As we were sitting there, Pastor James asked someone to pray over the food. I was the only woman at the table but Mark made it a point to dish out my food along with his…not that this was much different from normal. Mark chatted with Pastor James for a few more minutes then we phoned home to let everyone know we were safe at the Togba house. The Pilgrim took photos of me calling home! LOL! Eventually we all retired to our respective rooms! Mark and I pulled down the netting that was positioned above the single bed we slept on and tucked it around the bed to keep us from getting bit by those nasty little mosquitoes! I had heard what malaria does to you and didn’t want to catch it. In fact, I figured we might not make it back to the states so I was trying to be extra careful! We eventually drifted off to sleep despite how hot and humid it was.
Monday, February 28th – The next morning found us up early and ready to start a new day. We weren’t sure what time we were to leave but knew the pastors would be arriving around 8am. I was able to get in my Bible reading and it was fairly cool out at first but then started warming up. We went into the dining room to eat breakfast and Sister Lydia had prepared us a delicious meal of oatmeal and pineapple. Pastor James ate with us and we had a great breakfast time. Sister Lydia came out to say goodbye to us and we finished packing things up in the suitcases so that they could be packed on the top of the vehicle. I was pretty interested still in seeing what would happen next so I could put it down in my journal. One thing I did know was that I would NOT be writing while we were driving if the roads were anything like our trip from the airport to Pastor James’ house. Prince was one of the ones that showed up to say hello to us. He told us that Pastor James told him to come with us. We were fine with that since Pastor James thought it was a good idea and didn’t say anything to the contrary. He was nice enough and I was glad to meet him after praying for him for so many years. I was hoping the teaching would help him and prayed to that end.
Mark and I went over to the school as that was one of the places Mark took many pictures and videos the last time he was in Monrovia. I was pretty interested in seeing the school and taking more photos for the boys to see. Pastor James asked Mark if he wanted to say anything to the children and Mark said yes. As he spoke to the children, I was able to get several videos and photos. The children kept eyeing me…probably wondering what the white woman was doing! I must say, though, the children loved to have their photos taken so maybe it wasn’t too bad for them! We finished up there and went back to the house. Everyone was waiting on us to return so we could begin our journey into the bush!
When it came time to leave, we decided to stop at one of the stores that sold American and British food. We wanted to be able to buy the pastors some treats so when there wasn’t any food being given, they would at least be able to have some bread and mayonnaise or bread and peanut butter. It took us awhile but we finished our shopping and carried on with our trip.
After a short drive, we ended up getting stopped by a policeman. He wanted to see the papers of the driver for some reason. We figured it was because he wanted a bribe but I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying. The driver – Gerome – and the policeman argued for a time then the policeman told him to pull over. There was another policeman at the side of the road talking to someone else. He came over to talk with the driver and wanted to see the papers, as well. During this time, I was beginning to wonder again because it seemed to me like we were eventually going to make it into jail…one way or another! I didn’t like that idea at first but then I had a thought. Instead of thinking that we would end up in jail every time something happened, maybe I should look at the whole situation as an adventure. I liked that idea and decided that every time something happened I would say that another adventure was happening to me that I could write about. I figured that at least the boys would enjoy hearing about it! Who knows what kind of adventures we would have when we returned the next time! They could then write about their own adventures! This was a huge help in most of the situations I found myself and I believe the Lord used it to keep me sane and excited over the time in Liberia no matter what the circumstance (outside of one major event but that is another story that I will get to eventually).
Anyway, Pastor Philemon spoke up and said, “Officer, officer. Excuse me but can I say something?” The policeman indicated to the affirmative and so Pastor Philemon said something I didn’t understand to which the second policeman seemed ok with that. The policeman said, “They can go!” The first policeman started to argue but then we were waved on. I was very relieved and glad that the Lord kept us safe once again.
From there, Mark asked for us to stop at the Red Light District. Now, let me clear something up…when we say ‘Red Light District’, to us it means something completely different from what is meant in Liberia. The reason this place was called that is because it was the first part of Monrovia to get a traffic light. Now, the red light doesn’t work…in fact, none of the traffic lights work and I don’t remember even seeing it in that area but that’s what they call it still. We did get out to buy some water and get Jerry a scratch card and sim card for his phone. I will admit that it was a very scary place and Mark kept a tight hold on my hand. Many people were staring at me but I acted as if I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary! It was a strange feeling but I figured they hadn’t seen a white woman with red hair before so they were justified in staring! LOL! These are all little shops on the side. Some are actual buildings and some are little stands where they sell different things…anything just about that you would need. Some places just sold scratch cards, which were cards that you scratched and put into your phone. This would give you five dollars worth of call time on your cell phone. Some places had like an exchange stands. You can exchange money from one country to another…mainly USD (US dollars) into LD (Liberian dollars). Some places sold different types of food that smelled sooooooo good! I asked Mark if we could try something and he said we’d better not. Some of the places sold shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. Some places sold clothes (western world style) while others sold Liberian style clothes. Everywhere we walked there was something interesting to see and I wanted to buy so much but we only bought what we needed! When we finally returned to the car and actually got in, I breathed a sigh of relief because it was a bit overwhelming!