I watched the scenery for awhile but eventually fell asleep on Mark’s shoulder because I was pretty exhausted. I used the pillow that we had received from a close friend for our plane flight. It was a huge blessing because I was able to rest for quite awhile.
About halfway there, we stopped at a place that we would call a rest area. It’s the only one in Liberia and it was built in honour of President Tubman, who was a really great president, I understand from all that I’ve read. Apparently, he did his best for the people and brought prosperity into the country. They loved him so much that they built this place in his honour. There used to be a zoo there but due to the war, the animals were killed. At least, though, everyone is able to relax for a time and enjoy the beauty of God’s nature in the midst of a long and hard drive! We walked around for a bit, sat on chairs and just chatted for a bit then eventually began moving again.
From there we went to Gbarnga (pronounced as in Bong-u…short o sound, short u sound). We did stop to get out and buy some snacks in a previous town on the way…we got some bread and a drink for everyone in the land cruiser…for which I was thankful to have. I was so thirsty! We also bought some rice for us to be able to have in Duaita. I had been asking Mark if we could go to buy some Liberian clothes and he said we couldn’t do it yet in Monrovia or the other little town but then he asked the pastors about stopping someplace in Gbarnga. Pastor David, Pastor Philemon, and Pastor Sam all went with us to one of the clothing stores (which was basically a stall and that was it). We looked only at Lapas, which is a wrap around skirt without anything to connect them. The Liberian women are very good at getting them wrapped tightly around themselves so they will stay quite well; although, sometimes even they have to tighten the skirts. I only wanted one and chose out one for myself but then found out later it was too small for me. Oh well! So much for shopping with the men! I must say, though, that Pastor David did tell me I needed two and I didn’t listen…talk about stubborn women! LOL! The lady I bought the Lapa from did say she came from Duaita, which made me glad that I bought the skirt even if I couldn’t wear it!
We didn’t stay too long after that because we were stopping at AFBM clinic. If you read about Mark’s previous trip, you would know that he stopped in Gbarnga at one point and visited the AFBM clinic. At that point, the clinic was fairly small but it grew during the four years Mark was gone. Mark went looking for Sister Carolyn to talk with her but she was with someone at first. We kind of walked around and waited for her to finish up what she was doing. She came out and talked with us for awhile. She did say that we needed to be careful about eating the fruit that was cut by dirty knives as we could get some kind of disease. I was disappointed because I wanted to be able to eat some pineapple, which had to be cut by someone’s knife! I eventually gave up on not eating the fruit because I wanted some so badly. The Lord kept us safe and I was thankful for that! We met one of Pastor Sam’s sisters. She came out looking for Mark but he was busy at that moment. When he was finally free to talk, she was busy. I told Mark she wanted to see him so we walked around looking for her. I think Pastor Philemon went over to talk with someone else and so Mark was finally able to talk with her for a moment. When we were done, they had to go looking for Pastor Philemon, which everyone joked about. It was time to go and they couldn’t find us then they couldn’t find Pastor Philemon. We did leave so we could head off to Duaita.
We piled back into the car with the promise that we would see them the following week and spend the evening and night with them. That did sound exciting but so had everything else so I felt like it was just another exciting event to add to our already filled repertoire of things happening on our trip in Liberia that I would be journaling about! 😀
Once again, I fell asleep until I heard someone mention about us being pretty close to Duaita. I woke up because I knew I needed to be awake and not half asleep when we arrived. I began looking around and studying the countryside…after all, this would be the area we would be living and I was very interested in seeing it. We stopped to drop someone off at the village that wasn’t far from Duaita…Gbenequelle. From there, we continued on to Duaita but we had to go really slow because the roads were an absolute mess. There were huge dips in the road with one side of the road low, and the other very high. The photos give you a good idea of how bad the roads were.
As we neared the village, we saw people standing on the side of the road. They behaved differently then most of the people we saw on the trip. A lot of the children would wave at us, but very few of the adults. These people, however, began jumping up and down in excitement, waving for all they were worth. At first, I thought it was just a really friendly village then remembered that we were very close to Duaita. I told Mark that they must really be excited about our arrival…he agreed. During our trip, I had been the only woman in the vehicle and kind of felt like I was surrounded by bodyguards. It was pretty interesting because I knew by then that we were safe no matter what was happening. The pastors had gone out of their way to be a help to us and we had done much discussing of the things of the Lord (ok, they had with Mark and I mostly listened). Every time we went shopping, Pastor Philemon would go with us and carry our bags. Now, don’t get me wrong…we didn’t tell him to do so, he told us it was the safest thing to do due to people who would steal from us when they wouldn’t necessarily do so from someone who knew what to expect. This was quite interesting news to me and so we let him carry our bags because he knew what was best.
Anyway, back to the village and what was happening…after we went past a few people standing and waving at us, we eventually came to a group of people blocking the road. The driver came to a stop and we sat there for a minute or two until the driver decided that we needed to get out. Pastor Philemon told us that we needed to get out of the vehicle because all the people were surrounding it and the driver wanted to go on to the house. Jerry, Mark, myself, and the pastors got out and suddenly people surrounded us, trying to shake our hands.