed out of the sixties without knowing Him, and then waiting until later to introduce Himself to me. I don't know the why of it, but for some reason I cannot explain, I'm glad He did it that way.

Anyway, I miss those crazy times.

And I hope the Tigers beat the Cards. As of today-- Friday the 27th-- they are 3-1 games behind. Deja Vu, anyone?

Oh, here are a few pictures.

Morning has broken on the Reed's front yard. We know you've seen it, but this view from our porch has come to mean a lot to us.

In that yard, water wars are common. Eastman, Enoch and Trokon with squirt bottles, Noah with a Supersoaker.

I try not to see this as a metaphor for Americans in the developing world. But Eastman never stood a chance.

Truce time. Reading in the yard with Enoch, Trokon and Jackson.

We visted our neighbors the other day and Hannah had to connect with their monkey. Hannah is on the right.

In the Reed house-- the new community development group for our neighborhood meets. Very exciting, and quite different from community development in the US. We are learning much.

On to Monrovia and Mother Patern College. Yers Trooly teaching 13 social work students in the senior class. Yers tells me he is getting quite fond of these folks-- he also taught them in the spring.