Being “in witch”

A very interesting conversation this morning as I sat on the school porch with Tumamee and Patrick. We were discussing the death of Sackie’s wife over the weekend and Patrick mentioned the woman was doing many secret things the family didn’t know. He said she was “in witch” – when an evil spirit inhabits your body. I didn’t quite catch all the Liberian English and odd references but it sounds like the woman “was a leopard” and had done something against this spirit. She had been taken to a couple of different churches, I assume for traditional healing, and the evil spirit wasn’t satisfied by something this woman did and she died.

We talked about supernatural and evil spirit powers then Tumamee brought up a personal childhood experience. A group of people from his village were fishing for catfish using a method that entails digging channels in the muddy bottom then essentially creating a wall (I assume with nets) that captures the fish behind it. Men swim under water to chase the bottom dwelling catfish towards the channels that lead them to their fate. One man disappeared under the muddy water and didn’t come. When the villagers couldn’t find him after two hours, they started folding their nets to head home. Suddenly, the man came up out of the water. They laid him on the shore and women crushed a particular leaf in buckets of water, sprinkling the mixture on him. He began breathing and told a story to them of going to a city where he saw one of these village women. The two of them got into an argument and a spirit pushed him out of the water, which is when he resurfaced from the river.

Patrick mentioned that people “in witch” can sit on rice baskets and be transported to other places. Wow! Like I’ve said, the more time here the more the true social underbelly gets exposed.

I moved on to a special PTA meeting for parents of those children who will be graduating from K2 into 1st grade. Discussion focused on the “certificate” and dress code. It’s surprising how these families that struggle to pay school fees are interested in special clothing for this graduation ceremony. I tried to encourage something inexpensive that could be added as an “accessory” to their school uniforms like a scarf or headpiece for the girls. No one really liked the idea. Graduations are big deals at every grade level so this is how they recognize the importance in Liberia.

I met with Sumo, Tumamee, and our new farm helper named Bendu.

Bendu lives in Deanville (which was one of my requirements) and has poultry experience. She will be caring for the chicks during the night shift for the first two weeks when the birds need 24hr care, especially in the cold nights of the rainy season, then will switch to the day shift as a helper if Tumamee. We outlined job responsibilities and negotiated her monthly wages. We then walked the poultry pen to make a list of all remaining items needed on day one. I think we’re looking good …now we just need the building completed in time!

I’ve been a little frustrated with Lavela this project. There’s been a lack of materials on site ahead of time and workers have complained privately to me about “how things are coming in” (which has been slower that they’re used to). Tomorrow we’ll be having a discussion to address this issue.

I met with Jerome, the carpenter, about getting a couple of lingering items repaired on campus and to get an estimate for making some poultry farm items. I made a sample chicken feeder from 1×4 and some 1/4″ plywood strips along with the layer boxes (shown in a previous blog). We need multiples of each constructed and his prices are pretty reasonable. He starts tomorrow on some of the repairs.

I installed print drivers on Sumo’s laptop so he could use my printer with the new solar power in his office. As he said, “I’ve got a very modern office now.”

2 thoughts on “Being “in witch”

  1. Hi, Jon, Based on your last paragraph above, sounds like your solar system (as opposed to God’s) is now up and running. Perhaps I missed the notification in an earlier blog. I do recall, several blogs ago, of your throwing the switch, and experiencing sparks and stuff. Congratulations on another major turn-up. Be well, Herk

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  2. Fingers crossed. Most of all I pray that this will inspire locals with the joy of opportunity and possibility. I pray that joy leads to deep personal involvement and commitment. Sharon

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