4 head lights side by side, a honking horn, and a loud thump and scraping sound brought me out of my 28 hours without sleep daze. It was another near miss of cars coming at us in our lane forcing Robert, our VisionTrust Liberia Country Director to veer sharply on to the shoulder, skidding to a stop. It was the second time we had been forced off the road in 10 miles.
Less than a month before in almost the same location our VisionTrust truck had been destroyed when it ran off the road where there was no shoulder, and hit a concrete post, they narrowly avoided being hit head on by a driver in their lane.
Yes I am back in Liberia. This is the madness of driving in Liberia. I arrived in Liberia October 17th, to prepare and lead a team of 13 Liberians and 3 Americans through the next phase of construction on the Prime System Christian Missions School.
My first few days were spent gathering equipment and materials. In Liberia you don’t just go to the yellow pages and call up a materials supplier, you go to where they are digging the sand, contract with a truck driver, hire shovel people, and inspect what they are digging up. Next you repair all the broken equipment, shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, all needing handles, wheels, sharpening. Once the process is started you lead them to the location and then inspect each load as it comes in.
The next challenge is to find the gravel. A pay master is hired, this person’s job is to inspect count and to buy buckets of gravel rocks created by the people in the quarry community. In rainy season there is little work and people are hungry, some starving. Often they fight and argue over the opportunity of earning the meager amount paid for brutally hard work.
A tire is lit on fire near a large rock outcropping, when the rock is scorched sufficiently by the burning tire, men attack the outcropping with 25lb sledge hammers. When a piece approximately the size of a car breaks lose it is assigned to a person, who breaks it into pieces the size of a truck tire. From there women and children take over. Held between two feet, the pieces are broken into marble size gravel. 14 buckets of gravel will earn enough for a person to eat for the day.
There is forming lumber, cement, pipes, etc. each requiring attention, each purchased in a different manner and location. It is demanding work, made more difficult by the torrential rains. Once leaving the main road, the side streets are covered with pot holes often 2 feet deep or more and 30 feet across, filled with the floating debris from flooding. The dry season, which lasted perilously long, gave way to the most rain in years. Wide spread flooding washed out large areas, taking with it the drainage ditches, roads, and our bridge. The previously good roads are now under 2 feet of water and debris.
It was wonderful to see the faces in the community, glad to see us continuing the work after the stop during rainy season. It was hard to hear about some we had met that we would never see again, life is so short here.
My team arrived safely and now the fun will begin. Please keep us in your prayers, as we work with the community. To build relationships while building this missions school, we need to continue to have credibility through consistency, so as we continue to speak truth from God’s word, lives are changed.
Pray for healing of relationships and rifts between members of the community
Pray for wisdom as we work through a mirriod of issues, problems and details.
Pray for continued good health.
Pray for sufficient funds.