Thursday, April 3, 8:30 AM
We were finishing up a breakfast of French Toast (again on the coal pot) when Rick and Paula returned from their getaway. We survived without them, but I won’t lie – it was good to see their American-African faces again.
Because of the lack of gas, it was necessary to go to the city today. Chance and I had a few errands we were wanting to run while there, so it was a good excuse to go.
We headed to Freetown (which was previously a two hour car ride away, but a new paved road has opened and it is now closer to an hour drive).
Louis is going to have a difficult time adjusting when we get back home – he’s gotten used to not needing a carseat. The laws here are not as concerned with the well-being of the children as they are with the adults. Seat belts are required (Chance learned that the hard way and was almost arrested a few days ago for not wearing his), but babies can sit in an adult’s lap in the front seat. Louis loves being able to watch out the window, and has done beautifully, even on a three-hour car ride once. I’ve enjoyed the fact that I can nurse him while we travel (one less thing to plan around!)
Our first two stops in the city were at the grocery stores. These stores are more modern than anything you’d find in the village. It appears they import many of their products from Europe. The selection isn’t too great and the prices are high, but I’m sure Rick and Paula get excited to see familiar items like cereal and peanut butter!
(Nasko almost didn’t get this Kit Kat because his goofy parents didn’t recognize the packaging and assumed there were no Kit Kats in Africa!)
We were able to get the gas refilled, so now it was time to find a place to eat some lunch. It was noon, but Africans rarely eat that early, so we struggled to find somewhere that was open. We did find a “bar and grill” that was right on the beach. They claimed to be open, but took a long time to make our food despite us being the first customers of the day!
(We waited for our food by running away from the waves – Nasko’s pants still ended up sopping wet… In the background, a group of men are pulling in giant fishing nets.)
We made a few more stops in the city – post office, local market, etc., before heading to the World Market. This is a large, two-story building which contains hundreds of “shops” with handmade goods from Sierra Leone. We bought a few things – including a wooden mask that looks like a lion (Chance picked it out. I’m praying it doesn’t survive the trip home!) and I got a hammock for our back yard (I had asked for one for my birthday/Mother’s Day!) The market is, of course, very authentically African, so after haggling prices and enduring somewhat inappropriate comments from shop owners, we were good to go!
On the way home from Freetown, we stopped to see the house where Tyler and Sarah Miller will live. We wanted to take measurements and videos to help prepare them before they moved here. As bummed as I am that my best friend is moving to the other side of the planet, I absolutely cannot wait to see what God is going to do in Sierra Leone with their family!
Their new house has money signs on the porch. For real. It truly doesn’t get much better.
Oh, and this bathroom incident happened there:
No one got much rest today as there was no time for naps, so we are all hitting the hay exceptionally early!
Friday, April 4, 9:30 AM
We loaded into Rick’s van and headed back to Briggitte’s church. During the week, the church is being used as a pre-primary school. Lifegate heads up the school, so it is a Christian school that is open to all the preschool kids in the area. God actually had been planting the idea for this school in two different people’s minds and hearts, so when they got together, it all made sense.
While at the school, Chance got to interview the teachers and staff. His job is to go back to the states and try to find support to pay these workers a small salary. He’s hoping to appeal to educators here, who understand the importance of starting education with very young children.
(The kids were dressed for Sports Day – which I’m learning is more like Sports Week – in their yellows and blues.)
The interviews did nothing but confirm that my children needed naps, so Rick returned the littles and I to his house and he, Moses, and Chance headed off to complete their tour. They returned to check on the construction of the orphan homes. The final steps that needed to be completed before the boys could move in were (1.) finishing the latrines and (2.) fixing the doors.
(Jane’s husband, Paul, is an amazing carpenter – especially when you consider his lack of resources!)
The final stop on Rick’s tour was to see the piece of property that Lifegate is hoping to purchase. A new airport is being built near this land, so it will soon become prime real estate. Chance has been working since January to raise the $12,000.00 needed to secure this land. The vision of Lifegate is to then use the land to house an orphanage, a conference center, guest houses (hotels) and a radio station.
Right now though, the property looks like a bunch of weeds to me:
(Moses used his GPS to find the coordinates of the property so Chance can look it up on Google Earth and have a topical view. Technology.)
After the boys woke up from long naps, we spent the rest of our day playing outside on the porch where there was a nice breeze.
(Louis and Esther – Jane and Paul’s adopted daughter.)
(Jane enjoyed watching Nasko “drive a bus” on his iPad.)
[Stay tuned! We're not home yet!]