Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pray for Gifty

Let me introduce you to Gifty.

We've (well, mainly Andrew) has been advocating through hospitals for her this last week or so. About one month ago, Gifty was placed at one of the orphanages that we're involved with. Her mother died from hepatitis, and her father is not in the picture. A neighbor lady started to take care of Gifty after her mom died, but the lady was leaving Gifty with other people to go and sell in the market. A neighbor of the orphanage asked if they could take her in, and they did.

Gifty is very thin...the thinnest child I have seen in Liberia. She is 14 months old, and weighs just over 11 pounds! Her forearms aren't much bigger than my thumb. Her belly is distended and full of air and liquid. The whites of her big, beautiful black eyes are very yellow. She is very septic right now, but has been going through antibiotic treatment.

After getting her admitted to Island Hospital (run by MSF), and after a number of tests, we learned that Gifty has a liver disease where her body does not produce bile. If she lived somewhere else in the world, and had access to quality healthcare, she would have received a liver transplant within the first month or two of her life. Now it is too late. The only chance for Gifty to live a normal life is to get a live transplant, but we are in Liberia, and that will not happen here.

We got Gifty transferred to Benson Hospital (also run by MSF) this week, and now we are just waiting. We don't know what Gifty's future looks like. The doctor has told us that it will be a continuous cycle--septic, treatment, septic, treatment--but we don't know how long the cycle will last.

I met Gifty yesterday, and I can tell that despite her condition, she is a strong little thing! She made it clear that she wasn't happy, and also that she wasn't quite sure if she wanted to be my friend. I think next time, I need to take Andrew's approach and just eat her up with kisses...maybe that will work? But seriously, I'm asking that you pray for Gifty. Pray for healing...pray for a miracle!

I will keep you updated.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday, Monday

Monday mornings here in Liberia are always the same--you eventually learn that you're not going to get out of the house early and there's no need to make plans on Monday. Monday's just never go your way.

On that note, today's been a weird day. There's been alot of off and on rain, which complicates things. I've felt weird today. Other people have been weird today. I've had alot of mixed feelings today. Just a strange rainy Monday.

But, I was reminded today why I love Liberia. I played frisbee in the pouring down rain for about 2 hours with a few kids in Cotton Tree today. It was one of those times when you could care less about how soaking wet you are; you are just having fun with a few kids who don't really know how to throw a frisbee. After a few lessons..."you pu yoh finga here, an you do like dis and den you chunk ee" (or something like that)...they were having a ball.

I think all Monday mornings should include frisbee with a few kiddos in the rain.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Road to VOA

First of all, rain and dirt roads do not mix. Today I went out to VOA to check on Salome and her kids. I was also dropping off 4 weeks worth of food--4 bags of rice, 2bags of bulgarwheat, 4 tins of powdered milk and 1 tin of palm oil--and some new slippers! The kids looked good, and everything seemed to be going pretty well. School is in session, and they have over 200 students coming from the community! We are currently building a brand new orphanage home and school for them, and I cannot wait until we can move them from where they are (squatting in an old building in an abandoned discplacement camp) to their new place (just outside of the Firestone plantation, on property they own, where they can grow their own food, and just a "real neighborhood").

Anyway, I wanted to show you what the road looks like to get to their orphanage. Now, this was the return trip (the going trip took much longer and we also had a few hundred pounds worth of food in the back...we were bottom-ing out ALOT)...but, this gives you an idea of what roads do when it rains here. And, we're doing this in a little Sunny station wagon...no 4-wheel drive or anything. Sam is the master driver! And, yes, the kids are screaming in the beginning about the 'wha womah takin mah pitcha'. HAHA!

Don't worry, a kid video is coming up next time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greetings From Liberia!

I made it safe and sound! I'm sitting in my living room, with my feet propped up, listening to the hum of the generator and on the internet!?! WOOHOO! The trip was pretty uneventful, and I got a decent amount of sleep between the two flights. It was 86 degrees and fairly cloudy when we landed, so the ride from the airport with the windows down was almost chilly!?

I've only been here for a few hours, but I'm already seeing people. Sam, my faithful taxi driver picked us up at the airport (with Andrew and Cramer, of course….the jeep’s out of commission right now). Momo and some of the neighborhood kids were waiting on the road for us, and then Emmanuel, Moses and One Love were waiting on the driveway. I walked down the street to say hello to our neighbors, and then came back to get settled in.

I’m already feeling at home. I’ve unpacked and got myself semi-organized. I had a bowl of rice with collard greens and plantains for dinner (YUM!)….it made my lips tingle, but I’m sure I’ll be used to the spice again soon. I had a freezing cold shower outside, and now I’m sitting in my very own living room online! Can't beat that!

Anyway, just wanted to say a quick hello from Liberia. I hit the ground running in the morning because it’s Thursday—food delivery day! It will be so good to see all of the kids. Hopefully I'll be able to get some pics and/or videos up tomorrow.

Goodnight from Liberia!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leavin' On A Jetplane

The time has come! I'm stressed and excited and full of butterflies and jitters and excitement and anticipation and everything else! I just have to do one last "weigh the bag" exercise and then I'm leaving for the airport. My flight is at 5:15pm, and I'll arrive in Brussels at 8am tomorrow (local time). I will have a 4 hour layover, and then it's on to Monrovia! I should get to Monrovia around 5pm (1pm Atlanta time).

Thank you all for your prayers and support! I can't wait to update you all when I get on the ground!

LIB, here I come!!

The Final Countdown

It's 1:30am, and I'm about to go to bed. I think I should probably wake up around 8am to finish packing! Why does packing always take longer than you expect it to!? Oh yea, that's because I procrastinate.

Anyway, my room is a mess, I'm still updating my iTunes, my bags are open, half empty and unweighed (don't worry, everything's laid out and ready to be thrown in...I just don't want to be space-saving and lugging heavy bags to the scale at this hour!). But have no fear...I will get it all done!

I said goodbye to my sister tonight because she will be up at 4am for clinicals and won't see me before I leave--but I guess at least the hardest one is out of the way! I was doing just fine until she started crying. And after I composed myself and kept packing, she came back for one last hug. I'm the most sad about leaving because of her...she's my best friend, and when I come home in December, she will be days away from being a married woman.

I'll post once more before I leave for the airport! My flight to Brussels is at 5:15pm, and as of about an hour ago, there were still about 30 seats available! Thank you all for your prayers!

Ok, I think I'm going to bed! My last night's sleep in America.

P.S. I got wonderful news today--we officially have internet at the house in Liberia! Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Chapter, New Look

I've been messing around in html world for about 2 hours...ugh!

What do you think about the new look?

I also thought it would be best to put a picture in the header that makes you (or at least, me) smile everytime I look at it. That is Lucky. And yes, she is always like that. And she's an orphan, living without alot of things, but check out her joy?!

I'm leaving for Liberia a week from today. [oh man, I need to take my malaria pill!]

I am still in need of some finances, so if you feel lead, please use the 'donate' button on the right hand side. Above all else, please continue to pray for me, Orphan Relief and Rescue, my team, Liberia and the children (like Lucky) who are in desperate need of basic necessities and the love of Christ.

Home Again

I'm home from Seattle. 

I took the red-eye home on Saturday night, landed in Atlanta at 5:20am and slept until 3:15! It was so good to be home, in my own bed...I'd been living out of a suitcase for the last 2 weeks. I had the best time in Seattle. Thank you to all of those who were praying for the week! 

The ORR team had such a great time hanging out, bonding, learning more about each other, hiking, boating, drinking lots of coffee, eating the best salmon ever, playing shuffleboard, learning, sharing, growing and praying together! On Friday morning,  we spent 2+ hours just laying hands on each other and praying...I think that was one of the highlights. Other highlights included: playing shuffleboard for about 3 hours--guys against girls, going across the Sound on the boat to Blake Island and spending the afternoon hiking, sitting near the water at Alki, seeing my roommate from my freshman year of college (we always happen to be in distant cities at the same time), having girl talk over Ben & Jerry's almost every night and finally getting to meet The Ghetto Quilter!

I only took a handful of pictures, and I didn't pick up any souvenirs. But, the week was a great foundation for the next 3 months! And, I came home with a stack of swanky new business cards!

Friday, September 5, 2008


I'm loving Seattle, but I'm also freezing! I haven't seen temps below 75 degrees since February, so I've been in jeans, hoodies and socks...and still cold. But, it's absolutely BEAUTIFUL here! I really would like to come back and do some more outdoorsy things! I just wanted to share a few pics with you. More to come.

P.S.I think I'm coming home on Saturday.

Monday, September 1, 2008

It's Been a Long Week

Sorry I haven't been around. I've been working on a HUGE event for my job...I have a super duper job at a radio station here in Atlanta when I'm home! Anyway, we put on a huge show yesterday, so I've been living in a hotel this past week...with no time for an update. Let's just say, yesterday was a 19 1/2 hour long day! I'm exausted. I came home and unpacked, and then turned right around to pack again because I'm leaving in the morning to head to Seattle. At least it's a 5+ hour flight out there....I think some sleep is in store!

I'm going to Seattle for some teambuilding activities. I'm really looking foward to seeing my teammates (and meeting a new teammate!) who I haven't seen for a few months. And I'm alittle excited because I've never been to Seattle, I'm going to get to see a roommate from my freshman year of college, and I'm finally going to meet Mrs. Ghetto Quilter herself! We're going to be getting ready to head back to Liberia in a few weeks! I'll be in Seattle until Friday, and then when I come home I will only have alittle more than a week until I leave for Liberia!?! I can hardly believe that it's time to go back.

So, you guys can just keep us all in your prayers this week. That we would really meld together and just have a great time spending the week together. You can also pray for Cramer who's been holding down the fort in Liberia by himself this last month. And, of course, you can pray for the children and orphanages that we work with in Liberia!