I didn’t believe anyone that told me I would need help when we moved here. I almost took it as an insult. Which is the way I took some things way back when prior to having the boys, when we were fairly certain they would stay in the NICU for some time. It seemed like everyone had their opinions and “warnings”. I listened, and thanked them, but never really thought it would actually play out like that. But it did, and we ended up being ok. I remembered every instance when someone had told me something that may happen or gave their advice on how to do something. I was thankful for those people even though in the moment it seemed like I didn’t want it.
Living here is not much different. If any of you are familiar with your Enneagram number, I am a 2. Twos are what they call “the helper”. To sum up my enneagram, which is pretty spot on, I like to help, sometimes I over help. Or help people to the extent that they are getting annoyed with my helping. Just ask the people that love me most, they have been victims of this for a long time now. On the flip side there are times I don’t like to be helped. I would love to think everything is sunshine and rainbows all the time, and see myself as only positive as positive can be. But it wears on you. I am working on it everyday, and admitting the times when I need help. Not bottling it in and waiting until the last minute when it’s too late and I have already worked myself to failure. So when people (my husband included) told me when we moved here I’d probably need help around the house, I scoffed. My pride said no way. I can keep my house clean and tidy back in Georgia so I can definitely do it in Africa. After the short amount of time we have been here I can truly say that I have given it my best shot. If my children want a mother that is present, and not someone who is constantly preoccupied by cleaning, cooking, washing, etc., then I had to give in.
A gentlemen that does maintenance work at the apartment complex was putting some locks on our windows last week and asked who we would be hiring to help clean the house (if you are here temporarily, are an expat, missionary, NGO, etc. you are kind of expected to employ a person for help, in turn it helps the nation to grow and teaches young men and women the value of work and making money). This was when I was still big and bad, but gently starting to see all the dishes pile in the sink, and the mopping and deep cleaning that took me half a day to do even without the boys around. That deep cleaning needs to be done 2 maybe 3 times a week to avoid sickness best we can. So I heard him out, id like to mention that I really like this guy (again with my Enneagram number, not gonna find too many people I don’t like, haha!). His name is Levi, and he is a sweet sweet soul. He told me he had a daughter. She is 21 and trying to save money for University as she is done with high school. She is looking for work. It took a lot but I told him to bring her so I could meet her. He said ok, and had her to the house on Monday morning ready for work. Her name is Passion.
I showed her some things around the house and what cleaning supplies to use where. Her English is good and she understands a lot more than she can say, which is many people here. It’s just a very different dialect but many of them speak broken English and can understand a lot more than they can speak back. I am learning so many different meanings for different words. Small does not just stand for size anymore, it’s also the amount of time it takes to get somewhere, or how much bleach to put in a bucket. How many minutes to the grocery? Small small. How much butter is left? Small small. See! I’m learning! I digress, even after having Passion here two mornings this week I can see how much of a help she will be. It will allow me to occupy Max rather than worry myself to death about washing the floors or the dishes in the sink while he plays alone or worse, I have to carry his 35 pound self on my back while doing it! Liberian babies are much smaller than my tubbie tuba.
One of the things on my packing list before we left was my vacuum. Yes, my vacuum. It’s the most amazing vacuum in the history of vacuums. It was gifted to me by my mother for Christmas 2 years ago. It’s rechargeable and can break down to different smaller parts. It’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, and if it poops out one day I will have no other option than to beg my mother to get me another one. Instead of asking Passion to sweep before we mopped, I asked her if she wanted to use the vacuum. She looked quizzically at me and responded that she would like to try. I showed her how to use it and when I placed it in her hands and she pushed that button it was like a kid on Christmas morning. Again, I was struck with the realization that this was definitely the first time she had ever used and maybe even ever seen a vacuum before. Something that I used every single day back at our home in Georgia as I cursed Murphs white hair all over our brown couches. Something that I took for granted even though I didn’t even know I was doing it. A vacuum.
As the days progress we are reminded that we are not alone. God is showing us His plan and it is unfolding right before our eyes. We have had some hiccups in the road already trying to get our ducks in a row for Zach to be fully ready to start traveling. Things in Liberia are done at a slower rate than the states. Instead of rushing everywhere, people are fashionably late, by like 1-2 hours sometimes. These are my people, y’all! Ha! Cars getting worked on can take days not hours, something being delivered between 11-1 can really mean between 3-6, etc. Traffic is non-stop so you better plan your trip wisely to where ever you are going. But no matter the timing, we are getting our stuff done, the car should be ready soon, and Zach will be hitting the road and the Best Version Project will be coming to life right before our very eyes. So exciting.
This week the boys have had school every day but Monday. Monday the President of Liberia, George Weah gave some sort of speech in the city and all sorts of roads were shut down and the talks of anti-government groups coming out to protest had the kids school cancelling, better safe than sorry. But other than that they have been having a blast, meeting new friends, and starting to remember some names! Isaac was struck with some GI issues early in the week, then Brady whom seemed to be a little worse, than me who also had a slight fever for a good portion of a night. Zach had a touch of something that made him actually get sick sick, and same with Max, watching kids throw up is literally the worst. Maybe it was all a tummy bug that ran it’s course. Tummy bugs are just a lot more questionable and a little scary in a third world country when you are constantly thinking about what you can do next if it’s not “just a bug”. Welcome to the Lib! Everyone is well now. Praise the Lord. After talks with many expat families and missionary families this seems to be common. So here is to adjusting to random GI issues flaring up on occasion. Whatever doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, right?!
We have made so many contacts. So many. It has been a true blessing. Our friend, Julie, came to lunch last Saturday and invited me to a women’s bible study group on Thursday mornings. She said the group was comprised of women, mostly mothers of children of all ages. So she got us in contact with a woman who’s mother-in-laws home the study is at. She and her husband are here with Liberian Evangelical Missions. They have 3 children and had us over for dinner Thursday night. Most of the women at the study are missionaries and to hear their strength, and coping mechanisms while living here are just going to do so much for us. Max went right upstairs to play with some other kids and had some time away from me, about 2 hours to be exact. It will be very good for him to have that bit of time on Thursday mornings. Otherwise he is my shadow.
We miss some things from Georgia very much. Our family being the biggest thing. When Max was getting sick the other night I so badly wanted to call my mom, and actually tried. We have to be on WiFi to call home via Facebook messenger app, WhatsApp, or FaceTime on our phones. But if the WiFi signal is no good it is pointless. This night our signal was not good and at the end of the day she couldn’t have done very much anyways. It’s just different being this far away with the time difference, that we are thankful is only 5 hours. We miss our Murph. The boys have been asking more about him but they know he is being taken care of and seems to be getting on fine without us. We miss ground beef, really any type of red meat. We miss super fresh veggie, like lettuce. We are still finding out the best places to buy these things. We miss our fruits, especially berries of any kind (the fact that the pineapple here is the literal bomb.com helps a ton). We miss our MANY playgrounds and parks, trampoline, and yard. We miss our freedom to come and go whenever we want, or are feeling cooped up. Howeever, we KNEW these things were going to be sacrificed. It’s a huge part of why we did this. This entire journey is a gift. We were chosen for it and for that we are eternally grateful. The things we miss will get better as the days pass. It will get a little easier as we continue to adjust.
We are thankful. Thankful for all of you. Thankful for our health. Thankful to be alive. Thankful that we know what it feels like to be loved. Thankful to have parents, grandparents, sisters, and brothers. Thankful for the roof over our head, clothes on our back, food in our kitchen, shoes on our feet, and so much more. Thankful for friends, old and new.
Today and everyday we pray for patience and understanding. We love you all. Thank you for reading and following along.
With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love.