No Running With Scissors

Is this what you had for breakfast this morning?  IMG_3749It’s “fufu” with “bitter ball and chicken feet soup”–a traditional Liberian dish that everyone eats–and in this case many of the workers had it for the most important meal of the day. Fufu is made from cassava (a root plant that’s a staple throughout much of Africa) and it’s like a giant dumpling. Bitter ball is like a small egg plant.  I’ve been told that when cooking your chicken feet, it’s best to stand them upright in the pot to allow the savory “foot marrow” to drain into the soup as it’s cooking (I recommend saying the previous sentence using a French high pitched Julia Child accent).  The proper way to eat fufu is to swallow spoons of it whole, without chewing.  Just like Mama used to make!  I guess the alternative breakfast treat could have been these huge snails I saw for sale at the market:


Work is progressing nicely as forms were finished on the entire perimeter of the walls, lined with steel rebar, then filled with concrete. We’ve been going IMG_3763IMG_3761through piles and piles of sand and crushed rock.IMG_3754

The trusses are under way and look great.  They’re so large and heavy that it takes a lot of manpower to flip them over to finish nailing the bracing on both sides.  I’ve been watching them construct each truss trying to decide what I’d do differently in the States.  The main thing is that I can go to Home Depot or anywhere and be assured that every 2×4 and 2×6 are the same size and fairly straight.  The “milled bush lumber” we get has some kind of bend in it and a great deal of dimensional variation from board to board so every truss piece is custom cut to adjust for these variances…much more time consuming (plus no nail guns!). IMG_3756 I’ve been hiring day laborers to remove the numerous tree and bush stumps that litter the property after the initial brushing of the land. It’s hard work in the heat but they go at it all day long.

On one of our many sand hauling runs today, guess what happened…we got stuck in the mud (I guess that makes mud leading the series 3-0). While I resigned myself to the fact that none of our strategies were working and Sam would soon be called for another rescue, I spotted this little boy who couldn’t have been more than 5 years old coming to help his father dig us out.  I had two thoughts…1) In America we’re worried if our children run with scissors and here is this little guy carrying around a cutlass that’s more than half his size…and IMG_37752) He looked like a warrior the way he stood there. Boys like this were forced into becoming soldiers during his father’s childhood and there are still child soldiers in parts of Africa today.

Suddenly running with scissors sounds like a much safer alternative.

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