The response for supporting the other new Liberia Reads school with their $600 was rapid. Thank you – our training will be in Gbarnga! I spoke to Lyn Gray about the support and she feels she may be able to add some funds to it which would allow her to enroll two additional schools near Gbarnga. I like that because it would give us more schools for GLTC to network with and it starts to build a critical mass of child literacy in the area.
I finished the last few student photos today. Since it’s PE day, our kids were out there weeding and cleaning as usual. There was an added motivation though – volleyball! This has really caught their attention and a group spent most of the morning just clearing grass and brush to create a new, dedicated court area. I arrived as they were putting stakes in the ground and running strings for boundary lines. They weren’t quite up on the correct size (which is 30′ x 60′). The string laid out a 25’x25′ square making each team’s side very shallow at just 12 1/2′. We made some adjustments and compromised at 27′ x 54′ to avoid having to dig out a huge “buggaball” hill in the way. The seriousness of their efforts was evident when Sumo had them dig a narrow trench and pour concrete boundary lines. By mid afternoon a two-on-two game was already underway.
This seems to be the trip of “goodbye songs” for me. Several children sang during recess while hooking weeds on the ground. The cooks invited me to the kitchen where they sang two different songs, which I was fortunate to video. The evening adult literacy class also called me in (just as my tortellini was finished cooking) and sang a song. I really enjoyed the mix of English and Kpelle versions. Some were “stock songs” while others were customized to fit me. One of them even included a question in Kpelle about when “mother” (wife Kathy) would visit – I know that’s just what she wanted to hear. With the songs and thanks done, some of the adults pleaded their case for needing GLTC to offer vocational training.
I spent a good deal of time going through finances this afternoon so all is in order with school operations costs, funds are available to Lavela’s crew for finishing the poultry buildings currently under construction, and all Rotary grant finances are on track within their budget categories.
Late afternoon, Sumo shared some of his desire and vision for the next school buildings, specifically the need for a cafeteria/multipurpose building. He requested that I visit the Methodist school compound in Gbarnga. I needed to pay Mr. Barbar some money I owed for plywood and Rotary had a reissued check I had arranged to pick up at the Hilltop (sometimes called the Serengeti) Hotel on the north side of Gbarnga. With these errands completed, we swung over to see a very large multipurpose building the Methodists have that is about 40′ x 80′ x 20′ high with a stage and basketball court. This was the model in Sumo’s mind of what we needed. It got the creative juices flowing…all that’s needed now is about $80k!
With most airport drop off trips, a visit to Eagle for building supplies is typically on the agenda. Given a Sunday flight, Eagle will be closed. I suggested Lavela join me so that he and John 2 could spend the night after my bon-voyage and stop at Eagle on Monday morning. I also don’t like John 2 driving back to Gbarnga alone with the specter of vehicle incapacitation an ever present concern.
One more full day at GLTC…I anticipate many people wanting to “talk” (i.e., can you bring me a laptop next time?). I’ve gotten used to it but it’s still difficult to decline so many pleas.