Well, month two of the Liberia experience has officially begun, and let’s just say that I face it with much more ease than month number 1. Up until now it feels as if I have been struggling to keep afloat. I’m grateful that perserverance and prayer have changed that. With a little effort and tweaking this is really starting to work for our family now. I can’t say I didn’t have many days when I seriously doubted it!
Things that have changed:
1. While I planned to help teach at the school, the NGO that is supporting it decided that it was best to have the actual teachers teaching phonics. Apparently, not only do they need to learn how to teach it, but they can also greatly benefit from it. Language skills, written and spoken, are lacking quite a bit. This worked out fine for me, because now I am now homeschooling Charlie and Ivy! They went to the village school for a few weeks. They learned some Liberian history, and the National Anthem. They got a good feel for what it’s like to attend school (which is mostly just “loud”), and then decided they wanted me to teach them this year. I was more than happy to oblige. I have greatly missed private time with my kiddos. There are 26 of us that live at the orphanage now. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by noise and chaos. We LOVE our four hours, just the three of us, until the four little kids get home from school at 12:30. This is ample time for us to re-charge and feel ready to play nicely with others 🙂
Simon and Ruby haven’t complained about school and seem to be enjoying the experience. We are working on getting internet out where we live. If we’re able, they may choose to stay home for their lessons as well. If nothing else, they will at least be able to better supplement their education beyond just the math text books we brought for them.
2. A whole new world has opened up to me now that I have gotten past my fear of the motorcycle. Andy took me into town TWiCE this week. It is a bumpy ride, with the potholes and enormous washed out parts of the dirt roads. I am literally sore from my body being so tense on these rides! It’s about a 20 minute ride to the paved road on a motorcycle (35 by car). Up until this week, my only ventures into town have been going to church on Sundays. Andy has been busy with this container, so I’ve just been staying out in Zuannah Town all the time. I was feeling a little stir crazy. Okay, maybe A LOT stir crazy. Also, it was really frustrating having to go to Vic to ask for things like toilet paper or laundry soap. And my kids were ALWAYS hungry! This is a new feeling for them – haha. Charlie said, “there are NO snacks here!” True story. This situation wasn’t working for us, and certainly was not helping me feel at home here. This brings me to number three….
3. Instead of us just putting money into the orphan home monthly budget to cover the expenses of our family, we are now taking care of our own needs seperately. This sounds so logical, and you may ask why we didn’t do that to start with. Well, it’s a bit trickier than you may think. It can feel very divisive. And just try to eat with a hungry child watching you! Impossible. (Not that the kids at the orphanage are underfed or anything… it is more a matter of timely food preparation). So Andy and I sat down with Vic and Rufus and figured out how to make this work for all of us. We decided what was needed was a very scheduled eating system, which included times and menu that everyone could count on. The existing system worked well enough for those already here, but not really with us in the mix. Breakfast and dinner are always prepared, but most days lunch isn’t provided as a meal. Not because no one is hungry. Everyone is hungry. Just no one makes anything. They just eat a piece of bread with butter or leftover rice. With the new plan Vic and I will rotate days when we will be in charge of having food for the kids when they return from school, and I won’t feel guilty about providing lunch for my own kids.
Also, instead of our family always eating what is prepared – which isn’t ALL bad, but I would like a bit more variety and a say in how we are nourished. Nine months is a long time of eating fish, rice and cassava leaf. So… Andy bought me a little single burner propane stove, and we will go into town twice a week to buy food. There is a supermarket run by some middle eastern people that have most things I’m familiar with. Some prices are astronomical, while some are the same or cheaper than in Utah. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, but can I just say one word, people? NUTELLA! 🙂 We are now making our own breakfast, lunch and 4 dinners per week. The other 3 nights of the week, we will eat with the others. Friday nights I make cookies, and three times a week I bake bread for us all. Last night I fixed for my little family of six, eggplant parmesean. My goodness, it was heavenly! That was our first day having dairy since being here. I’m glad our guts didn’t seem disturbed by this long lost food group! We have no refrigeration, so anything I buy that would require it needs to be consumed that day.
That’s all the news for this week! We are currently at the stake center. They are broadcasting the Saturday second session and the Priesthood session. I’m so glad we could participate, even if it’s just a little!