Monday, July 07, 2008

ReedNews Update: July Edition

With our kids, Hannah and Noah, in Michigan USA, things are much quieter around the house. We miss them both a lot, while at the same time are taking advantage of the opportunity by enjoying the simple companionship of each other. We are getting work done at a less frantic pace. Here’s a bit of the news and weather:

Weather: Heavy rains yesterday and today have dumped nine inches on our area, with more coming. The downpour was steady from yesterday until this morning—about twelve hours worth of non-stop steady rain. However, the temps are much more comfortable than in the hot season. Daytime highs are only in the 70’s—unless the sun comes out, in which case the temps shoot up and we feel the humidity. We also enjoy steady breezes throughout most of the day. All in all, except for the rain, not bad. (By the way, the heavy rains are great for very refreshing showers. Considering the way our little shower bags dribble water, I’m more than happy to run outside in the buff and catch the pouring glory. When it’s coming down an inch every ten minutes, that’s more than enough water pressure!)

Item- Renita and I had the pleasure of returning to Cape Mount County last week. Our mission was to deliver about a thousand books to the Madina elementary and junior high school. The books were collected and shipped by Active Kids Canada, who also funded the library/reading room. Even though we were there on a Saturday, about a hundred kids showed up with parents and school officials to receive the books with thanks. They had a nice program for us and a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by the book transfer.

Item—LEAD has reached a milestone: over $100,000 USD has been distributed to over 300 Liberians for business development. LEAD's 11th and 12th classes began last week for the summer in three counties bringing the total number of businesses receiving training to almost 700. News of LEAD's work has traveled to other Liberian counties, who are now requesting that Renita and LEAD staff go and offer its training and loans. LEAD continues to wait on God and His listening people to provide the funds needed to reach these areas for the important work of economic development, which we believe directly relates to peace building. LEAD has completed its contract with the World Food Programme, working with women with HIV/AIDS, and is working with the International Labour Organization to begin solid waste management businesses.

Item-- The organizations who supply us with administrative support and supervision, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) and Partners World Wide (PWW) are discussing ways to more formally collaborate with organizations on the ground in Liberia. Along with Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), they will be hosting a mini conference in October with interested Non Government Organizations (NGOs) to perhaps create a center for holistic collaborative efforts to empower Liberians. Working with Liberians in the field, we hope to be able to offer support to Liberians across a broad spectrum of theme areas-- community, health, spiritual, economic, justice, governance, and in mental health.

Item—I’ve already mentioned the fact that Liberia occasionally runs out of goods—tomatoes and eggs are recent examples. This time the missing item is propane, which is sold in tanks and used mostly by those of us who can afford it, to provide fuel for stoves and other appliances. So it looks like we’ll be rejoining the majority of Liberians who cook by coal pot for a bit. No big thing—it’s just a mess and baking options are limited.

Item—Speaking of fossil fuels, gas prices continue to hamstring Liberia’s recovery. The prices are about 50 cents higher than what we read in the news for the US, but of course the differences here is the average annual salary is between $1,000 and $1500US. With oil companies making record profits at the expense of the of everyone including the poorest of the poor, is this not a justice issue?

On to Grand Cape Mount County and Madina Elementary and Jr. High School-- Where getting there is half the fun.

Renita thanks the crowd for coming and reminds the students that the library is for them first and foremost.

Time to haul those books!

Aww, neither of us did much lifting, this is just a commercial for Active Kids Canada. Renita and the principal pose.

Students and Librarian cut the ribbon to the reading room.

A thousand books and with supplies. The new shelves are behind me and also on the left. Sorry I missed 'em, Art.

Meanwhile, Hannah and Noah in Michigan-- hanging out with Unca' Dave and Jeep. We miss you!!