Pressure on my heart

Yesterday I opted to read home devotions instead of sweating through a 3 hour service. I sat in the screened guesthouse porch and enjoyed the church singing at St. Luke’s wafting across the Phebe compound…boy they can belt it out.  It was a lazy dew-laden Sunday morning with pancakes and fresh, juicy pineapple followed by bathroom cleaning (I prefer the pineapple).  I spoke briefly to Gary Winter and gang as they headed to church and agreed to meet in the afternoon.

I had several truck maintenance issues to resolve.  Saah had backed into a scrap metal pile one day and broke the rear tail light last November.  Apparently he felt it was a total loss so tore it completely off the truck some time in December while I was in the States.  I recovered the carcass and some missing plastic pieces of the colored lamp lenses then went to work reassembling with the aid of glues of the “super” and “epoxy” type. The three holes which were formerly home to the bolts securing it to the rear chassis had become oversized after Saahs abrupt removal.  I “McGuivered” a solution by cutting large plastic washers from the blades of a discarded oscillating fan, drilled holes with my trusty Swiss Army knife, and reattached the rejected luminaire. I reconnected the wires and ablinkin’ and abrakin’ it went once again (with a few glued scars)….good enough for the bush.  I also learned some Chinese in my effort to replace a blown fuse for the cigarette lighter and radio….needed to charge my phone.

I walked over to the Winter’s guesthouse and was privy to their annual process of photographing, documenting, and accepting applicants for their tuition sponsorship plan.  Very cute kids showed up with their mothers (didn’t see any dads).  One mother in 9th grade had her two children with her…all 3 being supported with scholarships from sponsors in the US.  Gary’s organization ( has over 1,400 students they sponsor, only in Bong County Liberia (where our school is).  Of course my motivation for meeting him was to tap into this resource for our future students. We had a great conversation along with his wife, Deb (I think erroneously called Anne in a previous post), Andrew and Sarah Hostetter (married grad students who are students of Deb).  As we talked, various children would show up to be photographed.  Some were existing sponsored children, others were there asking to be entered into the program.  As word got out in the Phebe community, a crowd of at least 30 gathered outside the guesthouse fence, hoping for a chance to see Gary.  Unfortunately, there were no more spaces available within this particular community.

Late afternoon I needed to visit the work site to communicate some changes to Lavela (head construction guy in Sam’s absence) over which I was sleep-impaired the previous night.  I invited Andrew and Sarah to join me and Sarah, in particular, jumped at the chance to explore more of Liberia besides Phebe. We drove to the property then walked over to the small nearby village where Moses lives.  The families were happy to see us and share there lives with more Americans.

Moses’ father, Sibley (who I just call “Papa”) has been asking me for medicine.  Today he did the same because of “pressure on my heart”.  I told him I didn’t have medicine and, because he said he didn’t have money to go to Phebe  Hospital, referred him to the County Health Office …perhaps they have a program to assist him.  Although it’s not quite the same, I feel “pressure on my heart” every day I have to turn down people asking for help.  I had six children come up to me on Sunday as they walked home from Sunday School, asking for me to help pay their school fees.  I had two men with amputated legs hobble over to me on crutches asking for food as I entered and exited the supermarket. It’s a daily occurrence.

Back to Andrew and Sarah…they just loved getting into the village and talking with the children.  This is what Sarah was dreaming off doing. They want Gary and Deb to visit our school site when they return from upper Bong County mid-week. I think we have a good chance of working together.

This morning I picked up John 2 and drove into Gbarnga to purchase 35 bags of cement to keep the workers going while we drove to Monrovia for a 640 bag order of cement (that’s 35 tons!).  Along the way, where the small landslide has Gbarnga Highway diverted a bit, it was further diverted due to a rollover accident by a very top-heavy overloaded cargo truck.  Nevertheless, we arrived in pretty good time and called Sam’s friend, Schaacks, a tall amiable guy who stutters, to make our cement transaction and procure a 20-wheeler flatbed for delivery.  It was a smooth event and we were on our way.  I think again of how this project would ever have happened (at least as efficiently as it has for Africa) without the Fosters and Sam Bundo connections.Edit

Tomorrow I drop off John 2 at Cemenco to drive back with the cement trucker while I go to ELWA Hospital to pick up solar panels we had shipped (from Sonlight Power via Water Missions International via ELWA where I’ll take delivery). Then to Eagle Electric for more supplies, then a stop at Lifewater Liberia’s office on the way north by Univ. of Liberia Fendall campus to pick up the hydrological survey report required for the Rotary Grant.  I need to finish these tasks and arrive in Gbarnga before the cement truck so I’m in front of him on the access road…otherwise I can’t drive past with baby Foton which is needed for hauling those 640 bags over the log bridge that can’t support 35 tons plus the weight of a semi!  Who’s up for “The Amazing Race”?…should be fun!

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