Shortly after we entered the mission house, we noticed that our belongings had already been placed in the room we were staying in…the pastors pointed that out to Mark. We took out our air mattress and mosquito netting and got things situated. Apparently, the pastors thought we needed all the mattresses and beds in our room so we ended up having to get them to take at least the mattresses to their room. We looked to fill our air mattress up but left the pump in Monrovia at Pastor James’ house. Jerry had told us that he had a pump that connected to the cigarette lighter so we decided it would be best to save some room. The driver had disappeared somewhere so we were hoping that he would show up before night time so we would be able to fill up our mattress.
Jerry situated himself and then we went outside. There were a couple of children standing outside and I remembered Mark taking pictures of the children when he had visited previously. Every time he would take the pictures of one or two children suddenly a bunch would show up out of nowhere because of wanting their pictures taken. We decided to try it ourselves and see what would happen. Sure enough, the one or two that were there turned into five, then ten, and pretty soon quite a number of them! We did get many photos of children!
After we amused ourselves for a time with taking pictures of the children, we were told the food was ready. It was really tasty. Once again, there was a bit of spice to the food and we mixed what they call ‘soup’ with our rice. Mark dished my food up again which is quite usual in our house. We either go ahead and dish both girls up…Mark does one and I do one…or if the food is going around he’ll put some on my plate from what he gets and I’ll do it to his. We do try to help each other with the food, for which I am very thankful. We did notice that the pastors were watching everything we did…ok, Mark noticed, I should say! I think I asked for an overabundance in mine because it was so good! I had seconds, as well, since I liked it so much. After the first time or two, I only had one helping because I wanted everyone else to be able to enjoy what we were having as well. We knew that what we didn’t eat would not be wasted. Everyone else would be able to enjoy what was left. Mark pointed out that there were several children and women watching me eat through the window. He suggested that maybe they wanted to see how white women eat. I kind of laughed and said I expected I ate like they did…with my teeth! Pastor Philemon made a comment about the children staring at us as we were eating so I told him about how the girls had a friend that would stare in our window every time she came over to play with the girls so we were kind of used to it. He smiled about it but I wasn’t sure how much he understood.
We did rest and the afternoon turned into evening. Pretty soon we heard the bonging sound of the bell. I think it was the pre-requisite for the normal bell because 30 minutes later we heard the bell go again. We were to learn that everything is done on Liberian time…which means that when you say you will start at a certain time, the people will eventually show up maybe 15-20 sometimes 30 minutes later. Anyway, the first night we started at 7:30pm then went back to the mission house to eat. I really wasn’t hungry but didn’t want to offend anyone so I ate. We were all definitely exhausted.
Everyone was pretty exhausted so we all headed to our rooms shortly thereafter. The driver still hadn’t returned and the air mattress was thin on air. We decided to put the air mattress over the regular mattress and our sheets on that. When we rested in the afternoon, we found out that the mattress was extremely thin and we could feel the hard frame. There were no springs to save us from the frame of the bed and so we tossed and turned all night long. I was tired enough that I slept a lot better than I would have in the same situation in the states. The food we had bought earlier in the day, we kept in our room…which was a mistake. We had finally fallen asleep and then we heard a noise in the room. Tap, tap, tap, tap….it turned out to be a rat (or possibly two) after the food. Mark grabbed the light and shone it in the direction of the rat. He froze from the light but then Mark made a loud noise and the rat took off. I didn’t personally see the rat so I couldn’t describe it properly. Mark did say it had brownish colouring and that it wasn’t as big as a rat you would find here in the states. It’s more like the size of a mouse that you could buy from a pet store. Anyway, after the rat ran away, we did hear a couple of more. I joked around about it and suggested we name the rats. Mark came up with Obama for one and I can’t remember what the name of the other one was. I don’t think we really told any of the pastors about our names for the rats! Now, once you have gotten underneath the netting, it is so hard to get out so if there are any kinds of bathroom breaks needed, you’d better make sure it’s done all at one time. We figured we’d get up while we were both awake. It didn’t take long to get the netting up but it sure was hard getting it all tucked underneath the mattress when we returned! Finally…finally, we were able to get settled back down and go to sleep! The rats did come back a couple of more times and Mark woke up to scare them off again.
Tuesday, March 1st – We rose up early because we heard everyone stirring and didn’t want to stay abed while everyone else was moving around. We took our bucket bath again and I ended up groaning because the water was so cold…it was a pretty cool morning. They told us they would be willing to have the women heat up the water if we wanted but I figured I’d save them some effort, considering how much effort they put in to welcoming us, cooking our meals, and everything else they were doing. I just went ahead and bore the agony of really cold water on a pretty cool morning.
After getting dressed, we took a walk down to the village. Now, the mission house wasn’t too far from the village but it was further than just being next door. The house had been built on the hill about a year or so after the first missionaries came into the village. The missionaries had been invited to stay in the chief’s home and then they were offered the hill to build a house for themselves. The hill was actually where the villagers did their spirit worship. I guess they figured the white people were close enough to being spirits that they needed to live on the hill. Anyway, the land was given for the purpose of the missionary building a home there. I think he lived there about 30 years or so but it was definitely a positive thing which encouraged the villagers to listen to the gospel.
The villagers all stared at us as we walked by. I’m sure we were a very strange sight…Mark was holding my hand all the way through the village. Jerry and Prince followed behind us at a more leisurely pace. I think Jerru was caught up in taking photos of the children, to which we ended up with loads! Ok, so we did get a few ourselves, as well.
The trees are absolutely beautiful as they are so tall and not the kind we are used to seeing. One of the trees are so tall that the roots have grown much higher than people! The view from the mission house is breath-taking and to be able to see it every morning while we were in Duaita was great!
After we returned from our walk, we went back to the house to wait for breakfast. I went into the bedroom to do some more studying because I would be teaching the women that morning. After some study, I came back out and asked Mark about the food. Apparently, they got started late on the breakfast and it’s not like here where you can throw something together or just grab something on the go. The breakfast was late and so was the meeting! Oh, well, the Lord knows what He is doing…even if we do not! We had rice for breakfast and I wondered about the oatmeal. Mark said he hadn’t given them the oatmeal but he would do it so we could have oatmeal the next morning. We also secured the food, just in case the rats decided to come back in the daytime…ok, we thought we did! We had noticed the pastors didn’t eat with us; although, we did tell them that several times to do so. We finally insisted they do so to which they helped themselves with a bit of reserve and being unsure of themselves instead of waiting for us to finish our food completely. They always did want us to go first, though, no matter how many times we invited them.
Shortly after breakfast was finished off, it was time to go teach the ladies. At first, we had been told that we would be using the church building but it ended up growing quite warm, even in the morning that they decided to use another building that didn’t have walls built all around it. I understood later that it was the storehouse and it was located directly behind the kitchen. There was nothing there so I guess it was not really being used or they moved everything somewhere else for the time.