Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Here come the Rains...

There are two season in Liberia.  1) Hot and humid and 2) Rainy and muggy..I am not a fan of the rainy season which is starting and will last until October 15th.  Yes, that's right here in Liberia we know the EXACT date of when the rains will end.  Of course, they never end on that exact date-but if you ask any Liberian when rainy season ends-the response will be October 15th.  Not "well, sometime in October"-it is always Oct. 15th.

Taya taking in her own rain water harvesting...

I am not a fan of the rainy season-many who live here like rainy season because it "cools" down.  Nope-it's just wet and muggy-and not to mention muddy and messy.  I am a sunshine, dry season, bring on the vitamin D type of girl-rainy season gets me down (isn't that a song?).  With the rains and winds increasing-I find myself getting mentally tired, pensive and sorta 'funky' (not in a good way). Projects are harder to get to with roads evolving from dust to mud-the supply chain slows down-even getting from your vehicle into the office leaves you soaked.  As I type this the thunder is yelling at me "HERE I COME!"

This rainy season comes right after training and running the London marathon.  After running/training for a marathon -many runners find it hard to get back into the swing of training again.  We are told to take some time off to let our body recover from the pounding we have put it through for the past months.  I have done that.  I took a good two weeks off and then starting running small small.  I started to do a little "boot camp" with my boys -doing sprints on the beach, carrying one of the boys fireman style-sprinting up and down the steep beach.  We even did it in the rain!  Then we went swimming.  You must understand that the ocean gets tossed around during the rainy season which leads to sand and seaweed polluting the once clear waters.  My ears don't like that...and soon I was struck with a very painful ear infection...blasted rainy season!
A typical scene in the rainy season-black clouds are coming!

I couldn't run for a good week -as when the wind blew through my ear the pain would shoot straight through my head.  Soon I was becoming grumpy.  The rain. No running. Half way point of a crazy busy year. I know, suck it up Bev!  However, even with my grumpy pants on due to rainy season-our projects continue.  That is what amazes me during my 8 years here.  SP Liberia projects push through.  Yes, it takes longer, yes, we get dirty, and yes, at times we just can't go to where we want.  But the work goes on. 

This past week we had a workshop on how to plan ministry within our projects.  Before it started we had an opportunity to present what we are currently doing-how the lives of our staff have been impacted working with SP and how they are now impacting their country. It was very encouraging-even though I missed the presentation (WASH meeting)-I had a pre-viewing of the presentation that Joni had done such a great job putting together.  Yes, it is rainy season and yes, it's half-way through a very busy year.  But we are still moving forward, our staff and projects are impacting people every day, we stumble but we get up and push through the mud, rain and frustrations. 

Tomorrow morning, rain or shine-it's time to get up and go for a run.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Even though I am a planner through and through-I will admit and submit that my life is unscripted.  Things happen that I never thought would-and I find myself saying "You just can't make this stuff up! But it's really happening!"  Living in Liberia-everyday is an unscripted adventure-you never know what will happen, both good and bad, and at the end of the day you realize that if someone would have asked you at 7am to write a 'script' for the day-you wouldn't have come close to what actually happened!

It is that way with running and our work-(I love the parallels between running and my work if you haven't caught on yet...) We can plan our programs all we want but there are days that are very unscripted-and we wish we could have a "do-over" day.  Running is very similar-I can train as hard as I can but as I have said before and I will say it again a marathon is unpredictable!  Sometimes the unscripted moments are not that great-like a break down that you put you behind to getting to a project-or a sudden sickness to a staff member.  You are left trying to adjust to these moments and make the best of the situation not knowing what will come next.

But then there are the scripts that unfold and are amazing moments of joy.  My two boys are a living testimony to the "unscripted" moments of life!  I would have not scripted that we would have two boys from Haiti-who have brought incredible joy to me and our family.  Running 3 marathons so far in my life is also a very 'unscripted' part of my life-but I have loved every moment of the trianing and the races. 

I was struck with this notion of how 'unsrcipted' our daily lives are (not to God of course but to us!) these post-Marathon days...here are some examples...A University friend, Dr. Scott Dolff, has been visiting us for the past month-Kendell played basketball with him at Trinity Western University, it has been at least 18 years since we saw him!  It's been great having 'Uncle Scott' around and getting caught up-and sharing with him what we are doing here and also learning what he is involved in here in Liberia.

It was haircut day-Felix just got his, Uncle Scott well, he doesn't really need one anymore-and Isaac wanted to keep his afro...

But, mommy said no as school pictures were coming up!  So poor aunty Joni had to cut his hair as he cried...good grief.
Meanwhile, Uncle Scott and Felix were hanging out...

This conversation went something like this: "Son, when you leave home you can grow your hair as long as you want...But we need you to look handsome for your school pictures tomorrow..."

Having Scott around has reminded me how unscripted our lives are-you never know when and who is going to show up at your door!  Also, I would have never expected Isaac to be so sensitive about his hair cut...

Last weekend I was in another 'unscripted' situation.  On Sat. I had to be at 2 Shoe box distributions, speak at one 'graduation' and then visit another graduation.  It was a long, hot eventful day that's for sure!  Here is a picture of the last graduation -the church that held the festivities was right next to a soccer field where Scott and his team were playing.

Another "I can't make this stuff up!"  moment!

As I sat on the stage-everyone dancing around, the music so loud that my chest was literally thumping causing me to start to feel nauseous-I saw Scott taking a picture of the 'unscripted'- moment. If anyone would have told us at TWU that we would be in Liberia in 2012 in a crowed, loud church-we would have never believed you!  HA!

The weekend ended on a sad note though.  Longtime friends and missionaries the Chapman family left for good back to the U.S.  The boys wanted me to drive them and their friend, Samuel, out to the airport so they could spend as much time as they could with their friend.  One the way out-poor Isaac had some...well, let's say "stomach issues"-which brought mommy to a screeching halt on the side of the highway with the hazards on.  He got out and took care of what he needed to-and of course I had no TP...ugh-you would think me of all people would have TP!!! So I crumpled up a piece of paper (that I really hope wasn't important) and chucked it out the window to him-then I came to grips that I had to go and see if he was ok...yeah. Happy. Mother's. Day. to. me.  To say the least he had some cleaning up to do when we got to the airport...

After all of that it was a very sad and I had two boys literally wailing in the truck for about half the trip home.  However, another unscripted moment of joy that helped-because Chapman's had to leave we inherited their beautiful Dog Zubuna (Za Boon yah).

He wasn't ready for the picture-maybe he was look for the Chapman's to come back? :)

The unscripted life is not an easy one but I wouldn't trade it for knowing what would happen everyday-not for anything.  Everyday is a great adventure that forces me to trust God in all situations.  Running, work, parenting, relationships are always better when they are 'unscripted'-because we would limit what we can handle-in the midst of hardships and would think ourselves undeserving of the amazing moments of joy.  A life unscripted makes us stronger, gentler and full of faith.