The last several weeks have been full of events at the mission. During the week of July 12-16 My Daughter’s Place, the girl’s vocational school, held a workshop at the mission with students from other vocational programs in Buchanan and Monrovia. These programs are designed to give young adults a chance to learn cooking, tailoring, carpentry, computer skills and other trades so they can make a life for themselves, as many of them were unable to attend school while growing up during the Liberian civil war. It was a week of learning, sports, fellowship and fun. Our own Anthony Jackson and John Toe from the clinic also participated in the program doing HIV/AIDS and family planning education.
At the clinic we have been continuing with vaccinations; we just received a new supply of Pentavalent vaccines (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Hepatitis B and H. Influenza) from the Ministry of Health in Buchanan, and we used it to have an infant vaccination outreach day at the Johnny Joe Town market. Sometimes the Ministry of Health runs out of vaccines and last week they (and we) were also out of the ACT (artemisinin combination therapy) tablets that we use as our primary treatment for malaria. The clinic has been using Quinine in these cases, which we is what we use as first-line therapy for malaria patients that are either pregnant or severely ill. Recently we added either Doxycycline or Fansidar when administering the Quinine, as it is more effective than the Quinine alone based on the reading and learning that I have done here and shared with the staff.
Paul recently took time to show me some sites outside the mission where Camphor has some revenue-generating projects in the works. One of these is the timber project, which is in partnership with Paul’s village of Goah-yah, about an hour’s drive from Camphor. From there it was a long hike out in the bush to the timber processing site; it felt like a real jungle trek! The workers often stay out overnight in the bush and all the timber that is produced has to be hauled out by manpower alone. The timber is used directly for building at Camphor and portions of it are also sold for profit by the mission and by the people of Goah-yah who own the land. I also toured the LAC (Liberian Agriculture Company) plantation, whose primary product is latex rubber. LAC has been involved with the mission through providing student scholarships and in assisting Camphor’s efforts to establish its own rubber tree farm. It takes about seven years for the trees to be mature enough to harvest the rubber, but it, along with many other projects, are part of a long-term plan to eventually make Camphor Mission self-sustaining. The LAC plantation itself is beautiful and we were able to tour the community there, including the tree farms, hospital, staff living areas and the club house, which is at the top of a hill with a fantastic view of Grand Bassa County.
Liberia celebrated its Independence Day on July 26th, and I spent the day with the Glaydors and Mary Gargar at the beach in Buchanan. We had a picnic of rice, cassava greens, and fufu with fish and pepper soup, and the weather was perfect- it didn’t even rain (all day!) In downtown Buchanan the streets were full of commotion; most businesses were closed except for a few restaurants and street vendors, but the streets were full of people enjoying the day dancing and celebrating.
My time here at Camphor is quickly coming to a close and I am thankful to God for the experience; it has been the fulfillment of a life-long goal for me. Although I am ready to go home and see friends and family again, in some ways I feel like I just started to really understand the culture and how I could best serve the mission, and with more time I could have made further progress. However, I have no regrets and I have made some cherished friends and have learned so much during my time here. I plan to remain in contact with Paul and to still be involved with the mission, and will hopefully be back to visit someday. An effort to raise funds for a new (used) vehicle for the mission is currently underway through the support of my friends, family and local church, so hopefully there will be a blog update on that front in the near future!
Peace and God Bless,