Category Archives: Liberia

July 15th – a little restrospective

Julie and I returned to Belchertown safely on July 3rd.  The departure day was a little bittersweet.  Lawrence, our driver picked us up and took us to the school as we tried to cram everything we could into the last few hours on-site.   Julie managed to get her final lecture posted on the Moodle site, and I worked a lot with Jappah to get the remote access setup.

We spent part of the morning with Vuyu, the dean of the school.  He has a daunting task ahead of him.  There’s little funding available to run the school and so as he said he will go begging to various NGO’s and companies in Monrovia seeking assistance.  We both hope he is successful because there is such a great need.

Adjusting to ‘normal’ life in the US has been a bit harder than I expected.  Monday, July 7th I started a new job and Sunday, July 6th Julie headed off with our daughter Rachel to Missouri where Rachel starts her new job.  It’s a week later and everyone is either back home or in their new home in the case of Rachel).

Our dear friend Chacha told us ‘Africa will change you.’  The same sentiment came from our daughter Sarah who has been there for work several times.  I am sure they are both right, now Julie and I just have to figure out what those changes mean for us.

 

June 29th, Sunday – a day of rest?

Sunday has been a busy day, especially for Julie.  We started with going to the ST Nogbe United Methodist Church where Julie joined the service playing keyboard for the introit, hymns, and benediction.  That after a nearly sleepless night as we both worried about the too-short time left here.

Right now (and for the last several hours) Julie has been reworking her kidney lectures.   She has been adjusting the lectures for the local level of the first and second year students and also to get rid of any copyrighted materials.  It is a lot of work but she is closing in on the final lecture now.

I mostly took the day off.  I had asked some of my friends to help me with a few troubling linux commands and some network issues.  I studied what they sent and will be attempting to implement tomorrow.  The system is running fine but the second server is not fully up with Moodle and there’s no cross server backup yet.  I hope to finalize both tomorrow.  Other than that it has been more relaxing for me than Julie.  I even took the time to sit outside and practice bagpipes on my electronic chanter!

We only have 2 1/2 days left then the long flight home.  It has been a roller coaster of emotions of late.  Today, church was a definite high point for both of us.  Their congregation gives so much yet has so little.

I have a few pictures from today’s service….

Julie at keyboard with some of our new choir friends

Julie at keyboard with some of our new choir friends

 

Outside the church with choir and assistant director Sam

Outside the church with choir and assistant director Sam and director Sawie

Julie, me and some of the choir

Julie, me and some of the choir

June 28th, Our last Saturday

Wow, where do I begin?   Last week was a whirlwind of activity.  Our project leader Katherine Luzuriaga, M.D. was here at the start of the week to review our efforts, run a little interference for the team and celebrate on all the accomplishments.   Dr. Jim Bailey headed home Wednesday, Anne Gilroy and Jim Comes on Friday.

Julie is working hard to adapt her kidney course so she can teach the course via the Moodle system.  We have WiFi operating in three locations on campus. I almost have the backup server online.  On Friday, I taught the basic administration of the Moodle system to the schools technical support person, Jappah.  He took to it like a fish to water.   By the end of the day he’d built his own test course complete with a quiz.

This morning when I was down at the restaurant getting some coffee I overheard a man speaking and I thought “I know that accent!”   “Excuse me, do you mind if I ask where you are from?”  “Scotland” was the reply.  We chatted and discovered we are both from the Fraser clan!  BTW this week I did manage to play my small bagpipes at the school… not sure when they will get over that!

Today we managed some time off along with some shopping at the market.  Very educational and fun.  Next week will be intense, we know this as the clock is ticking much faster than before.

I thought some more pictures might be nice…

Everyone carries things on their heads here… in this case that’s a box of microscopes headed for the lab.

Carrying the microscopes

Carrying the microscopes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the laptops awaiting students…60 of them!

the laptops awaiting students

the laptops awaiting students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anne received this beautiful dress from the school

Anne Gilroy and the wonderful African dress

Anne Gilroy and the wonderful African dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset over the Atlantic

Atlantic Sunset

Atlantic Sunset

 

All work and no play? No!

Sunday June 15th, Jim, Julie, and I took a short tour of Monrovia.  It was mostly an automobile tour and since almost all businesses are closed on Sunday, there was little traffic.   We visited several neighborhoods and the monument in tribute to the original freed American slaves that founded the democracy here.  It was both uplifting and somewhat sad.  Uplifting to see people laughing, living their lives in spite of the conditions, uplifting too when you see people doing whatever it takes to advance their place and their country.

p.s.  – there’s a slideshow here, it might take a minute or two to appear.