Friday, March 23, 2012


Tuesday - Thursday, March 20-22, 2012


Today both of us felt antsy when on our 2½ hour flight from Freetown to Accra.  It might have been the fact that we also had to cross the water, sitting around in the vaguely air conditioned office at the wharf waiting for our boat ride.  As sweating bodies showed up it seemed that the little bit of cool air was not enough--standing by the railing catching the warm sea breezes became a better option.  The boat ride across the water was actually my favorite part of the day as we left the windows next to us open and the sea spray hit my arm and even my sunglasses—it was so refreshing in the stifling heat of the afternoon.  I noticed later that a combination of salt and dirt was glued to my face and hair—it is always grueling to travel here.  Jim sweated the whole day till he got on the plane.  My white shirts last one wearing and there is nothing better than a shower to wash off the dust of the day.  I think I have just enough clothes to finish the trip since I washed all my dirty clothes when in Kenema. We enjoyed a nice rest at the Novotel in Accra before taking off the next afternoon for Liberia

Airport in Accra, waiting to travel to Liberia.  Jim took this picture with his laptop.  


Bundor picked us up and took us on the long drive to our hotel.  It is so nice to finally unpack most of my suitcase, even though we’ll only be here three days.  I think I forgot to mention that Bundor has an interesting sidelight—he is a musician, writer and singer and has made records, using backup singers.  One of the CDs he made had to do with various parts of hygiene training.  We heard another song he recorded during a hard time in his life when he was left helpless (this was 2-3 years ago) He sang that no matter what problems he had his God would be with him.  His voice is very pleasant and he writes songs that are easy to listen to.  We also found out that when he was young he worked as a sailor on a ship that delivered cargo.  During the war he was employed by the Red Cross and ended up afterwards digging wells, constructing latrines, and doing extensive hygiene training.

Jim wondered why I wasn’t annoyed at what was said to me at the passport booth, but then I hardly know what they are saying or what they want—they tend to mumble.  We can barely understand Bundor and we are with him a lot.  As we gave our passports to the official another man in uniform told me to step aside.  I didn’t know why.  Jim said that he was telling me that men do the talking in his country, not women (strange, they have a woman president).  I wondered if I had been a lone woman if I had been allowed to speak.  He also said that men in his country do the work.  Jim almost asked him if he carried water on his head!  Men here do the talking and women do the work.  We don’t say anything because we simply want to go through without a hitch or someone might ask for a bribe.  In Liberia no White person can obtain citizenship.


Prince Nyanforh arrived at our hotel and he and Jim could began interviewing other contractors that we can use along with Bundor.  Prince will work as an assistant to Jim, supervising any site monitors that will help him watch the work of the contractors or their technicians. They met with two today and afterwards we went to look at one well and one latrine for each contractor.  Jim and I picked the newer of the two vehicles to ride in, hoping for real air conditioning, which they all claim to have.  It seemed to work best when our sweat-soaked bodies could feel the cool fan.  Minimal, is the way to describe air conditioning in African vehicles, but we lived through the three hour long trip.  Prince rode in the other car and as we traveled to see the last site that vehicle stopped running—the engine was working but the car seemed to have lost its steam.  So we picked up Prince, saw the last well and drove back to the hotel.  The hotter it is the more exciting it is to come back to our oasis.

Pictures below: One contractor showed us a community center he had built that the government provided for the community.  In the building they also had toilets, which is quite surprising especially because they are Western toilets on a septic system.  The only problem is that the government ran out of money to put a well in with pumped water to a tank to service the toilets, which they need for them to work properly.  Instead, they are to use a dip well nearby and flush with that water, which is fine if they actually do it—if not the system will get clogged in a hurry.  I think I’d rather see a clean water well than a building to meet in, but they do love their community centers, which they use for multiple purposes.

Elder Greding says he is anxious to get home.  He is depressed because there is no ESPN in Liberia, not even at our nice hotel.  Life is tough!

Love, Mom & Dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

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