Nocturnal scribbling

When I come to Liberia, the time to accomplish my long list of goals is limited. Each night I crawl under my mosquito netting and snuggle up to a battery pack for recharging my phone, a lantern charged by solar the previous 12 hours, a spiral notebook, a pen, ear plugs, and a water bottle. Since Christmas I’ve added a little rechargeable bug zapper (thanks Kim) that catches the micro-bugs that magically get into my supposedly bug-free zone. I awaken every day with a list, frequently generated in fits of blind nocturnal scribbling on my notebook throughout the night. I’m usually lucky when half of the scribbles get checked off before the sun is setting once again.

It made me think of how purposeful and intentional I try to make my time here (including holding hands and playing with children which is very purposeful!) and how many times life for me becomes just reactionary, responding to what need gets placed in front of me by the squeakiest wheel (and at times flaming wheels). Life for Liberians also seems very reactionary as they’re swayed by the winds of events in their lives – a child with “runny stomach” not cured by country medicine gets sicker because clinics are unaffordable; a young family member dies in a nighttime car accident because the oncoming truck didn’t have its lights on and now the family is in debt because of borrowing to pay burial costs; a heavy storm rips the loose zinc off the house forcing a family to relocate (all things that have happened within the Deanville community in the past 6 months).

Ephesians 5:15 says “Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” I’ve been trying to present opportunities to my Liberian friends but sometimes they don’t grab them (like the block making venture). I’m not sure they know how to take the first step – and I’m not yet clear on how to help. Maybe one night my nocturnal scribbling will include an answer.

Today was a pretty rainy day so I felt unproductive. “Making the most of every opportunity” before the first rains I was able to zip-tie all the dangling solar wires to the underside of the panels and to the mounting rack framework, then install the locking device for each set of three panels. I moved indoors and played with program settings on the solar. I have it functioning – not sure if it’s optimal. I met with Sumo to review school budgets and discuss next steps on teacher candidates.

Poultry buildings are getting close to zinc roofing which means we’re close to seeing 250 downy balls with legs running around. Because the chicks are scheduled to arrive May 22nd (the day I leave), I didn’t feel comfortable not witnessing their arrival and safe care for at least a couple of days before departing home. So, I decided to extend my trip by several days till I felt confident the setup would work, mistakes now will be costly – both in care expenses and in potential illness or unproductive laying later. Although I didn’t want to stay longer, I will have many more volumes of nocturnal scribbling if I don’t leave knowing the birds are happy and healthy

3 thoughts on “Nocturnal scribbling

  1. Seems like more rain this time. Is this unusual or is it on pair with this time of year? If only you could connect with a Liberian sociologist or psychologists.


  2. I think staying on was a wise choice. Knowing this will start off well is the best bang for the buck. Sharon.


  3. Love your scribbling Jon! Thank you for the work you are doing. Please know that you are in my prayers and that putting the spotlight on the poor through your writings and your work makes a difference in many places.




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