Monday, November 19, 2007

Not Always Easy-o

Weather: Two words-- Hot and humid. The temps are in the mid 90s during the day with stifling, water-heavy air and little wind until late afternoon. Evenings are cooler with a refreshing wind off the ocean. Nightime temps in the lower 80s dropping to the mid 70s by early morning.

Several happenings this week kept us occupied. Renita went up to Ganta as I mentioned, and on the way back the fan belt broke in the middle of nowhere. The LEAD Liberian staff worked the problem with Renita, and after hitching a ride to the nearest town and retrieving a new belt and a mechanic, she got it fixed (mechanic emergency roadside repair fee: $7.00)

Some of our closest friends experienced a two-week string of five attempts by rogues to steal stuff. The last attempt occurred three nights ago, and it was the most serious. The bad guys actually got into our friends’ house and held a machete to a guest's throat. When confronted by our enraged friend—a father of four—the rogues attacked him by slashing his face with the machete. Undeterred, he chased them out of the house before being taken to the Mercy Ship hospital for stitches. Happily by Sunday, the rogues were caught and hopefully our friends can sleep at night. As our Liberian friends say, "It not easy-o!"

The status of the Calvin-Kuyper-Mother Patern College partnership is as follows: both US schools continue to show strong interest and a commitment to what is happening here with the Bachelor of Social Work program. We are waiting to see if a grant request will be approved, but we continue to plan and for another visit from both schools by January of the academic year 2008-2009. For the January visit, the plan has them actually teaching courses and offering technical support to the BSW staff at MPCHS.

Road work has started on the main drag into Monrovia, amen. The workers are completely tearing the old road out and starting from scratch. They are doing it piece by piece, one section at a time so motorists can easily detour around on the side roads. It only took me a half hour to get into work this morning.

I got hit with yet another bout of dysentery over the weekend. This is the fourth or fifth time for me. Its very unpleasant for a day or so, but once you figure out what it is, its rapidly treated with antibiotics.

The deathwatch for Henrietta the Hog continues. She's a dead pig oinking with an execution date of November 28. That's the day before former President Tubman’s birthday, which is a big holiday here. We are preparing ourselves for the upcoming community feast. Henrietta now weighs maybe a hundred seventy five pounds, and she requires a lot of food and water. So while killing and butchering her is not something I’m looking forward to, it needs to be done. It’s why she was given to us. And I am definitely looking forward to eating the beast, that much is certain. Let her slow cook over coals for eight hours, then call in the neighbors. Slather on some barbeque sauce with some jollof rice and chicken wings on the side— man, I’m licking my chops already.

On the way to Ganta, a hundred fifty miles northest of Monrovia. The roads were pretty good and Renita and the LEAD team made it in five hours.

Even up here, clearing trees to make way for road work. A good sign.

Cattle coming back to Liberia. A good sign.


On the way back, a broken fan belt between Gbarnga and Kakata means a three and a half hour delay. Could've been worse.

By the side of the road where the Cruiser waits for repairs, a country rice field. On the platform a boy swings a long whipping pole to frighten the birds. That was all he did for the time the LEAD folks were there. Makes for a long day.

Back home, a typical evening outside-- puzzle for Hannah, dog teasing for Noah, feet up for Renita, and getting it on film for Yers Trooly.

One last shot-- more roadwork, this time in the city. Its going to be a long dry season for drivers once all the work commences.