August 26th, 2011
I didn’t get my phone back. Big surprise. So I bought a new one. Holly and I are at site now. We had a quiet day with our families in Kakata on Aug 23 during the referendum vote. Still not sure the results on that vote yet, but now that we’ve been on the Internet today, did we only know about the DC quake and hurricane Irene who seems to be causing some problems right now…no hurricanes here, thank goodness.
Moving Day: We all met at the training center, hugged and cried our way into multiple goodbyes and ‘I’ll come visit you at your site’. All the taxis were there. Holly and I both got our own (no we’re not pack rats, we just had a big ‘ol barrel and other…important *cough* clothes *cough* brownie mix *cough* things to bring. I cleaned out my room in Kakata which was a little sad. I like my family (especially that they made me breakfast) and house there. I took a ‘before you leave on a big journey’ picture with my family and headed off behind Holly’s car. Naw wei barfed all over the passenger floor in the first 20 minutes of the ride (and then proceeded to lay in it. Yum). We stopped to fix a flat tire on Holly’s taxi (I cleaned some dog barf) and headed on. I don’t know how long the trip took…I think about two hours. The Chinese are fixing the road here up very nice and it’s wasn’t by any means a good road, but it was better. We arrived, sweaty and tired (and one of us covered in vomit) and were then proceeded to meet everyone important who had gathered to meet us. Do I remember any of the new names? Nope. But I have been actively trying since yesterday. We dropped off our bags at our house (more details on the house to come) and ate a yummy bitterball soup Sarah made for us (She was the lady I stayed with during site visit if you remember). We hung around at the house in the afternoon while they workers finished painting and throwing deadbolts on the doors (which are kinda important). I made friends with the neighbors (connections are key) and Sarah fed us dinner again at our principal’s house. She wasn’t there as she was in Monrovia until Friday.
Our House: (and I’m not just saying this because I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve eaten ice cream) is Neapolitan ice cream…..in the form of a house. A new house. Made of fine cement, new tin roofing, solid wood doors and a huge front porch….and a decently large back porch too. Our house is mostly pink and brown with hints of white (now I really wish I had an ice cream sandwich). Our house has four bedrooms, a pantry, a kitchen, a nice tiled living room, and a workshop. All of our windows have glass vents and bars and bug mesh on them. It’s pretty much the nicest house in Liberia and some parts of the states that I’ve ever seen. Did I mention that it’s also wired for current? Yeah, like we’ll ever have money for a generator or time to make worth it turning it on…but we could, which makes us pretty darn special. Oh, we have a nice backyard too. It could use a garden and a few more trees (still have yet to hang the hammock) but it’s pretty nice on its own.
Our group of close friends here gave our new house a blessing and left us with our first two candles. Naw wei was locked in the pantry where he screamed bloody murder the entire night….and the house echoes… a lot. ***side note: I’m pretty sure the movie place across from my house is playing Lord of the Rings… or at least LOTR stolen music. I can detect it anywhere.*** So Holly and I got no sleep. I got up at 5am and sat on the porch with him. That’s went I discovered there is a mosque near our house. The call to prayer is sooooo pretty early in the morning (we’ll see if I still think it’s pretty later).
Holly and I since arriving have hunted down: The best sweet bread and donuts in town, floor mats for our rooms, hot dogs for our mac n cheese, and a table and bench for our living room. (I totally just left my house to sit in on some epic Return of the King and it’s not a pirated version. I told them they will have to play this show again.) We made mac n cheese in our coal pot yesterday. It was rather satisfying and Naw wei ate a lot of noodles. When we finished stuffing our face, Holly says ‘What should we do with the leftovers?’ **remember there is no refrigerator** I say ‘Let’s just give the extra to the kids outside.’ Holly says ‘There are too many kids; they won’t be able to share it.’ I say ‘Well we can’t just throw it out…there are starving children in Africa, Holly.’ ….and I wish you could have seen the raised brow ‘really Steph? You’re a smart ass’ look she gave me. :D and so we gave the pot to the kids. At least you don’t have to fear about any food sent being wasted. Not much here is considered waste.
We spent some time pimping our bathroom (which is also pink) with hanging shower caddies, nails on the door to hang lapas and towels, and loofas. Today I bought some toilet paper (40 Liberian dollars in town along with my two grapefruits (which cost me $5 Liberian dollars= 7 cents American. Yes, 7 cents for two grapefruit… Om nomnom). Holly washed some lapas, I charged my phone by the ‘bus stop’ aka taxi stop, and then we visited the carpenter. He welcomed us to use his shop to make shelves or other things we may need. We made a Liberian dish tonight, country rice with soup. I put seasoning, bitterball, eggplant, tomatoes (we were so happy to see them in the market), onion, small peppe aka hot pepper, and crayfish. We invited our Liberian mom’s over to say thank you for taking care of us. Sarah, Suah, Fumata, Ellen, and Martalyn all liked our soup very much. Holly made Kool-Aid too boot which was ultra-yummy.