Thursday, March 20, 2008

I have my daughter

I took a trip to downtown Monrovia today to ride along with our Missionary hosts the Felandos. They had to run to a supermarket and hardware store. So I took my camera and took it all in. My first impressions were it is very congested. Every stop your car is surrounded with street vendors of every sorts: ties, floor standing fans, pillows, newspapers, gum, water, chocolate, nuts, plantains. The most interesting vendor I saw was a man pushing a wheelbarrel full of snails in the shell the size of rats. I have to get a picture those so you can see what I mean. Though very congested, its very orderly and civil. Driving in Monrovia is an art. It's a combination of being aggressive with the gas pedal, brake and horn. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. Occasionally you'll have a police officer directing traffic, but there are no street lights.

When we got downtown to the supermarket, it was a very nice supermarket in "Liberian" terms. They have guards on the outside of it, so it's very much of a status symbol to walk inside. I felt very much like a rich spoiled American, when there were amputees sitting just outside the door begging for food. They sell dog food and cat litter inside and outside there are thousands who don't have their basic needs met. They even sold Fruit Cake fruit. Not sure what demand there is in Liberia, but we only see in the states around Christmas time. So after shopping I took $5 US and got $305 LD (Liberian Dollars) from a corner exchange rate booth. It's not the Bank of Liberia, but it worked for me. When I was in the Brussels airport I stopped in a shop to buy a pair of sunglasses (because I don't own a pair) and the first pair was $107 EU (approx $160 US). So I said no thank you. So right after I exchanged my money, a sunglasses street vendor approached me. $150 LD (about $2.50 US) so of course I bought them. Only to be told I was ripped off by Julie's Liberian friend Mark. There was also a street vendor selling smoked fish for $10 LD (approx .17 cents) and ground Cassava root (instead of rice because it's thicker and leaves your stomach more satisfied) which was also $10LD. David bought lunch for several of them, and then everywhere we stopped I gave out $20 LD. So I was able to bless two amputees and all the others were children. Every place we stopped I gave money. And how much did I actually give - $2.50. That's not even a happy meal or another menu item at fast food. Yet everyone of them thought I was giving them $100US.

There was this young boy who came up to us and asked if he could come with us. It broke my heart. David asked where his mother was and he said at home resting. But the poor boy chased after us for at least 1 mile and half through the slow congested downtown traffic. I finally gave him some money and we gave him part of our lunch. There was also this very skinny mother with her child who stopped us before the supermarket. We didn't have anything at that time. But she found us again at a different intersection and Claudia gave her some food and I gave her some money. The poverty is so great - and we are so blessed.

The only other excitement was the Presidential motorcade came right in front of the guest house. So from my 2nd story balcony I watched and there were only 2 cops leading and 4 black SUVs and Hummers formed a diamond around the presidential vehicle which was also the same. So in one day I've gotten closer to their president then I ever have in 40 years of living in the US.

Lastly I picked up my daughter today. Of course she's absolutely beautiful. She hasn't said "boo" yet. But she has rubbed my face and pulled the hair sticking through the neck line on my shirt. I knew she was getting tired so I was going to try and lay down with her in my bedroom. But when I attempted to crawl through the mosquito netting, she began crying hysterically. So I came back out and she was falling asleep sitting up and Julie asked if she could rock her and so that's where she is. So we'll she how she does tonight but I'll work through it. Just glad to be to this place. Made every tear, every frustration, every anxious moment worth it. I'm blessed to be a part of her life. But this world is filled with so many children who don't have this chance.

For dinner tonight we ate traditional Liberian. It is a traditional butter rice, with water greens with red palm oil and then cut up fresh mango. Water greens are like potato greens - green leafy part from sweet potatoes shredded - but these are supposedly better and a staple in Liberian diet) It was wonderful! I got a chance to feed Gabriella for the first time. She was eating well and all of sudden she clamped up and didn't want anymore. Turns out she wanted a drink. Then she would eat some more. Then all of sudden she had had enough and spit the last spoonful out. So evidently she's a woman who knows what she want.

P.S. We have a DHL tracking number for the DNA results and they shipped out yesterday and and left New York this morning, so I don't see a problem with them arriving in time for the Embassy appointment on Tuesday. Also I head to the AoH office tomorrow to do my paperwork and will be able to visit the orphanage tomorrow.


julie said...

great post. somehow it seems as if i am right there in Liberia with you....hahaha. maybe i could just copy and paste this to my blog. it would be much easier. it is nice to meet part of your family. hopefully soon i will meet the rest of them. Hi Kim!

Brandi said...

Yeah!! Oh I'm so thankful! Jesus, thank you thank you! You answered our prayers and now Gabriella is with her daddy! Thank you Lord for providing her an earthly father and a family in the states just aching to hold her. . I cannot keep back my tears.

She is beautiful! I love that dress (Gracie had it too!) Congrats and thank you for posting! Keep em coming. .

Oh yes, I have to go back and comment about the stuff before. isn't it just amazing that God allows us to be a part of His meeting of people's needs. And, with hardly any sacrifice to us. . what an amazing, humbling experience. Thank you for going out there and blessing those people. Look into their eyes and tell them that there are people in the US who love them and are praying for them!


Becky said...

Praise God! It seems surreal that you are there getting her after all of this. I'm celebrating with your family!

Thank you for the great update. It makes me feel like I am there.

God Bless,