Time continues its inexorable march to wherever it is going, and as it marches, some things change and some things stay the same. We’re here to tell you which is which in our corner of Liberia, West Africa.
--Changes: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was in the US last week getting a Medal of Freedom from pal George W. This is further evidence of Sirleaf’s standing around the world, but back home we continue to wait for the oft promised improvement to water, power, transportation and health infrastructure. We are reading in the papers that major demolition of roadside houses, followed by major road construction will begin any day now. Meanwhile, the potholes are getting deeper. Interestingly, the one thing that has already been completed refurbished is the 50,000 seat Samuel K. Doe football stadium.
--Changes: The tomatoes have arrived! Monrovia is stocked again with Romas, although we are still getting gouged a bit—about three small Romas for over a US dollar and a half. My sandwiches are whole again.
--Changes: Next door, Patience, the 18 year old granddaughter of the late Deacon Reeves, delivered a baby girl. Renita was closely involved in the labor and delivery process, and has since been getting her “baby fix” by stealing the lil’ dumpling for hours on end. The baby’s name is… Renita. This is the fourth kid that has been named for my dear wife, while I on the other hand, am batting zero in the “named after me” department. Yes I’m jealous. I keep telling myself it’s because her name is so unusual and mine is so common. But the truth is my wife is a honkin’ saint, and me, well, I’m something else. She, they love. Me, they laugh at.
--Changes: The Foster Town Market is accepting applications for a superintendant. The truth is the market has been suffering under the effects of “management by committee,” and needs a paid point person to do the job. In addition, there remains a small group of very disruptive women who are doing what they can to sand bag the whole operation. They never accepted the fact that they were not placed in charge to run the operation from the beginning, and are now actively engaging traditional magic women to cast curses on everybody involved. It’s a real spiritual battle, but the faithful women of the market are holding prayer vigils and some of the disruptive ladies have actually repented and begged forgiveness. It’s going to be all right.
--Changes: The little piggy we received from the Kataka farm in the spring is now a hundred fifty pound hog and growing. We are planning a community pig roast the end of the month. This of course means the hog will get killed and butchered right here. Many of our Liberian friends are clamoring to do the deed. We’ll let you know what happens.
--Changes: Speaking of the Kakata farm, we took a trip last Saturday to see how the rice planted over the last few months is doing. (See April 2007 Archives, "Kakata" post for a "before" view.) The farm, co-owned by our friend and local pastor Augustine Zar, is one of the places some of you are supporting through your contributions our “community development fund.” Because of these gifts and the hard work of this large extended family, they will not only have food to sustain themselves, but they are employing a number of farm hands and they will be providing rice, eggplant, pepper and cassava to local markets. On the path to the fields, we passed about arm's length from a four foot long cobra in the bushes, about chest high. It slithered off before the boys could get to it with their machetes.
--Same: Nikki, our two year old female mutt turned actress, was not pregnant. We think the introduction of a male dog into the yard got her hormonal juices flowing. She produced milk for two weeks and actually appeared to be growing. Noah, a hopeful believer to the last, finally admitted the truth the rest of us had accepted when he realized we were three weeks past the gestation period for a dog. We believe she will become “available” sometime after the new year, and we’ll see what Max and she can produce together.
--Same: The humidity is wrecking more things (dvd player, padlocks), and I’m dripping.
On a trip through the city before heading out to the Kakata farm. Monrovia's main road by the end of the rainy season. We keep our fingers crossed for the promised rebuilding.
Our way along the path to the rice. This was taken just after our encounter with the cobra; you can see how easily the creatures can find places to hide.
We break out of the brush and we get a panorama of the rice fields.
Renita and Rev Zar discussing the progress and process of farming rice. The rice n the far left is ready for harvest.
Yers Trooly Grokking the Groovy Glory of Green.
This is what happens when we leave for the farm. "Are they gone? Can we come in now?"