Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Feet, I've Got Those Happy Feet!

Today I went to Childcare Foundation Orphanage Home to give all of the kids a new pair of shoes! New shoes are exciting because usually we deliver new slippers (flip-flops). So this afternoon, we gathered up all of the kids, gave them all a new pair of socks and then started digging through boxes and bags full of donated shoes to try to find a pair that would fit each child. I've decided--velcro shoes are the best! Everything was under control until people from all around the community started gathering around to see what was going on and children who didn't live there were trying to get in on the shoe giveaway. I'd love to dress the whole community, but we just don't have the resources for that, so we had to tell the people that the shoes were only for the children living in the home. Anyway, here are a few pictures with some happy children with happy feet!

P.S. Thank you to our friends at Mercy Ships, Universal Outreach and the UN for donating today's shoes! If you're interested in helping to build or restock our shoe supply, leave me a message and I'll get in touch with you!
[New socks, waiting for new shoes. New shoes all around!]
[Happy kiddos. My Liberian kiddo (Koiboi) gets cool kicks.]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Yesterday was a good day! Debbie and I, along with a new-found friend Brenda spent the day at two orphanage homes looking at teeth! Brenda is a dental hygienist that will be in Liberia for about 4 month working with Trinity Dental Clinic. TDC has been gracious to provide their services free of charge, as well as giving up their time to work with our orphanage homes.

In Liberia, there are 3 liscensed dentists for the 3.5 million people who live here! It's almost hard to imagine...we take our dentist visits for granted. Because of the lack of dental care here, most of the children have never been to the dentist. And, they're lucky if they own a toothbrush. They don't understand the importance to taking care of their teeth. Next time you're dreading going to the dentist, just remember how blessed you are!

All of the children from yesterday can use a serious teeth cleaning session, while other children are going to need large cavitives filled or decaying teeth pulled. We plan to take in a few children at at time, starting with the ones who are most in need. It's such a blessing that Trinity is helping us out and providing their services for our kids! And, it will be an interesting time....I wonder how many children we will have to drag into the clinic kicking and screaming??

A huge thank you to Brenda, for giving up her day at work....and for all of the teeth cleanings she's going to do for us down the road. An even bigger thank you to Keith & Frieda (Founders of TDC) who are providing all of the services for the children...and letting us steal Brenda for awhile!

In other exciting news....while we were at one home yesterday, we got our first taste of rainy season. We watched as the black clouds moved in, and then the wind started and the dust was flying! We all took off running into the school building and spent a good 20 minutes or so inside while it poured....Debbie asked where the hurricane was....I told her just wait until June, July and August!

[Check out the hurricane winds blowing the trees and the "flashing" rain!!]

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vitamins4Liberia Update

For those of you who donated vitamins, I thought I'd give you a vitamin update! I was able to put about 500 gummy vitamins in my suitcase, while the other 8,500 or so are on a shipping container that should arrive in early May. The kids have absolutely loved the gummies! They are always asking me about my candy. Little do they know, it's candy that's good for them! Thanks to everyone who donated vitamins!!

Today Marks One Month

I can't believe that it's already been one month! My first month here in Liberia has flown by. And, I know, I'm a slacker when it comes to updating the blog. I've had really good intentions to post stories and pictures, but by the time I sit down at the computer at night, I don't have the patience or brain power. But, in celebration of my one month mark, I'm going to make an effort to keep you all updated on things!

For some reason, this week has been full of ridiculous situations. Just within the past 2 days, I have said, "Only in Liberia. This is one for the blog." more than a few times. For instance, last night, I was walking to the beach and this little girl in front of me was walking with, what appeared to be, a dead bat on a string...and, she was swinging it around above her head like a helicopter. Today, thanks to an man, we collectively learned that it would have been better to do a U-turn in the middle of the street and block traffic verses politely turning left onto the driveway of the Executive Mansion to turn around. In my latest run in with the LNP, I argued with a police officer for 30 minutes...apparently it was the car's fault that Cramer was driving without his license, but they wanted him to drive to the police station so they could impound it (uh, hello? remember, the no license thing?) Thank goodness that 3 minutes after they finally let us go, Cramer found his license in his pocket. We could only laugh...T.I.A.

In all seriousness though, things have been going well. Being back 'on the ground' is great. I will be honest and say that I am still struggling though. I'm still searching for that balance and I've been spending alot of time thinking. I feel like I'm on the verge of something good, but I have to trudge through some muck (frustration and doubt) first. You can be praying for me...that I would find my passion and run with it. You can also pray that God would take away all of my frustrations, fears and doubts.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I promise I will do a much better job of keeping the blog updated!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saturday in Buchanan

We took a day trip to Buchanan this weekend. I've always heard stories about Buchanan and seen pictures of the beaches, but this was my first visit. We woke up around 5:45am and were expecting the rest of the crew around 6:30am--supposedly there's something magical about being up before the sun and frying bread by candlelight. (Note: I am in NO way a morning person!) After a quick breakfast, Team ORR, plus two friends and a driver loaded up two 4Runners and hit the road.

Buchanan is southeast of Monrovia, and it is the 2nd largest port in the country. To get to Buchanan, you have to drive towards the airport, and go into Firestone, and then back out of Firestone at Cotton Tree, and you stay on that road all of the way to Buchanan. We had heard different things....Buchanan was 1.5 hours away, while someone else said 45 minutes or so. We were also told that the road had been fixed. I was in the car with the Liberian driver...let's just say we hit our heads on the ceiling a few times and felt either carsick or tense often. It took us 3 hours to get to Buchanan, and then another 30 minutes to get to the farthest away, most secluded beach. We actually took a dirt road (and our own jungle road) until it ended at the mouth of the river.
We spent the afternoon hanging out on the beach (under our LoneStar umbrella), swimming in the ocean and the river mouth, playing with the village children, reading our books under the shade of palm trees, getting some hammock time...and then there were those who surfed and bodyboarded. I would absolutely love to go back...even a weekend camping trip. I think next time we might not go all of the way to the end of the road because there's a small village right there. Not only did we feel like we were invading, but our R&R was invaded by all of the children who wanted to play. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time playing with the kids, telling them stories, swimming and some even got to take a ride on a bodyboard. But a quiet beach trip is nice too! After changing a flat tire (there always has to be some problem with one vehicle), we headed back into town to get the tire repaired and grab a cold coke. We left Buchanan around 5 and got back to our house around 8. The road was so dusty (and our driver insisted on following sooo closely) that by the time we got home I told Momo that I had gone to Buchanan for the day and turned Liberian. I was covered in dust!! My hair turned into mud when I got in the shower! It was a great Saturday at the beach!

[Jungle road. Stay right at the "sculpture garden".]

[Beach all to ourselves. Where the river mouth meets the ocean.]

[This is what I looked like after only the dusty road from the beach back into town. Imagine what I looked like 3 hours later!]