Sunday, March 24, 2013

The First Few Days

The last few days have really flown by! It's still that strange Liberian time wrap--the days are long, but a string of days goes by quickly. It's been nice to take it easy these first few days too. There have already been so many mixed feelings and emotions. So much joy and laughter and excitement...but I also crawled into bed last night and just cried.
Naomi taking her laundry off the line.
But let's back-track.

I made it to Liberia with no problems. Everything went incredibly smoothly and God kept giving me little reminders of His faithfulness. I didn't get much sleep on my flights, but His reminders kept me going [and giggling]. My flight arrived early (??!!) and I breezed through immigration, baggage claim and customs. The customs officer commented on my strength to lift my bag and I told him that you had to be strong to be here. He laughed, said it was true, and welcomed me home. As soon as I walked out of the airport, Cramer was just pulling up, so I hopped in the truck and we were on our way to the house.

Everything here is so familiar, but it has changed so much! And when I say change, I mean there are new buildings along the road and buildings have new paint colors, but beyond that it’s still the all too familiar Liberia. About half way home, I commented that it still didn’t seem real that I was in Liberia. Three days later, I know I'm here, but it's a very different feeling...I'm in a new place with different people, some children in the orphanages are new and some aren't there anymore, kids are taller and healthier, and life is very different when you're able to get quality sleep at night. [I woke up this morning with that familiar daze of knowing you slept last night, but feeling like you hadn't.]

That's one thing I've already realized--quality of life here makes a HUGE difference! I’m staying with the amazing Laird family, and they are spoiling me! Their house has an air-conditioning unit, 24/7 electricity, running water AND I have a ceiling fan on at night! Oh, and they also live right on the beach! 
Eh, Momo!

On Friday, I took time to just take it easy in the morning. I was able to get more than 8 hours of sleep and woke up around 8am. I unpacked, played with the Laird kiddos, ate breakfast and slowly made my way to the ORR house. I spent time with Momo and his family and Elena while I waited to leave for Frances Gaskin. When we arrived at FG, it was kind of funny because there were only a handful of kids there because there was a school soccer game going on. Once the kids at the field got word that I was here, they started trickling in. I thought I was going to get knocked down by the running hugs from the older girls! The smaller kids were excited and there were lots of hugs and handshakes, but then it was like I had never left....everybody was just doing their own Friday afternoon, under the plum tree thing.

I spent the afternoon sitting with Jogma and Cyrus--talking, laughing, taking pictures, answering questions and dreaming about the future. It was a pretty perfect low-key day! Elena said her goodbyes and then we came home to eat burgers for dinner. Then Elena and I went on a date to Kendeja--girls night with ice cream and chocolate that I brought from the States. We sat outside on the deck, enjoying the ocean breeze and the drumbeats of a cultural performance, and caught up with each other. Again, another perfectly low-key way to spend the evening.

Celebration bubbles on the beach.
Yesterday morning we had a 'memorial service' for our friend Lamie. We sat on the front porch, talked about his life and how he changed ours, had soft drinks and everyone got one bite of a plum. Then last night, me, Elena and Momo walked down to the beach for the rest of the memorial service. I brought some bubbles with me to Liberia for the purpose of blowing 'celebration bubbles' to celebrate Lamie's life. We sat on the beach for awhile while we talked and blew our bubbles. 
My view this morning. It's been awhile...
I decided to sleep at the ORR house last night since it was Elena's last night in Liberia. I was alittle worried that I'd be sweating all night and not get any sleep, but thankfully I was never hot. I did, however, spend alot of time praying that the neighbor would turn off their loud and annoying generator. I think I got my best sleep between 6-9am. Elena left this evening, so I am back at the Laird's house tonight.

I feel like that's a boring overview of my first few days in Liberia. Tomorrow I will be back at Frances Gaskin, and starting on Tuesday, I will start to visit the kiddos at the other orphanages. It's going to be a good week!
Spending time on the front porch today with ORR's newest security guard, Sackie!
You can continue to pray for my time here. With all of the mixed emotions, it could be easy to get distracted or frustrated. I think being with the kids this week will really help with that! I will have the mornings free, so I'm looking forward to spending time in the kitchen with Ma Mary, or sitting on the front porch with Momo. Keep praying for clarity, divine appointments and vision.

Thank you all so much for praying for my safe arrival and easy adjustment. I don’t really have jet lag and I have been pleasantly surprised by the temperature. It hasn’t been terribly hot and there has been a pretty constant breeze. Apparently the weather patterns are really changing here--there’s already been rain, the temps have been cooler, the plums are already on the trees and the sea has been rough. All are very un-Liberian for this time of year!

I hope to give you some updates and photos tomorrow!
Love in Liberia,

No comments: