Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's In The Bag

Today we scheduled a trip to Cooper Beach. We got there and we were the only people there except 2 guys under another thatched umbrella beach hut. I set my bag down and immediately Claudia Felando warned me that I needed to keep all my things at the center of the hut or they will be stolen. The beach is about a 20 foot slope to the water based on the differing levels of the tide. They had some awesome waves that were taller than me, and Gabriella was petrified of the ocean (as the picture shows). The water was a little cool and with the waves being so strong, we didn’t stay there long. Maybe 30 minutes. The 2 guys I did not trust though so I stayed up near the top near our hut. Occassionally one of them would walk buy but they’d return to their hut about 30 or 40 feet from ours. Anyways we decided to go to the lagoon which is shallow and warm (like bath water). And I grabbed my camera out of my bag and was taking pictures of the kids in the water. Maybe had my back to the hut for one minute. And I walked back up to the hut to put my camera away and my bag was gone. I experienced the Liberian Entrepreneurial Spirit first hand. They saw a business opportunity and seized it. The bad news: they got $50 US (about $3050 LD) a cell phone (worth $100 US plus $12 in minutes), 4 packs of Juicy Fruit, all my baby wipes, my only bottle of Aveno lotion for Gabriella, 2 diapers, a baseball cap, a dress of Gabriellas, and her Elmo phone. I of course was upset, but I still was able to pray for them. Normally the Felando's bring a dog to guard things becaus most Liberians are afraid of dogs, but didn't this time. The good news is, I had my passport in there yesterday and actually more money yesterday, but felt led this morning to remove them. And I had just grabbed the camera, which after my passport, is probably my most prized possession right now. And I was not harmed nor my daughter, and everything is replaceable. I of course thought nasty thoughts about praying a curse on them or wishing bad things but ultimately I know the biblical principals of being destitute and how that can lead to stealing and all sorts of things. To be too rich or too poor are both bad. Anyways, I’ve been able to laugh about it several times and forgiven them for what they did. I’m waiting for my bag to show up in one of the markets. If I see it, I’ll buy it back.

On the way back I saw the orphanage for the first time. Because of the uncertain future of Liberian adoptions (they are supposed to announce something in a week), all the orphanages have been combined into one facility. So was able to quickly meet Gabriella’s and Josiah’s nannies. Everyone that I met at the orphanage was pleasant and helpful and wonderful servants. Also a good sign was when Gabriella’s nanny held out her hands to her, Gabriella didn’t want to leave me. But she did eventually and of course when it was time to leave, she didn’t want to leave the nanny. But I felt good about the first part anyways.

Went to a market and ordered matching handmade batik shirts for me and Josiah and dresses for Kim and Gabriella. They are all chocolate brown and gold batiks with a Christian message. A really neat Liberian explained the message behind each work.

Other than that, I went to a Liberian restaurant this afternoon and had dry rice with fish (with the head and eyes and teeth in tact) and some hot spicy pepper, eggplant and oil (the dark stuff). It tasted good and Gabriella loved it, but made my nose water. The best part about the whole thing was 2 cold cokes. One thing I miss with being in Liberia is cold drinks. Typically the water is warm, and don’t have milk, and so soda was a real treat. As I’ve mention before, electricity is off from 3:30 – 6:30pm Mon, Tues, Thur and Fri. On Wed it’s off from 3:30 – 12:30am. On Saturday though, the electricity is off from 6:30am – 12:30am Sunday. And Sunday it’s off from 6:30am – 6:30pm. So Refrigeration of food doesn’t work to well without electricity. So everyone has some sort of generator or backup power supply. At the guest house we have some florescent lights that work on the backup power - but no fans and no refrigerators. We did figure out how to get internet though because the internet is wireless off of the cell towers. So anyways I savored my cold cokes.

Two other funny things about our stay at the guest house. Our neighbors own exactly 3 CDs – Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers, and Don Williams. So every night we hear the same CDs playing – could be worse I guess. Also each night a tiny little mouse begins work traveling from somewhere in the living to the somewhere in the kitchen. Must be how he gets his midnight snack.


Brandi said...

Thanks again for a long blog! We never did the beach thing, which I miss. . I guess being from FL, my hubby didn't think it was necessary!

We DID however, hear LOTS of Celine Dion (seriously everywhere!)! Too funny!

Keep blogging. . .we love to hear the Liberian stories!!!


Missy said...

Sounds like the experience of a lifetime. I know you wish Kim could be there with you.