We’ve been busy over the last few days! On Monday, we got up in the wee hours of the morning and loaded into a rented SUV at 5:00 a.m. for an anticipated 4 hour drive to Ganta. There were 7 of us in the vehicle, plus our driver, a tight squeeze for us Americans, but according to Liberian standards, there was room for AT LEAST 2 more people! After about 2 hours we stopped at a “coffee shop” to use the restroom. The only thing that resembled a “coffee shop” was its sign outside as there was no coffee and the restroom was suspect. As we traveled on, we experienced something that often happens in Liberia: dirt in the gas line. We pulled over to the side of the road and our driver attempted to syphon the dirt from the gas line (yes, eww, with his mouth!). It was a beautiful day so our team enjoyed the beauty of birds and trees on the side of the road while we waited. God’s Spirit was present and none of us were anxious about this delay. John, one of our Liberian friends who lives and helps and at the guest house, hitched a ride on a pem pem (a small motorcycle) to get some clean gas, and after an hour or so, we were on our way again. All was well!
When we got to Ganta shortly after 10:00 a.m., we visited the United Methodist Mission Station there, including their hospital and farm. Our group met with the hospital administrator, Dennis Weh, and then some team members toured the hospital while others toured the farm. They are doing amazing work there, improving the health and wellness of the people in Liberia and neighboring Guinea. Will write more about some of these things in future posts. After a lunch at a local recommended restaurant that served American food, and where SOME of us actually got what we ordered (over an hour later!), we piled back into the vehicle for our 4-hour trek home.
On Tuesday morning, I spent time at the local public school observing the teachers and students there. The lack of teachers, books and supplies is staggering. These teachers are doing good work with their VERY limited resources. I also spent time with the children at St John’s school, playing with them during recess. Then the women of our team met with the Girls of Promise at St John’s. What a blessing to see the hope and potential in these young girls!
Yesterday the men on the team did their farm work and continued working on the benches they are building for classrooms at St John’s School. We women traveled to the capitol city of Monrovia to visit the Liberian Annual Conference office and do some shopping! The conditions of the roads here are hard to explain, but this 17 mile trip took us 2+ hours, each way. At the conference office, we attended their weekly Wednesday morning worship, met with their Director of Connectional Ministries, and met with their Volunteers in Mission Coordinator. The Director of Communications interviewed Cathy about Farmer to Farmer, and this interview will be broadcasted on the United Methodist radio station here.
After the conference office, we went shopping at a large local market called Happy Corner. And we were indeed happy as we bought fabric for our dresses that will be made. We had lunch at a local American restaurant and I ordered a Philly cheesesteak that actually resembled a real Philly cheesesteak more than some of the imposters I’ve been served in the States! And the good news is that all of us were served what we ordered! A first for our restaurant experiences here! After lunch, we did grocery shopping in an American market, went to a stationary store and then came home. A good day!
Today we will meet with the Girls of Promise at the Lutheran School and tonight I am preaching at a Pentecostal Church here in Harrisburg. I can only imagine how lively Liberian Pentecostal worship will be! Your prayers are appreciated.
Until next time, peace …
A rural gas station!