Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Sunday in Liberia

Sunday was Easter so a lot of volunteers woke up early and headed to church. Liberia has a large variety of Christian religions. Joy and David went to a Methodist church with one of the drivers and his wife. Christella and some of the military folks went to catholic mass and Robin, Sue, Julia and Valdez went to Rock Church—an evangelical church. All the services ran about 2 hours. I stayed in but should have gone with Robin's group because it seemed like they had a really neat experience at Rock Church.

Robin had previously been in Liberia with Physicians for Peace where she first met the bishop of Rock Church. She was really excited that she was going to be able to go to Rock Church again and made Bishop Cox a prayer shawl out of really pretty multicolor yarn. She had been knitting it since Ghana. At service a baby was being dedicated and the bishop asked Robin to help with the dedication. She didn't know the baby's family but agreed to help. She took the baby into her arms and was asked to give it a blessing which she did.

The whole group later went on to visit the clinic which was created by and is run by the church. Sue, Robin and Julia were all impressed by the clinic. It has a delivery room, operating room, electricity, and running water. It sounds like JFK and the small clinic are like night and day.
The group that went to Catholic mass enjoyed themselves too. Obviously the sermon was about the resurrection of Jesus Christ but the father tied it into the rebirth of Liberia as it begins to come out of the civil war. They also said the service was really festive because a dance group of children came down the aisle dancing.

After church a few of us headed to CeCe Beach. There were a lot more people there than the other day when we had visited the beach. There were lots of families and music going. There were men on the beach playing volleyball and soccer. In Liberia there is a big Lebanese population and they were also out on the beach.

I sat on my towel with my iPod on people watching. At one point there was a little boy attempting to through a Frisbee but he just couldn't get it and little girl carrying buckets of salt water from one place to the next. It's funny how little kids get a kick out of the smallest things and aren't afraid to try new things because being embarrassed never crosses their minds. It was a relaxing afternoon and I got lots of sun even though I just sat out there with my shorts and tank top because I didn't think I would need a swimsuit on this mission.

Actually there are a lot of things I wish I had thought of to pack besides the mosquito spray, sun screen and my khaki shorts and Project HOPE shirts. I should have definitely brought some cold medicine and extra hair bands. Also, I am beginning to miss looking nice—I miss my make-up and nail polish. I didn't bring any of my items that make me look a little better because I thought I would surely be labeled prissy and I didn't want that, I wanted to be taken seriously. The result is now I don't want to be in any pictures because my hair is wild and I don't like the way I look. I know this really superficial thing but it's been almost a month since I got to look pretty and girly. It's funny people look at my picture on the blog and don't even realize it's me. Joy the other day as we were looking at pictures on my computer said "she's beautiful" and I replied "that's me." The other day I finally borrowed Faye's nail polish and felt a little better about my toes.

Sunday was also Caleb's birthday so for dinner I joined him at the sushi restaurant in the hotel. The sushi restaurant or the other hotel restaurants are our only choices for food besides the MRE's. Who knew you could get decent sushi in Liberia. The Living Room—the restaurant's name—looks like something you would find in Washington or any big city in the U.S.A. and has Filipino sushi chefs. I was a little weary at first about eating raw fish here but it is quite tasty and I am not sick so that's a good sign.

Tomorrow our last week in Liberia and of the mission begins and it will fly by. I can't believe I will be on my way home with everyone else on the same plane on Friday night. It should be a fun flight, it will be really hard to say goodbye to folks when I arrive at Dulles but I hope I can keep in touch with the friends I have made and hope to see them on future HOPE missions.
--Marisol Euceda

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