This Blog serves as two things: a photo-diary of our lives between 2007 and mid 2011, when we saw some incredible things and met some amazing people; and a reflection of our more normal lives since then.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Libby and Sammy


Our Libby is two and her little Liberian friend Sammy is five, yet somehow Libby is bigger than Sammy. In fact, nearly everyone is bigger than Sammy, because his dad has been unemployed for years and not been able to provide a decent diet for his family. This isn't happening in some remote and inaccessible corner of Liberia - it's right here on Congo Town Back Road! Olly

New police uniforms


This week, the Liberian National Police received new American-style uniforms. Their worn-out and mis-matched semi-military old uniform and random foot ware and baseball cap has been replaced by smart new shoes, trousers, belt, shirt and hat, with two shiny badges. The force has been transformed by their new image - they are less irritating and more relaxed and suddenly people are taking them more seriously. Olly

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

City water in Congo Town Back Road


This morning, to our surprise, we found thousands of gallons of fresh water pouring out of a broken city water pipe into our back garden. This is incredible progress by Liberia Water & Sewer Co, after 15 years of the pipes around here being totally dry. On my way to work I passed flood after flood, as households all along our road experienced the same pipe leaks. LWSC have a massive job ahead of them as they battle to stop millions of gallons of water an hour pouring into the sandy earth. And this is in part down to the work of our great friends in Mercy Ships, who spent many hours rebuilding water pumps at the water plant, so that the pipes could flow again. Olly

Friday, 25 May 2007

Bad bridges


The broken-down road network in rural Liberia contains thousands of collapsed timber bridges like this one in the photo. Not only does the state of these bridges prevent vehicles from reaching many villages, but it also makes the villages completly inaccessable during the height of the rainy season, for months on end, as rivers break their banks and wash away the poorly constructed roads . Olly

Good bridges


If my proposal to seek funding for the construction of bridges is succesful, we will hire a workforce of nearly 300 people to hand-build 34 timber bridges, as featured in the photo. Olly

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A great day for Mercy Ships


In 1999, Mercy Ships was donated the 18,000 tonne M/V Dronning Ingrid, a former Danish railway ferry, and work commenced to convert her into the world's largest non-governmental hospital ship. Today, nearly 8 years later and at a cost of over $60 million, the ship renamed M/V Africa Mercy arrived here in Liberia, and moored across the dock from the aging 12,000 tonne M/V Anastasis. It was a wonderful day but emotional day, as crew from both ships met and shed a tear or two at the end of so many years of hard labour. Tears were also shed for the beginning of the end of the Anastasis, our home for 2 years. She is a dear old ship, with plenty of character but high maintenance costs: later this week crew will start moving their possessions into the new ship, and before too long the Anastasis will be sailing for the scrap yard in India. She will be missed. Olly

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Noah's friends in Liberia


I am Noah Peet and I live on Congo town back road, Monrovia, Liberia.
I am going to tell you how to make this hut.
1. With a cutlass cut a few palm branches.
2. Find sum lumber.
3. Dig 4 holes.
4. Put the lumber in the holes and on top of the other lumber.
5. Then put the palm branches on the side and the top.
Some times you can see huts like this one. Noah

Dumpsters for all - update

One by one, the bright yellow dumpsters distributed throughout the city (as per my entry of 7th May) are being stolen, even though they have been constructed out of materials that cannot be used in construction. Such a shame. Olly

Monday, 21 May 2007

Better Sally!


After three days of stomach pains and sitting on the toilet, Sally turned the corner late last night (Sunday), and is feeling human today. Thank you for your prayers and concern. Olly

Friday, 18 May 2007

Sick Sally.


Sally has been sick for the last 24 hours with a dose of "running stomach", which shows no signs of leaving her yet. Would you mind praying for her speedy recovery? It's nothing life threatening of course, but we could do without it. Thanks. Olly

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Transportation


One of Liberia’s biggest challenges is getting food from the country to the markets in the cities without any reliable forms of freight transportation. Taxis are the most commonly used methods, and every highway into Monrovia carries many of these vehicles, all carrying 6 passengers minimum (instead of the four the car is meant to carry), and usually all horribly overloaded. Its no wonder that all the fruit we receive is over-ripe and bruised. Olly

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Me and my friends


hi, i'm Anna and i'm 5. I can jump, I can run, i can swim, I love swinging, and I love being snuggled up in my bed. And I like meeting new friends. I like spending time with my friends. In the photo is Hadassah and Estina , Moses and some other friends. We climbed trees and played on a rope tyre swing yesterday. My friends love having their photo taken. I like playing at Hadassah, Micah and Jedediah's house. Anna

Monday, 14 May 2007

Proposal update


I have finished drafting my first proposal and I have passed it to Equip's Country Director before it is submitted to OFDA. Meanwhile, a very exciting possibility is emerging - to work as implementing partner for the Liberia Community Investment Program, which would be a totally new direction for Equip to go in. It would involve a massive project in which up to 800 Liberians would be trained with new skills. The budget would be huge. I would very much like to get involved in this project - it is right up my street, but it is very early days yet and I don't want to get too excited. Maybe nothing will come of it. I'll keep you posted. Olly

The Chinese.


The Chinese are here in increasing numbers, and they are in the process of investing tens of millions of dollars. They are building a massive new embassy, and have renovated the national football stadium. They are in the process of surveying the country's major roads with a view to developing them into 4-lane highways, so that the iron-ore mines can reopen and transport their ore to the ports. And they are rumoured to be contemplating rebuilding Monrovia's old bridge that collapsed late in 2006, and the hydro-electric power plant, that was destroyed by Charles Taylor's rebel army in 1990. They also provide the UN with soldiers and trucks, who transport thousands of tons of food and supplies for the UN and NGOs here for free. Ironically, the Beijing Chinese Restaurant has just closed due to lack of customers. Olly

Noah's legs.


Thank you to all of you who have been praying for Noah's legs, which were covered in infected mosquito bites which were both painful and itchy. He was prescribed antibiotics and antihistamine 3 days ago, and he is now well on the road to recovery. Olly

Friday, 11 May 2007

Rain.

Last night it rained for 9 hours constantly, often torrential rain that came with hurricane force winds that blew water horizontally inside buildings for 3 or 4 meters. Monrovia looked a very sad place this morning as thousands of bleary eyed people came out of their flooded houses and tried to face the day ahead. They are tired, cold, damp and dispirited, after spending the night trying to salvage their worldly possessions. Huge numbers of the population here live in temporary houses made of sticks with mat sides, which are far from waterproof, and corrugated iron roofs. Our dear friend Musu - who had so much water in her rented room that her mattress was floating - has been forced to find a new room to rent for herself, her two grown up children and her three grandchildren (all in 1 room!). As for us, we are fine. We enjoyed the drop in temperature from 31 degrees C to 26 degrees, and our house has remained wind and water proof. Please spare a thought for the people living in the rain-damaged houses and take time to pray for them. We have 5 more months ahead of us of this rainy weather. Olly

Thursday, 10 May 2007

"If you had a light-saber...


...could you wave it around your head when it rains to keep dry?". These were Noah's very first words when he woke up this morning. He is totally and utterly obsessed with Star Wars. He is driving Sally and me crazy. Have any other parents out there experienced similar? Olly

Monday, 7 May 2007

The National Grid


This is a sobering reminder of the condition of the Liberian National Grid. Here, most of the cables are missing and the whole 80 foot high pylon is covered in vines. Will electricity ever be restored here as it was, I wonder...Olly

More supplies for Equip Sinoe Project


Every week I load a container of supplies for our project along the coast in rural and isolated Sinoe County, 1 days sail away by a UN chartered ship. Each container contains medical supplies and equipment, food, fuel, vehicle and motorcycle parts, hand-pump parts, cement, timber and other building supplies, stationery and training materials...in fact everything you need to run 6 clinics and a hospital in a place only accessible by ship most of the year. Olly

Dumpsters for all!


Today saw the arrival of dozens of big yellow dumpsters all around town, provided by Monrovia City Corporation for residents to throw their garbage in. The illegal dumping of garbage is a very big problem here - the majority of the population dump it on the streets - and so MCC has been given funding by the UN to address the issue before any major outbreaks of disease. Olly

Friday, 4 May 2007

Health promotion signboards


They are badly made and badly painted, but the message is clear to the 20% of Liberians who can read - "Save pump water in sealed container for safe drink". Such a simple message, yet despite the best efforts of Equip Liberia and countless other aid organisations, ignorance of it is responsible for the death of over 2000 babies and children every day in Liberia. Using these signs and other methods of teaching, Equip's 2000+ volunteer Community Health Ambassadors have been able to reduce the daily death rate in our target communities from 1.2% of the population to 0.7%. Olly

Thursday, 3 May 2007

We are so sore.

Noah's legs are covered in mosquito bites that are becoming infected as he scratches them, Anna has an infected and swollen leg from a spider bite, Libby's ankles are covered in fire-ant bites which she scratches all the time, and I am suffering from sores caused by constant sweat...can you spare a moment to pray that we heal quickly? Thanks. Olly

Q: What do you call a 6 foot tall Nigerian soldier with a machine gun?


A: Sir

Farewell to an old friend


Last week my old friend, Land Rover #326 from the Mercy Ship Anastasis, was totally destroyed by a fire probably caused by an electrical fault. #326 and I go back to when I purchased it in early 2004, and later we both joined the ship on the same day. It was a miracle that all the passengers and their luggage escaped from the inferno unscathed - as you can see from the photo the heat was so intense that even the aluminium roof burnt. Olly