Monday, March 03, 2008

ReedNews Update: March Edition

Weather: Monday the 3rd of March began with a cool westerly breeze, and drier air. The skies clouded up a bit by mid morning as the humidity rose, giving way to a hot haze by mid afternoon. We’ve seen a little rain during the past few weeks, but still averaging less than an inch a month since December. This morning the temperature was in the mid 70sF, and today’s highs will likely reach the low 90’s.

It is hard to believe February is behind us, but here we are three days into the third month. The LEAD conference is over, our guests are gone, and I'm back from my travels. Both Renita and I are catching our breath as well as lost sleep while finding full “to do” lists in front of us each day. At least its not crazy around here. LEAD is running three business/small loan classes as well as three micro credit programs in three counties. Total participants: 245. This keeps Renita traveling to and fro, and on those days she’s in Buchanan or Gbarnga, it’s a 12 hour day of travel, meetings and teaching. As for me, I have three projects running: teaching my class at MPCHS, designing a curriculum for a men’s program in Koon’s Town, and visiting Liberian national NGOs discussing possible future collaboration opportunities.

In other news:

Item- We can report significant improvement in road conditions to both Buchanan and Gbarnga, and not simply due to the dry season, which usually makes the impassable passable. The roads are patched and allow for less jolting rides for both human and vehicular suspension systems. The improved roads have also made travel time shorter, so we get back home faster.

Item- President Sirleaf has promised to visit the Foster Town Market, so everyone around our little corner of the world is anticipating the event. We’ll keep you posted.

Item- A container we have been waiting for has arrived and we’ll be sorting through its contents soon. Among the items are hundreds of boxes of books designated for five area schools. Working with a Canadian NGO called Active Kids, Renita has been liaising with the schools as they’ve each built (with help) a library-reading room in their respective facilities and soon those libraries will be filled with books. We will be conducting library science workshop next week to help the schools organize and run their new additions.

Item- The St Theresa School- Norm Katerberg playground is still under construction, but we hope to see a finished product by next week. We’ve had some snags along the way, and had to push the construction crews not to cut corners, but that is part of the norm here. I have no doubt the kids will appreciate the effort when done. We are putting in two slides, three swing sets, two merry-go-rounds, a jungle gym, and three teeter totters.

Item- Monrovia is out of eggs. As with tomatoes last fall, the city has run out of eggs. Not being an egg guy myself, I can live with it, but it is weird, especially since I thought the eggs were produced locally.

The road to/from Bong Mines in the dry season. Much nicer, but still a bracing experience.

On the way, a common sight throughout the country and continent-- wash day along a local river or pond.

Back around home, a young lady pounds cassava at the Foster Town Market.

Another common sight during our guest's visit-- Todd working on the car. This evening, he replaced the U joint.

Some of you have been asking, so here she is-- Renita Reeves, enjoying her first taste of solid food. We get to take care of her several days a week while mom tries to earn some money. A very easy babe.


tyronebcookin said...

Yeah, we have also experienced this egg problem on the Africa Mercy (Mercy Ships)but our storesman and local procurement guy Freddie (from Ghana) says that Liberia does not in fact produce their own eggs? Go figure...

We have frozen liquid ones in a pinch though...which is good when you have 400 plus crew.

kristi said...

Dear Bob and Renita,

It has been a pleasure to read your blog. I will be arriving in Liberia on Friday March 7th. We are setting up a project in Robertsport and would love to talk to you about your solar experience as well as some of your other adventures that I'm sure could help us out a lot. I can tell by your blog you are very busy but if there is a chance we could meet during our 10 day stay I would like to set it up.

Amazing work - thanks for the inspiration!

Kristi Manning

The Reeds in Liberia said...

Hey Tyrone,

Thanks for that-- considering the quality of the eggs, I just assumed they came from some guy down the road with a lot of chickens. So these gems, when they arrive, come from Ghana, eh? Thanks for that Liberian factoid.

You can give us a shot-- go down the road toward town for a half hour, look for Thinkers Village or Foster Town, and ask for "Unca Bob" or "Sis Renita." Or you can call us if you get a local cell phone. My number is 077 452 381.

Bob Reed