Teacher interviews

Randell came up from Monrovia this morning to assist with interviewing two teacher candidates for next year’s K1 and 1st grade openings. Arriving a little early gave her a chance to play with the ABC class during recess and hear how smart they are as they recited all the counties of Liberia with their corresponding capitols.

Of the two candidates, one clearly stood out in her resume qualifications, verbal answers to our questions (mostly from Randell), as well as her general demeanor – smiling and having a sense of joy go a long way. Back in 2015 when I visited the SPS School in Monrovia and had a chance to speak with the founder of this successful school about how she selected staff, one of the key factors was being cheerful…you can train someone in teaching techniques but it’s tougher to change a flat affect. Sumo will make the final call but I think he agrees about the best candidate. Next step is to have her return for a teaching session so Sumo can witness her in action within the classroom setting.

We also met with a young man named Darlington who, at age 24, is about to graduate from high school. Sumo would like to build up our fledgling library resource by adding a librarian. We can’t afford a paid librarian at this time so Darlington is willing to volunteer a couple of days a week to get the position started by organizing the books we have and developing a system for future book arrivals, reading to children and helping them find books of interest, and assisting students with their assignments.

Eager to return to Monrovia before dark, Randell had some lunch and hit the road. I continue to be impressed with her professionalism. Thanks Randell!

My afternoon started with an urgent plea to get to the water tower because water was leaking out the door of the pump house. I had been in there earlier in the morning to check the chlorine tablets and I worried that perhaps I didn’t clamp the cover on properly. Unlocking the door I found a malfunctioning pressure relief valve that I intended to replace with a simple elbow fitting last trip because it was leaking but never got around to it. Now it looked like my choice was made.

Isaac and I went to work after I scrounged around my stock of miscellaneous fittings to find the special female threaded version required for adapting to the chlorination piping. Luckily I had one because I’m pretty confident it doesn’t exist in Gbarnga. Cutting into this section of pipe, however, meant a fairly significant amount of standing water would come rushing back through the pipe leading to the tank top. If only I had listened to Doug when he suggested putting another valve after the chlorinator and I thought we were going valve crazy and said we didn’t need it. After cutting partway into the pipe as water sprayed out, I felt the gentle nudge of Doug saying, “Put that valve in now, Jon, since all the water will be drained!” Luckily that 1 1/2″ ball valve was still in with the other fittings Doug had packed with him during our water supply/solar installation time together. Thanks Doug!

The repair went quickly once the water had fully drained and we were back in business.

My late afternoon included making plans to meet with BRAC along with Tumamee regarding final arrangements for obtaining our first chicks and feed. I’m particularly concerned about feed because I keep hearing about difficulties in procuring it in Liberia and the last thing I want is a bunch of birds that starve to death. We need to verify availability and price then purchase some for storage in anticipation of the first flock. I like Christmas gift surprises but I hate surprises in business – surprises mean unexpected financial risk. It’s hard to anticipate everything but at least we have to act on the things we’re aware of and having a ready supply of chicken feed is one of them.

The rest of my afternoon involved dealing with payment issues for our Rotary grant, of which I won’t go into detail. Suffice it to say, I thought we resolved this problem at the end of our last grant!

My boys were back for more after-school schooling (actually I think they were hoping the ping pong paddles would come out again). I had them do spelling because their language skills are really lacking and, for the most part, they tend to be performing above grade level in math so they don’t need the extra boost.

I didn’t see John 2 much because he’s been hauling crushed rock all day. This should keep the workers busy with concrete work. It sounds like Lavela won’t be back with wood until Thursday or Friday which makes me worried about meeting my goal of getting chickens in these buildings before I leave.

I got a phone call from my guests. Becky wanted to let me know their flight was canceled last night and they had to stay in a hotel in Monrovia. They got a call from the airline today saying today’s flight was also canceled so they have to spend another unanticipated 24 hours in Liberia. Unfortunately, her friend Kathy has a leg infection which caused her fever, vomiting, etc. and she obviously wants to get home to seek further care in the US. Hopefully no more delays tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Teacher interviews

  1. Love the picture of the children. Hope you have a day when there are no problems for you to be solved. We will keep the chicken project in out prayers.


  2. Hey Jon.
    I’m looking forward to having a chance to have long talks when you return.
    How else would all this be getting done without your skill set. Nice use of your talents!!
    I’ll keep an eye out for books for your library. Sharon


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