Another morning started by strolling the streets of Gbarnga buying supplies. After packing the truck with cement and lumber, we headed back to the work site while hearing a strange sound coming from under baby Foton. Turns out a portion of the chassis by the shocks cracked and the shock absorber was damaged. After unloading our booty, John 2 headed back to Gbarnga and met our mechanic, Kortuma, for some repair work.
Meanwhile the kitchen foundation is nearing completion, painting touch-up is happening in the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms, landscaping in the form of erosion control continues, and the slow drip drip of a leaky fitting on the water tower persists (uuggghh!). I ignored that and tried to address another leak under a restroom sink only to find it’s a defective PVC valve and water is dripping from the handle. This is an awful repair to make since there is no slack in any of the pipes for cutting out the valve to install a replacement. The alternative appears to be chiseling into the concrete wall to expose more of the supply piping (uugggghh!).
I ignored both of those problems in order to move onto meeting one of my trip goals – sleeping one night in the guesthouse before departing Liberia. With water running throughout the guesthouse, a functioning toilet and shower, insect screens on all windows, security bars and personnel, the only thing missing is a place to repose. I went to work building a bed using the same “rustic aesthetic” as the kitchen cabinets I started building. One of the issues I’ve seen in every guesthouse room I’ve slept in revolves around how to suspend the mosquito netting over the bed. When fastened to the ceiling, there are often unwieldy strings stretched in various directions, many times not aligning with the current bed location. If the bed does get re-positioned, it requires new holes in the ceiling to properly string up the netting. I decided to use a throw-back design…a four-poster double bed. The netting fastens to screw eyes at the four tall corner posts at just the right height to allow it to be tucked around the mattress perimeter without needing to be re-fastened in the ceiling should the bed move. I bought the same mattress I’ve been using at Phebe since it appears to be the most well-made of any in the Gbarnga market (with a price tag to match) and it should last long, too. Tomorrow will be my first night as guest of the new domicile and expect to put the toilet and shower through their paces.
Lunch time brought a “program” by the Last Redeemer Choir from the Deanville preaching point. It’s a group of youth (20-30 somethings) that regularly sing during worship. I discussed the idea of doing a “cross cultural choir exchange” and they were very excited. They came to the work site around noon and “performed” a number of worship songs on the school’s front porch, mostly in Kpelle, while I recorded as much as my iPhone battery and storage could accommodate. I just love the vocal sounds from a group of African women. I’ll be bringing these back to share with our church’s music ministry and anticipate a similar video exchange when I return to Liberia in late February/early March for the school’s opening.
I also had a chance to spend more time with Moore Tumamee who came to present his agriculture resume. We walked the site and apparently he was part of the original work crew that “brushed” the site. He offered many good suggestions about how the GROW women could improve the current gardens, methods of mulching and composting, and thoughts on what crops would be most financially lucrative. We looked at various locations he thought would be appropriate for poultry farming. I was impressed that he did not come to just hear my ideas and nod his head but had a vision for where we could go with the excellent resources available on this property. He’s already in the process of making arrangements with a local sawyer to obtain the saw dust and wood shavings (that are usually discarded or burned) for mulching, which he said has worked very effectively on his farm.
The disappointing news of the day was that Hawa Norris has been unsuccessful in finalizing our NGO registration before my departure because “the machine at the Ministry of Commerce has not been working for the past three days” so she could not get the documents in time. I guess this will be on the agenda for the next trip!