Last week while in Foya-on a nice warm late Saturday afternoon a few of us decided to hop on a couple of dirtbikes and go visit one of our community development staff members. It would be a good 45 min ride-especially since we (Joni and I) were doubling the other two! Ten minutes into our journey we entered a village-and saw a big group of people gathered-some wailing and yelling-right away I tensed and got into my 'robot' response-assessing everything that was around me-was there danger-is someone sick or injured and needs care...and then I saw and smelled the smoke.
As we drove to the last few mud houses at the end of the village we saw a home with smoke flooding through the windows, women running with bucket on their heads, men grabbing the buckets to through on the flames...there is no 911 in Foya. There are no firetrucks in Foya. Right away we asked if anyone was in the house-thank goodness there wasn't. However, the rice that the family had harvested was in the house, the money from the ladies savings club was in the house...their clothes, their home all being destroyed before them.
When the men pushed in one of the mud walls the oxygen rich air flooded in causing the flames to shoot higher. All we could do is stand there-even the people gathering water slowed as they too understood that it was too late-it just had to burn itself out. Family members were crying-as they know the implications of loosing a home-there is no "Extreme makeover" to come and re-build their home, no food bank to help them out for a few days...
Before we drove off I asked Eleanor our CMP manager if we have pastors or projects in the village. Much to my relief we do and together we wanted to make sure that this family got help. SP is going to help this family with some blankets, help replace the savings money that was lost and help with their home. I look forward to being in Foya next week and checking out how the family is doing-I have no doubt they are 'bouncing back'. It is at times like this that I am so thankful we work where we do-yes the roads are rough, the work days are long-but through our community development programs we can be that safety net when disaster strikes! We can truly carry out our name and be the Good Samaritan and extend our hand and help someone bounce back.
Joni and Eleanor on the bike that day...
As for training...well-it seems that a stomach parasite decided to hitch a ride back with me to Monrovia-mister gastrokillus...mercy I was sick! Without going into great detail-I spent much of one night on the bathroom floor-and I will not be able to eat a hamburger anytime soon :(!!! As I lay in a nice soft bed-with medicine to kill mister gastrokillus and people to check in on me to make sure I am still alive-I realized how blessed I am to be taken care of. I have 'bounced back' went for a 5km run yesterday and will keep going on my training as I gain my strength back.
Yes, we help of a lot of people through our programs, but it is the times in your life when you need help that you realize how important helping really is. Being there to help people 'bounce back' from disasters like a fire-is also part of what we do here at SP Liberia-it was not in our plan that day as we left the office on our bikes- but God had a plan. I am glad He does and that we can be part of it.