Friday, July 4, 2008

Team Liberia

I want to introduce you to the wonderful team of Liberians who I couldn’t live without! These people work so hard to serve us so that we can focus on ministering to Liberia’s orphans. To wash your clothes or to cook a meal would literally take you all day here. So, we can either be hungry and smelly and working, or we can have gracious people do things for us so that we can get our work done.

My Liberian Ma: Mary
If Mary wasn’t in my life, I would be very hungry and very lost. Mary tirelessly cooks dinner for us Monday thru Friday. She is indeed the best cook in all of Liberia! Whether it’s cassava, palm butter, collard greens, pumpkin soup or okra soup for dinner—it always tastes delicious! Mary also coordinates all of the food purchasing and deliveries for our feeding program, which makes my job easier! She’s a very smart lady with a great business sense…she works for us, and runs 2 small businesses on the side (making block and selling charcoal). She is a single mom to 2 boys who are being put through school with the money Mary earns. She has just recently purchased a piece of land, and would like to start building a new house for her family after rainy season. Mary is a godly woman and a true servant, and she can usually be found in the kitchen singing church songs or praying out loud. We are VERY lucky to have Mary as our Liberian Ma!

Chief Security Officer: Momo
Momo keeps me safe and protected in Liberia. He also serves as a source of endless entertainment and I have spent many hours sitting on the porch ‘discussing’ with Momo. Momo is 25 years old, and has 3 children. Two of his children (7 year old twins) live just down the street, so they stop by every now and then. Momo is in charge of all things security at the house, but he also is a handyman, water pump operator, generator starter, dog sitter, neighborhood watchman, children wrangler, football game chaperone, bodyguard, curfew enforcer (I have to be inside the fence when it gets dark), etc. He also manages the schedule for our security team, and deals with any problems. He has been known to patrol the house by walking on top of our wall…sometimes with our dog following right behind him. He also has the capability of eating almost every plum off of our plum tree in the backyard. I’ve also caught Momo standing on our wall at 2am with a flashlight and cutlass in hand, yelling “Get off my wall or I will chop you”! He’s incredibly funny, but more importantly; he’s very devoted to his job, to us and to helping the children.

Assistant TO the Chief Security Officer: One Love
(Ok, so I just had to say it like that for you Office fans. It’s a great way to take a load off at the end of the day in Liberia…or anywhere)

One Love’s main duty is to provide us with hours of entertainment. He usually does his job the best between when we finish eating dinner and when the generator gets turned on…there’s only so much you can do when it’s too dark inside to be inside, but not dark enough to warrant turning on the generator. He also donates is mean bark when there’s something wrong, and lately his deep-bellied cries have served as my wakeup call. He’s absolutely hilarious and dumb…which tends to be the kind of pets I have anyway. He’s recently discovered life outside of our fence, and tries to sneak out at any possible opportunity. Right before I left Liberia, One Love went outside the fence and came back with an injured back foot. He spent the last few days hopping around on 3 legs, which was pretty funny. Life is rough outside the fence! I think I’m actually going to miss One Love for the few months that I’m gone.

Security Guard #1: Emmanuel

Emmanuel is my security guard from 6pm-6am seven days a week! He is 24 years old, and is in the 12th grade. I don’t know how he functions with his grueling schedule. I have spent many evenings on the front porch with Emmanuel, listening to his amazing stories of surviving Liberia’s civil wars…he should have been dead, more than once. He was taken to Guinea when he was 7 years old by the Red Cross, and lived in a refugee camp for 4+ years. When he came back to Monrovia once things calmed down, he walked 4 hours a day to go to school! Emmanuel became a street hustler/money changer/scratch card seller, but his friend accused him of stealing, which landed him in Monrovia Central Prison. He became our security guard after he was released from an 8 month stint in prison. Emmanuel’s life was changed through Prison Fellowship and Emmanuel faithfully goes to the prison every Saturday to minister to the guys who are experiencing what he once experienced. Emmanuel has a tendency to show up for work late, is usually wearing a big puffy pastel orange down jacket (since it’s so cold here!), and after making his presence known, he usually wanders back outside of the fence for awhile. He likes to sit on top of the wall with One Love to watch the neighborhood kids play. He also likes to lift his homemade weights, and he’s a loyal generator starter and water bucket filler-upper. Emmanuel hopes to go to college to study business or economics…but he’s also interested in social work.

Security Guard #2: Foday

Foday is the newest addition to the ORR staff in Liberia. Apparently he used to always come by our gate and ask if we had any jobs available. When our other security guard quit, we knew exactly who would like a job. Foday’s been with us for only 3 weeks now, so I haven’t gotten to know him as well as the others, and haven’t discovered too many quirks yet. He either works 10pm-10am or 6am-6pm shift (alternates with Momo). Foday has a lovely wife and two sons (9 & 12 years old). He never fails to ask how my morning/night is, and usually sticks around after his shift has ended. He’s good at making bread and egg runs in the morning. He hopes to one day be able to go to college so that he can provide for his family in a more substantial way.

Clothes Washer Extraordinaire: Cynthia

Cynthia is currently on maternity leave…she just had twin girls this past weekend! Mom and babies are all doing well. Washing clothes in Liberia is very hard work—you have to haul the water you use, and you wash with a ball of soap and a washboard. It’s an all morning job, and it usually takes her into the early afternoon to wash clothes for the 3 of us. When Cynthia is washing our clothes (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday—weather permitting), she does a great job! I didn’t realize how great she was at doing laundry until we had to find a temporary replacement. Cynthia is very quiet, and doesn’t say much. She shows up in the morning with a smile on her face, and she goes to work. I haven’t seen the twins yet, but I’ve been told that they’re pretty stinkin’ cute! I’m looking forward to getting to know Cynthia better when I come back.

1 comment:

Brandi said...

Awe. . I can't wait to get to Liberia and meet your team there!

Hey, do you know if all the money came through and the nets got passed out? I think we raised enough for 147 nets! I didn't know who was finishing the job now that you are stateside.