My Monday started with an early phone call from Joshua to welcome us to Liberia. It’s nice to be welcomed but I would have also welcomed another half hour of sleep. I got up and decided the first thing to address was the lack of chlorine in our guesthouse water which showed up when I tested last night. I dug through my box of assorted keys to excavate the appropriate Masterlock key that would gain my entry into the water tower fence and pump house door. My initial assessment revealed someone had messed with the various valves that control flow through or, in this case, around the chlorinator. After opening the housing that held the chlorine tablets I discovered none. Fortunately, this was an easy fix. In addition to adding chlorine I replaced a gasket to ensure no leaks for at least the next year or so. As the sun rose, our solar began producing electricity and the well pump kicked into action sending chlorinated drinkable water up 30 feet to the water tower and down 300+ feet to our guesthouse. I like simple problems after our complicated first day!
We decided to tour the campus to give a full overview to Sharon and Roxane. Sumo decided to join us so he could enjoy sharing the developments of the past year. From the warehouse to the classrooms to the poultry, all the highlights were hit. We intended to walk to Deanville but were scheduled for our “official” welcome program at 11am by the students and staff. With some time beforehand, we played games with the morning session students. Sharon got into her zone playing Simon Says and Duck Duck Goose. We soon gathered in the new cafeteria/multipurpose room.
There’s one word for the welcoming program — WOW! The children’s singing is always a highlight but this year it was eclipsed by the “GLTC Cultural Troop”. This is a newly formed group of 2nd and 3rd grade students dressed in costumes and adornments that danced to Liberian drumming. I wish I had the network bandwidth to upload a video because it was incredible. The girls looked beautiful as they moved in synch and danced for at least 15 minutes with such energy. They exited then three boys entered and did their own dance routine.
The dancing was followed by welcoming remarks and more song selections. A skit developed and performed by the students was both well-acted and intentionally very funny. They did a great job.
With the program ended, we were invited to meet with the teachers in the library and were surprised with a lunch of sardine sandwiches and soft drinks. It was a great opportunity to get to know the new teachers, Theresa and Emmanuel, and match names with faces for Sharon and Roxanne.
In the afternoon we walked into Deanville on our newly cleared access road which is more direct than our old way through the squash farm. We visited families and learned more about Liberian culture. We chose to walk back to campus by the path through the bush. This is such a beautiful and peaceful meandering amongst palms, mango trees, pineapple plants, and tall grasses. We stopped at Moses Pewee’s old family house to share how palm nuts are gathered, boiled, and beaten to extract the oil as well as about the different palm varieties. One is good for producing cooking oil while another is only good for soap making.