“What are they doing?” I asked Mark, trying to figure out why they were having a meeting without us. It wasn’t that I expected them to have us for everything but if something good was going on, I wanted to be there.
“They’re eating lunch!” Mark replied, watching the expression on my face. I’m not sure what he saw but I know what I felt!
“Well, do they not want us to eat with them?” I responded, trying to figure out what was going on.
“No, it’s not that they don’t want us, they just expect us to eat up here because that’s how it’s normally done!”
“What?!” I can’t remember if I got loud at that point, but I was definitely not happy about it. “Well, can’t we just take our stuff and go eat with them?”
“We won’t do it today because everything is already set, but I don’t think this will happen again.” I could tell Mark also was not happy about the situation staying the way it did. We really are no better than anyone else and for us to stay away from them at meal time did not sit very well with Mark and I.
“This is NOT right and I want to be able to eat with everyone else. I can’t believe we are up here and they are down at the meeting house. This is really upsetting!” I was almost in tears when I said it. It’s not that we were trying to prove anything, but we were there to spend time with the people not set ourselves up as being better than anyone else.
Mark turned around to the pastors, who were talking among themselves in the Kpelle language. “Men,” he began, “this is not acceptable.” The pastors turned to look at him, probably wondering what he was talking about. “We will not be eating up here while everyone is eating at the meeting house. Tomorrow, we will have our food served with everyone else at the meeting house.” From what I remember, I think a discussion ensued for a short amount of time but Mark was adamant. We would all be eating lunch at the meeting house starting on Wednesday. We also let them know that we didn’t want another meal in the night time. I think the pastors were relieved over that because they said they didn’t normally eat but one major meal in the daytime. We said the same thing and so it was settled that our major meal would be at the lunch time with the people at the meeting house.
Mark and I started the same routine of him serving me and us sitting down to eat our food but this time Mark insisted the pastors eat with us. He let them know that they needed to eat at the same time as us. We already had our food but they began getting their food at this time and we ate and chatted. Sister Tamah also ate with us and it seemed that her and I were the only ladies at the mission house. I thought it seemed kind of strange but I didn’t really say anything as I wasn’t sure what to say.
After lunch was over with the men began talking about VCP and how it would look. I knew this would happen because Mark said they had a lot of ground to cover. There was never anything said about us leaving so I just sat there. I was quite happy to listen and extremely interested in what was being said. They did cover a lot of ground! Towards the end of their discussion, though, I began wondering if I should even be there as it was very much the men’s meeting. I wondered if the pastors felt I was intruding on “their” meeting. I almost got up and left a couple of times but then remembered that Sister Tamah was there and didn’t want to leave her by herself. I did stay there with her and, in the end, the men finished up their meeting and Mark reminded them that we would be eating with the people. The pastors didn’t seem too upset over it so I guess they didn’t mind at all! When they finished up, Mark told them that we needed to rest and prepare for the evening service. At this point, I was pretty relieved because I was starting to feel the wear once again on my body!