It’s so easy at home in the States to simultaneously leave lights on throughout the house, a TV going in the living room, phones and laptops charging, an electric hot water heater running in the basement alongside an extra storage freezer, and the oven baking cookies while a microwave reheats leftovers in the kitchen. Here in Liberia, we live daily with a higher consciousness of the power resources available. This is true both of the precious electricity generated by our solar panels as well as our capacity to uplift or tear down others. Tuesday morning started with a lesson in the limits of the former while the afternoon ended with an experience of the latter.
As a team of four, Marsha, Sharon, Roxanne and I found the limit of our energy storage as we all used ceiling lights, charged phones, and ran fans through the night causing us to awaken to a depleted battery bank. Thankfully, the sun continues to shine on a daily basis so by early afternoon the guesthouse was once again an electrified edifice. Going forward we will need to ration our power consumption a bit more.
Roxanne stationed herself in the library and with the help of Amuchain began doing health assessments, providing a baseline for the future. A few of the children have issues that are serious enough that we’ll be buying antibiotics and other meds to treat them. Each child received a multivitamin and a treat of peanut butter crackers. Sharon has been getting to know our teachers, observing in the classrooms, furiously jotting notes, and trying to focus her mind full of ideas after 34 years of teaching. Marsha and I spent the day taking photos of individual students and class groupings. It’s been fun seeing how the children from our original class in 2017 have grown. Moses was enlisted to help with the light deflector and Amelia corralled the kids.
As we wound down to photographing our last students, we began taking shots of staff. The final person of the day was our classroom helper, Annie Dolo. She stepped up to the blackboard and matter-of-factly took the chalk to write her own name. Two years ago she couldn’t do that. We all erupted in applause as we celebrated her literacy accomplishment. Her face beamed — reflecting the power of encouragement and uplifting Annie with it.