I have had a bit of trouble putting words together these past weeks. In all honesty, I have not really made an attempt to write at all. My mind has not been right for it and sometimes it’s best to let things rest.
From car troubles to childrens injuries to seeing good friends go, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for us all. Zach put into words how I’ve been feeling about writing in a short blog last week. Every time I begin it’s as if I backspace and start over one thousand times in fear of sounding proud, or preachy. My thoughts and my words could spill out on paper and go on forever about life here and what we see every day. You can’t escape it. It is everywhere. The poorest of the poor begging for food, children not in school because the fees are to great, watching the rate go up and up on the signs outside shops (rate of exchange from Liberian Dollar to USD), and seeing a country that was doing alright and seeing some economic gains start falling into a recession. Families cannot afford their rice, many cannot afford travel expenses to get to and from work, it is starting to become quite a crisis. There will be a protest held on June 7th titled “Save the State”. There is so much unknown surrounding this date and we just pray for peace. We pray for the people to be heard. They need to be heard, something needs to happen. But we pray that no one takes advantage of the crowds, that people can freely and peacefully protest. We pray for God to have His hand on this day and for the evil to be kept elsewhere.
Just a little note, when we first got to Liberia in January the rate was 160 Liberian Dollars to $1 USD (so 320 LD would be $2 USD, it’s crazy and you should see me in the market trying to do math, let’s just say I do not carry any USD on me to the markets). In comparison to when we first arrived in January the rate today was 188.5 to $1 USD. To someone that may only be bringing in $5-10 dollars a day for work that small jump is astronomical. The price of a bag of rice has risen. The price of cooking oil has risen. The price of the small plastic bags of water that is bought to drink has risen. People who could barely feed their families one month ago are struggling even more now. We pray for a change in Liberia. We pray that the current administration can see the needs of their people. These needs are so incredibly great.
Malaria is hitting the country hard right now. Several children in the orphanages have contracted it. Sadly, this is completely and totally normal. Malaria is a sickness caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. The parasite invades the red blood cells, causing high fevers, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, and sometimes diarrhea/vomiting. It is not contagious through saliva, only transferred by being bitten by a malaria carrying mosquito. There are different strains of malaria and some who have lived in these places for long periods of time develop a sort of immunity to the parasite where the symptoms might not be as heightened when they contract it.
If properly treated you can bounce back in about 2 to 3 weeks time. But many here in Liberia do not have the means to treat their malaria at all. But life cannot stop. People go to work, kids go to school, and many can go on with their day to day even being very sick. We have been able to get some kids at the orphanages treatment, and wouldn’t you know that most of the children who got treated had sponsors. That was one of the best days, knowing someone was sponsoring a child getting medical treatment that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Children and infants are the most vulnerable to the parasite. 440,000 people die a year from malaria and the majority of that number are infants and children in Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 91 percent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa, most commonly in children under the age of 5. In most cases a malaria related death can be attributed to cerebral malaria (most severe pathology cause by the malaria parasite), breathing problems (pulmonary edema), organ failure, anemia, or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If caught in the early stages and treated correctly with the right medicine there is a chance that it will not reach these critical stages.
The Best Version Project is allowing these children to get medication when they have malaria or if they contract typhoid. Two prominent illnesses here that can be treated easily and with medicine purchased at the pharmacies. If the child’s condition is worse than the first stages they have the availability to get carried to a clinic or hospital for further care. This is something these children and their caretakers have had the option to do. We ask that you all prayerfully consider sponsorship of a child. The malaria season has started and will only get worse with the rains. We do not want to see another child perish while we are here. Theresa’s story is still fresh in our minds. Her spirit is with us, and we are continuing the fight to not see another child be taken by a disease that can be treated. We just need your help.
Our family is hanging in there. We have had two falls form Max just days apart that we thought both wounds needed stitches. One required a clinic visit in which they told us they had no string to stitch. It was truly for the best. Stitching would have been a traumatic experience for him. A little more of a scar will result in a story he will be able to tell forever about his time in Africa when he was a tot! Brady is currently fighting a staph infection on his knee. Never in my life did I see myself doing what I’ve done to my kids here. Extracting infections out of their knees while Zach holds them down is one for the books. Poor kid. We are hoping we are near the end as the infection has not grown worse, no fever, no streaking or sign of infection in bloodstream. Just screaming pain as we hold him down to try and get it all out. We pray we are at the end of it and will not need to take him to the clinic.
Daryl and his kids are here and that has been such a light! Seeing familiar faces, having extra hands for the kids, and watching them get a lot of things done while here has been great. The rest of the team gets here Sunday (including Zachs mom). Please pray for safe travels for them. We are excited to see them all.
We love you all. Thank you for continuing to support and follow this journey.
Below is Isaac Page. When you ask Isaac what he likes to do he says play basketball. This is pretty rare for Liberia, majority of the time is futbol! I love his spirit and his smile. He is without a sponsor right now and we hope that your and your family consider to be that light for him.