Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Leaving Liberia, Part Five

We'll Miss You, We'll Miss You Not...
We'll Miss You

Today is Wednesday-- our last in Liberia. The goodbyes are frequent, and with a few, we are just not going there. Apparently, we will be getting an escort to the airport by many of our friends, and I'm sure that will be quite a scene. I know I'm going to lose it. Hannah and Noah too. Renita says she won't-- "she just doesn't cry at things like this." We'll see.

Leaving our people will be the hardest part of course. But there are some things-- Liberia things-- that we also will miss. And some, of course, that we won't. Let's examine a small list:

We Will Not Miss Daily Water Duty. About thirty gallons a day, pumped and lugged from next door.
"I can do it" I a professiona' mechanah!" Every guy that worked on our car was self taught, and more often than not we had to bring it back to somebody to fix what was fixed. A common practice is to remove good parts for sale, then when the bad part fails, work to fix that too, using whatever creative method could be rigged.

Jiggers. Dug out of many toes and other parts, including each of ours several times during three and a half years. Here Odelle assists Renita.

Monrovia Traffic. It is not that unusual from other African cities, but without traffic lights and so many "self taught" taxi drivers, it gets stupid. For thirty six years, I loved to drive. Now, I give the keys to Renita when I can.

The Humidity. The Sweating. This in Rivercess. Why do the other guys look so cool?

Being reminded everywhere we go that there was no "sanctuary" during the war. No place was safe. Most buildings were left in ruins. A church near Baye's Town.

Being daily reminded that those all around us, even our dearest friends, lived lives of hardship and deep poverty. Vera's home.

We Will Miss

The humidity-produced morning mists. This in Gbarnga.

Hanging out with jes' folks in the villages. Johnson Town.

"German Plums." (Small Liberian Mangoes. So good, it must be descended from the Forbidden Fruit.)

The Liberian Coast. Treacherous, non-negotiating, and inspiring.

Just hanging out in the yard in the late afternoon. This can be done anywhere, of course, but the contrast between the humidity of the day and the relative cool of the breezy late afternoon cannot be experienced in very many places.

Cooking huts. I love 'em. In every village. No two are alike, and every one is a place of communion, comfort, food and family.
"Dancin' with the ones He brung us to... "

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