There are many people, myself included, that get frustrated with the corruption, the bureaucracy, the amount of time it takes to get things done, not being able to know if people are trying to take advantage of you and steal or if they are genuine-that takes place in Liberia...if you ask ANYONE who has worked and lived here they would say the same thing. Everyday I find myself praying for wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions, to be patient, slow to anger...sigh. This happens in my own country of Canada too! However, Liberia, a country re-building after a terrible war-is moving forward one step at a time.
What I am constantly reminding myself is, much like marathon training, it takes time! You cannot just hop off the couch, without any training and expect to run a painless marathon and feel fine the next day! (If you can you are lying :). It is the same for Liberia-roads can't be built overnight, government capacity can't be instantly perfect-you have to go through the sometimes painful steps of starting over, rebuilding, sometimes falling down-but getting back up. In marathon training-you have good days and bad days, injuries come and then are healed, sometimes you have to push through pain-but step by step we all continue.
SP is part of this journey-in rural areas of Lofa, Gbarpolo, Nimba and River Ghee counties we are walking along with our Liberian brothers and sisters one step at a time to re-build this beautiful country that we love. Is it hard and frustrating at times? Yes, yes it is-and is it worth it? These pictures are my answer...(all pictures by Joni Byker).
I could post hundreds of pictures that would illustrate the reason I run-the reason SP is here! Again, if I am being honest (wow-being vulnerable today!) My 7 years in Liberia have been some of the hardest, frustrating and exhausting times of my life-BUT it has also been one of the most joyous, fulfilling, pure awesomeness (yes that is a word)!! Taking one step at a time - with great friends, co-workers-and with every Liberian that we have had an opportunity to walk with has been such a privilege. I have no doubt when I am old (way off in the future) I will look back at this time in my life as one of the peaks, not valley, of my life.
Being here for two elections, seeing the steps that Mama Liberia has made since 2005-one step at a time-has made me certain that the journey although long has been worth it. As I train-I am reminded that I am also a 'work in progress' -making changes every step of the way to be better-me and Mama Liberia taking one step at a time!