Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm in Liberia!

Sorry to make you all worry, which I'm sure you all were, right? I admit, I came to the internet cafe unprepared. So to tide you all over, I'm just going to cut and paste the update I sent out. I will come better prepared next time, promise! Thanks for all of your prayers and support.

'Ah-lo' from Liberia!
[that's hello in Liberian-English]

I can't believe that I've already been in Liberia for almost a week! I apologize for those who worried about me arriving safely; this is the first chance I've had to make it to a computer. It has been great checking my email (all 132 emails) and reading all of the emails of encouragement! This first update is going to be short, but the next will have more details.

I arrived without any problems on Monday night! I was able to find the person I was meeting in the Brussels, and because the plane was half empty, Debbie and I were able to sit together and get to know each other (and sleep). When I got off the plane in Monrovia, I thought I landed in the wrong place! It wasn't too hot, the air wasn't thick with smoke, and the airport was repainted and air conditioned?! Other than that, I felt right at home!

This week has been very very busy! On Tuesday I was able to go to BJCCV to see all of my kids! They had no idea I was in Liberia, so needless to say, they were totally shocked! Lots of hugs, smiles and tears! The new school building looks amazing! I have also already visited 9 of the orphanages that ORR is currently doing work at. It was an overwhelming 2 days of alot of traveling, and it was also eye-opening. The children are all so sweet and beautiful; but the needs are tremendous! I spent those 2 days surrounded by children playing with my arm hair (that's new for them), platting my hair (braiding), dusting the dirt off my feet or clothes and basically just starring at me, trying to figure me out. It was been wonderful! At the same time, I've been in a few orphanages that have some great great needs, and those orphanages have broken my heart! I'll go into more detail in my next update.

I was able to go to Mercy Ships on Friday night for dinner. It was my first time going into town, and Monrovia looks GREAT! So many improvements and just the activity of the people on the streets--you can tell things are improving. There's some electricity in town and there's a new gas station that literally blows me away every time I go by, which is awesome!

Now I know you're all wondering about the living conditions. My roommates/coworkers are great! Better than I could have imagined! We've had alot of great times already, and bonded over children, sweat and surfing! My house is super great! Plenty of space and sweet ladies who are taking very good care of us! We have a generator that runs from about 8pm-10pm. No running water...but an amazing outdoor shower that feels great at the end of a long, hot, sweaty day! Mary cooks our meals...and she can cook some mean pumpkin and potato greens! We have 3 security guards who rotate watching our compound, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know them better. And if the security guards weren't enough, we've got a guard dog (One Love) and the most pitiful kitten you've ever seen. They provide for our entertainment when we sit on the porch to cool off at night. (You aren't picky in Liberia)

Anyway, this is really long! And I'm sweating to death, so I need to hop back in the car for a breezy car ride! So yea, God is doing some really great things already, and I'm really looking forward to what He will do! Thanks to everyone who's been praying for me!!

God bless,

P.S. I am changing phone numbers, so I will let you know of my new number as soon as I get it.


Tim said...

Ashley...welcome to Liberia. Great blog, and you're doing wonderful work. My name is Tim, and I work w/the UN at Pan African Plaza, Monrovia. I've been wanting to help out in my spare time w/orphanages. If you have any volunteer opportunities...please call me 06482007. God Bless. Tim

Justus said...

glad you made it!

Anonymous said...

So freakin' cool that you are there!!! Can't wait for those infamous Liberia pictures. :) I hope that you are well and enjoying that beautiful country.

Brandi said...

I'm excited to follow your journey! I have emailed a few times with Andrew and can't wait to read more about your work. We adopted our little boy from Liberia in Dec. and I miss it so much. I'm hoping to come later this year for a well opening (we're raising money for 10 wells in the bush).

Just keep blogging. . we are desparate for all things Liberian!


Leslie said...

I am your Mom's cousin (guess that makes me your second cousin). Karen called my Dad last week to tell him about your work there so here I am checking up on you now. You look sooooo much like your mom in the photo you posted with the children!

The work you're doing is awesome and all of us here in Arkansas will pray that the Lord blesses each and every one of you!