There are many new experiences in one day at Camphor, and so I have Bethany Lewis, who is keeping a careful journal, reminding me of all that this day holds. She brought up our competitive oatmealing (a missionary sport from the brilliant and twisted mind of Danny Dickriede) in which breakfasters see who can make the most creative oatmeal. Awards today went to Kevin Ring for most unusual (I am not surprised) as he sprinkled coffee grounds into it, and to Sabrina Snell for the most toppings in a single bowl.
Bethany, Lauren Greene, Kevin and I finished patching screens in the guesthouses by sewing with needle and thread a piece of screen onto and over a hole. Keep the bugs out! Since we are in the dry season, we have not seen as many insects as I would have expected, especially as we hike through the jungle to visit nearby villages.
Leah, Sabrina and Sharon Snell along with Bethany continued to paint today in the some of the classrooms. Some of the children have been helping them put up the alphabet and numbers on the walls. It really brightens up the rooms, and helping with visual learning! Many of the classes we visited on our tour of Camphor on the first day had memorized a unison greeting to say to welcome us.
We had a treat for lunch again today: fresh pineapple! This is the best version of pineapple any of us has ever tasted. Irene, a Liberian who works for Camphor, prepares us wonderful food which includes rice and some kind of stew with vegetables, fish and/ or chicken. Today was a bean stew that many people enjoyed.
After lunch, several in our group hiked into Goba, a nearby village. This hike was considerably shorter than yesterday's almost 4 hour trek, which was worth the exertion to meet the people of farther villages, and see the difference made by the water wells Camphor has installed with the support of many churches and individuals. We went to Goba to visit a woman who make fish traps out of grass which are both functional and works of art.
Along the way, we visited Cecilia, who is a Camphor Mission cook, but is healing up from a recent injury. She fell into a fire and burned her arm badly, but is healing well. Danny delivered a bag of rice since she can't work right now. We have heard that she has greatly appreciated Danny and Kathy checking in on her and encouraging her as she waits for her strength to return.
When we found the woman who would make our fish traps, we found her working to plant cassava, a staple of the Liberian diet. It is used to make "foo foo," and I have no idea if I am spelling that correctly! It is used in place of rice with stews at lunch. Liberians don't eat dinner, and that has been an adjustment for many of us. It frees up alot of time in the evening and makes it hard to overeat, which are good things! Lunch here (at 1:30pm) is more like our dinner, and time is spent making a proper meal, whereas many of us Americans don't take much time for lunch and eat much less.
What was amazing about the woman planting cassava was the fact that she is about 87 years old! She is still working hard, and will take the next week to make our fish traps, which we will pay about $5 USD each for. Liberians operate on USD and LD (Liberians Dollars) in most markets and trading.
We saw a boy in Goba who had a toy that nobody in our group could master. He was running with a gear like wheel and holding it steady with his stick and nail through the end of it. Some other boys at the Mission had created a toy with a leaf and a stick that rotated like a pinwheel when they ran with it. Danny told them "See, you don't need no Gameboy!" :)
We carried water from the pump today, since the generator has been down, which with a lot of people helping is not so bad. This water serves the group for bucket baths, boiling for drinking, washing dishes, and flushing the toilet. Josh Low was the winner here, as he fashioned a hat like the Liberian women have, and balanced the bucket on his head to carry back to the house. The women are extremely talented at carrying things on their heads!
We have WiFi for 2 hours when the electricity comes on from 7-9pm (when the generator is running), and this is a fairly recent development. Camphor continues to make strides to help those around here, and with each person who invests time and resources, Liberians are more empowered to rebuild their country from the devastation the wars caused.