For anyone who knows me, they would probably say that I am a bit stubborn, impatient and unreserved. I don't want to say that I always act first and ask for forgiveness later, but sometimes that's the case. In an effort to truly live my life feeling like I have always made the most of it, I have made decisions to do things at the last minute, try things without knowing what I am really doing and act like a sponge - ready to soak it all in. I'm not exactly sure where all this comes from but I am always deeply affected when I hear people say things like "I've always wanted to ________" or "I'll never get to _________" or something along those lines. I feel like I need to talk them into trying or doing ________ before it's too late. Life is precious and limited.
As you know, if you've been following along, I really love Africa, in general. I have always wanted to go there, learn about it, read about it and somehow be part of it. So a few months back when my friend Kathi said she was going to Liberia, I asked if I could go too, not really having any clue what we were going to do there besides something about fistula clinics. So, this morning I took Kathi out for coffee to discuss what I am really in for. Kathi told me about the time she spent in Liberia as a missionary's kid and shared some mementos and photos from her time there. We talked about the history of the country and all the possibilities that lie within such a resilient, battered place. It sounds like we are going to go where we are needed most to gather information for our next trip in 2012.
Some of the areas we will be exploring will include not only the fistula clinics, but organizing well-baby clinics, working with a teacher who is working to reintegrate child soldiers, visit orphanages, work in the villages and other projects identified by Kathi's friend Emile. He is also arranging for us to meet some people, go to the beach and the market, etc. Even though we will go not knowing exactly what to expect - I think that will make the time there more meaningful, as the things we do get involved with will be identified by in insider, instead of us deciding. We will gather information and ideas to then plan and collect a team of people to return in January of 2012.
If you want to help we will be getting lists of things to bring with us on both trips. The first list we got includes a lot of items not practical to bring over - a bus, solar power or internet access - but a lot of things are manageable like school supplies, teacher instruction supplies, library supplies, hand tools, sports equipment and medical supplies. If you are interested in sending something along to Liberia just let me know!
In our conversation this morning, Kathi also mentioned the spontaneous nature of the Liberian people and said that they will often ask foreigners to speak or share a bible verse, so I will at least go prepared with that. I think it's going to be an experience like no other.