November 24, 2013
We are in Liberia!! The plane ride wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Turns out I can survive a 14 hour flight. I did experience some motion sickness in the night, because of extended turbulence, but nothing too bad. My brain is dead right now, so I can’t think enough to write. All I know is I am hot, lethargic, and exhausted. God sustain me!
November 25, 2013
This morning I woke up feeling very tired and weak. I barely slept because one of the team was sleep walking, our fan stopped working, and dogs were barking outside. I ate some plantains for breakfast, then after waiting (I’ve realized we’ll have to do a lot of that here), we got on the road. Because of the construction and rough roads, we decided to wait to travel to Gbarnga this morning. The ride started out smooth, but before long, we were bumping and swerving all over the place. I started getting dizzy but after we stopped for the bathroom and got rained on while waiting, I started feeling better. The ride was great because we were able to see a large part of Liberia. But 5 hours of bumpy roads does lead to nausea and stiffness.
We arrived safely in Gbarnga at 2:30pm (Liberian time). Based on our arrival, we changed plans and ate a snack lunch and organized supplies. Our original hotel did not have A/C so we ended up at the Passion Hotel – with electricity from 6pm to 2am and then from 5am to 7am. At 4:30pm, we traveled to the school where our first meeting was to be held. As soon as we got there, we had to move to Plan, uh, D? About 300 kids and teens were packed into a tiny schoolhouse. With the body heat and no air movement, it was about 110 degrees.
We ended up introducing ourselves and doing the dance I choreographed to “Hello My Name Is”. The noise in the room was too loud for any of us to project our voices to the back of the room. A Liberian dance group did a dance for us as well. They were amazing. I don’t think they realized we weren’t trying to perform but to minister. Since there was no way for us to continue and even the Liberians were sweating in the heat, we all went outside. Some of the women had prepared a hot meal for the children. All of us had a chance to interact with the children and teens. Although we could not understand each other very well, we shared names and smiles. The little girls were so sweet and wanted to be hugged and held. Some of the young boys would run up to one of us white girls to quickly say, “You’re beautiful,” and then run away. A lot of the teen boys wanted to be introduced to us. One of them insisted on getting my contact info, and I had to patiently repeat my “no” over and over. Overall it was so honoring to see the interest and affection of the Liberians.