Thursday, August 11, 2016
An interesting day in Liberia
Thursday, August 11, 2016
I don’t think I’ve ever slept so long. I took another cold pill and took it early. I slept for 2 hours before waking up briefly at 11 PM. I briefly turned on my lamp by my bed. In Africa they typically have the on/off switches attached to the electrical cord. After a short time I turned it off and it blew up! It also blew the circuit in our room so we had no electricity. We called the desk and they sent the electrician to reset our breakers so that our power came on. When he carried my lamp away I noticed that the entire cord had been severed! Like I said, this place has some serious electrical problems. The good thing is that I went back to sleep anyway, and slept till 8 AM.
Jim had felt so bad that he didn’t know if he’d be able to go this morning, but by 10 AM he was feeling better. This time we were gone till 6 PM; it was a very long day, and in the middle of it the sun came out for a long time and so it was even more tiring. The humidity is so high right now--adding the sun sapped our energy even more. Elder Wollenzien drives so fast on bad roads that we wildly fly up and down in the back seat. The best thing I did later in the afternoon was to eat an ice cream cup. It is locally made and very good. It was pure comfort food and got me through me through to the end of the day.
These boys were playing ‘pool’ on this little table. I am not sure how it works when there is nothing to catch their rocks when they hit them apart and they fly off.
Today we saw more latrines, all working and surprisingly clean—most were public bathrooms with septic systems; we saw more wells and again all were working. We did run into one that was not collecting money, so Morris is going back there on Saturday to rework the water committee and get them to start charging. These pumps are lasting a long time, but most are still collecting, and that is the key to longevity. The latrines are actually making money and most have added to their leech fields. We told one group that if they wanted their septic tank cleaned out, that they could run a pipe to the street, put another tank there so that a truck could come and clean it out. Then they wouldn’t have to build more leech fields. I suspect that they will do it. They have already done more on their own.
Two years ago a public bathroom was completed but it was in an area that also could not be reached by a truck, so the city said that they would hook it up to the city sewer if the community dug a trench and laid the pipe to the hook-up point. They did that, a long time ago, and the city has been paid. The official kept making excuses (this means that he was waiting for a bribe). The Church will not pay the bribe. In the meantime the local lady that is over that area, is trying to get him removed for corruption. The community is so tired of waiting for this to happen that they have finally decided that they will simply do it themselves. They are capable but the government claimed that they ‘had to do it’ (the final hookup). We are glad that the community is taking matters into their own hands.
This gal is missing one leg; she was demonstrating for us how she will get to use a bathroom on her own from her wheelchair when the turnover ceremony takes place. What is holding up the turnover is that the community has to secure an open well for safety reasons, and remove the old, very horrible outhouses that are made of metal. These new latrines have wheelchair ramps. They have a few light-colored panels on the roof so that the bathrooms will not be so dark. It is like having a skylight.
We had great fun when we watched the fishermen trying to bring in this fishing boat. It was a tedious process, waiting for the waves to help them along. They do this every day—getting the boats in and out of the water. Even Elder Wollenzien helped them pull.
There were rows and rows of beautiful, old fishing boats.
A hard but interesting day, checking on projects in Liberia.
Love, from the Palm Spring Resort Hotel