Monday, February 6, 2012

Day One

In case you didn't know, I arrived in Liberia yesterday afternoon. My flight was uneventful, and after about 17 hours from the time I left my home in Fayetteville, I was touching down in Liberia. To my surprise, it wasn't hot (I think they said on the plane that it was 86 degrees)--I was fine in jeans and a t-shirt! The airport here can be chaotic, but yesterday's arrival takes the cake! After being hassled by the immigration officer, I entered the baggage claim room. There's a small conveyor belt, and not enough room for people and bags and carts to move around. The walls are lined with air-conditioners, but of course, they weren't on. Apparently the belly of the plane was full of refugee bags, and there were just mounds in the corners of the room. Everyone was digging through the piles to find their bags. The man that I sat next to on the plane and I decided that we would share a cart and try to find our bags. It took us nearly an hour! I was greeted outside by the entire crew--Deb, Cramer, Alvina, Kingsley and Sam. We loaded up in the truck and drove the 40 minutes or so back to the house.

The highlight of the evening was surprising Momo. We managed to successfully keep it a secret that I was coming back, so Momo had no clue. He was calling me about once a week to ask me when I was coming back, but I just kept telling him "soon." Because Momo wasn't expecting me, he opened the gate like usual. As we drove in past him, I starred at him and it took him a second, and then his jaw dropped! It was the funniest thing...he shut the gate as quickly as possible and ran up to the truck to give me a big hug. And of course, he was giggling the whole time. After unloading my bags and surprising Momo's wife Marthalyn, we hopped back in the truck and headed to one of our favorite restaurants to grab dinner. We came back to the house and I unpacked all of the goodies for everyone, but couldn't bring myself to unpack my things. I closed my bags up for the night, said goodbye to my straight hair and took a cold shower outside under the clouds. I was able to sleep for a few hours, but then just laid in bed from 2-5am. Around 9:30am I sensed a dark shadow on my porch, so I murmered "Momo" with my eyes closed. He started laughing and quickly said, "Morning Asslee, it reaching need to get up and take some hot water. You're not in America anymore." It's so true--I'm not in America anymore, and Momo is at my window.

I was pretty tired today, but I hit the ground running. I joined the Monday morning ORR staff meeting in my PJs--it was great to hug Monica, Piko and Ma Mary. Then Joseph came inside for handshakes and hugs. We finished our meeting and then went to town to run some errands. We came back to the house for a quick regroup and then headed to Frances Gaskins. I was exhausted, but wanted to see my kiddos! Only two of the kids (Jogma and Naomi) knew that I was arriving yesterday, so I laid down in the back seat of the truck to surprise everyone. As we pulled into the yard, Jeremiah saw me in the back and sent out the alert. I opened the door to screaming children, while the door on the other side flung open and kids were climbing through to hug my neck.

Small Joshua isn't so small anymore!
Jogma came running. She was giggling, and hugged my neck multiple time. She was so happy! And then Joshua was brought outside. I couldn't believe how big he is! He will be 6 months old in a few weeks! He's pretty stinking cute, and looks just like his mom. After greeting everyone else, we sat around and just talked and laughed. Jogma had made me a surprise and she presented me with a doll that she had made the clothes for. She just whipped it up for me (and one for Deb) over the weekend. It was pretty sweet, and she's excited to show me how she made them. She made sure that I had some sewing projects for her too! After about 2 hours of sitting under the plum tree talking, it was time to come home for dinner. Ma Mary made me my favorite--pumpkin with pineapple. YUM! 
My doll on the left and Deb's doll on the right.
After dinner, Momo and I were outside in the yard planning for our garden. We've already got a plan, and we planted tomatoes in a greenhouse. We want tomatoes in Liberia, so we're hoping this little greenhouse thing that I brought over will work! We just need to buy some 'black dirt' and then we'll  get a bucket kit situated under a thatch covering and then start planting!

Afterwards, I decided to go ahead and unpack my things. I've spent the past few hours working up a sweat--unpacking, organizing, sweeping and cleaning. Everything is covered in a thick layer of dust! I took a quick shower and sat down to have another bowl of rice and pumpkin. Our new kitten Manyeh is curled up in my lap and the fan is blowing on us. I'm totally exhausted, and going to go jump in bed to enjoy some more 'fan time' before the generator goes off.

There are so many small things that remind me that I'm back in Liberia. Flushing the toilet with a bucket, the outdoor showers, slow internet, the hum of the generator, sitting out on the porch talking with security guards, the crazy driving, people everywhere, people living life on the side of the road, tucking in the mosquito at night, the laughter and dancing of children, the laid back attitude where there's plenty of time to sit around and talk with friends. All good things, with an occasional frustrating thing. Anyway, this is long and probably boring so I'll end there.

Lucky--the same girl who's at the top of the blog.
It was a good first day back in Liberia. I'm just hoping to get some more sleep tonight, and then it's off to see the kiddos at Danny Feeney tomorrow!

Love in Liberia,

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

*Sigh* reminds me so much of my beautiful, most longed for second home. I love your posts, so real and fresh. Keep it up.

Were all praying for you over here.