I’m writing this at about 1am your time so HAPPY
NEW YEAR! I was just too tired
last night to stay up and write this.
Also, 5 of us are leaving for the other side of Gbarnga this morning where we’ll stay for 3
days. So this site will not be
updated until at least Saturday night.
You can continue to follow the 12Stone team through their blog at www.weliberia.blogspot.com.
This morning everyone’s up and ready in time for
the 8am devotional and prayer time.
Yanni lead this morning’s session.
The we had breakfast and began the
process of getting everyone into the proper vehicle.
What we’re calling generator Team 1 (Brent, Yanni,
Matt and Collin) are going to Pastor Wesley’s Greater Love compound to do
the final placement and hook up the primary wiring, cutoff box and inside
Team 2 Jose, Miles, David and Baimba are going to Diana
Davies Orphanage where they first build the generator building and then
hook up the generator, run wire to the job skills building and also put
lights and outlets into the building.
(It turns out later that Baimba actually goes to Greater Love so
that he can get back home in time to take his mother to the airport at
Team 3 Belynn, Danielle, Stacy and Emily are being
split into two groups. Belynn and
Danielle will be going to a Christian non-profit group called Think. They operate a home for children that
have been sexually abused. It
works like a half-way house in that they average child is only there for
about a month as they receive counseling, health care and love designed
to prepare them to continue in life after enduring such a catastrophic
interruption to normalcy. I
remember seeing the statistics as to the number of young girls in Liberia
who have been raped and it was staggeringly high. A few years ago the BBC published a
figure of girls in high school who were prostituting themselves so they
would have money to eat and go to school.
It was over 50% at that time.
Emily and Stacy will be working in the medical
clinic at Diana Davies and leading activities with the children.
Elizabeth and I will be going to SN Brussels to
confirm her flight out tonight, then we’ll try
to get her some additional pictures for her project. If possible we’ll make a quick visit to
each generator site and try to let Elizabeth find a gift to take back to
a couple of friends.
Since I was going to be delayed a little in leaving
I sent Elizabeth own with Team 1 and then stopped by to pick her up a
little later. We made it to SN
Brussels okay and the confirmation effort was short and sweet. Unfortunately the office there does not
have access to the NorthWest/KLM computers so
she could only issue Elizabeth a boarding pass into Brussels. She will have to check in again once
she reaches Brussels. I’m not real
pleased with this but there’s nothing to be done. At least she has a 3 hour layover in
Brussels so she should have plenty of time. She should be a seasoned traveler by
the time she gets back to Atlanta.
Karen and Lindi Bearchell will pick her
up at the airport and she’ll spend the night at the Bearchell’s
where Gayla will meet her on the 2nd.
For the next few paragraphs I’ll talk about what
Elizabeth and I did since the other teams are away from us. Then I’ll come back to what the group
reported at last night’s debriefing.
Peter and I were the last to leave the
compound. We drove to Greater Love
and met with the team there as they were getting started. Pastor Wesley already has the generator
house in place plus his buildings are wired as well. So the group just needs to get the
generator adjusted inside the house, hook up the wiring to the cutoff
switch then run wiring inside the closest room where the breaker box will
I pick up Elizabeth and we drive downtown to
confirm her flight at SN Brussels Airlines. We walk in the door and I expect the
normal 45 minute wait but instead we are immediately served by an
agent. It’s the quickest
confirmation I’ve seen to-date.
We leave and begin driving up by the Freeport of
Monrovia in search of signs for Elizabeth to photograph. Along the way we stop at a grocery
store that is much like the grocery stores from my youth. It is small but has a large variety of
foods and drinks. Elizabeth and I
look around for a few moments, she selects a can of Pringles (a little
over $2 US) and we get 2 large bottles of cold water ($1 each). Then I see a weakness of mine… Chicklet gum.
So I get Elizabeth a case (about 50 individual packs) which costs
Since we’re already on this side of town we drive
through the madness of Duala (about 2 miles of solid street vendors
selling all kinds of stuff). There
is so much foot traffic here that you struggle to drive through it. This area alone can take up to ½ hour. Once through Duala we make good
progress to Braville where the orphanage is
Team 2 is there but are spending time with the entire staff and children
at the orphanage. They are under
the outdoor meeting area and Dave is explaining why 12Stone is here. Diana is welcoming the team and setting
the tempo for the day with her staff and children.
Elizabeth and I stay around a while as things get
started and then we’re headed back to Monrovia. There are always problems with the
traffic in Duala but this time it’s worse than normal. We sit still for long periods of time
and finally make it to a place where the police are routing us along a
back road to avoid whatever has happened ahead. Peter doesn’t want to go the way the
officer’s are directing but he finally gives up and goes that way. We snake our way back through an
alleyway for about ¼ mile and then make a right turn for a while then
right again and we’re back on the original road but clear of the
traffic. Going through Monrovia by
the port is also very slow due to the massive amount of traffic.