Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Port of Monrovia update

Have a look at Google Earth. The image of the Freeport of Monrovia was updated on January 6th, 2012, and shows a lot of changes. Gone are the wrecks of the two sunken freighters in the middle of the port, and new pilings are being driven into the seabed to extend and reinforce the main wharf (6°20'39.12"N 10°47'43.83"W). Many of the old wharf-side warehouses have been demolished, leaving just the port offices where the hapless President Samuel Doe was captured by Prince Johnson prior to his torture and murder in 1990, at the beginning of the long civil war.

4 years on: CeCes Beach still has a river running through it - I guess it's now a regular feature of every rainy season.

The new old bridge looks great, complete with new road layout on the Island side.

And there are some great photos of the completed new Ministry of Health building in Congo Town. When we were last there it was home to hundreds of internally displaced people, who were cleared out before the Chinese moved back in to finish it:

And now it looks like this:

Amazing. Olly

New discoveries raise West Africa oil hopes

MONROVIA/FREETOWN, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Energy companies African Petroleum Corp and Anadarko said they struck oil off the coasts of Liberia and Sierra Leone, raising hopes for an energy bonanza in the war-scarred West African states.

By coincidence, an old friend of mine, Chris Wotorson, is on the very survey ship that has discovered the oil. Here is is, photo'd with the President of Liberia (the guy without a hat on the right of the photo). He was the engineering store man on the Anastasis whilst we were in Europe and Benin, 2004/2005. Jolly nice bloke, and the only Liberian I knew at the time. I did my Basic Safety Training with him in Rotterdam. Olly

Passports and birth certificates...

...arrived from the Child Benefit office yesterday, and went straight into another envelope to be sent to the court for Libby's adoption hearing. Praise God for such an efficient and reliable postal service! Olly

Friday, 17 February 2012

Big swing related Calf squash

Yesterday all five us went to the park, and all five of us managed to get onto the big swing. We managed to get some momentum going, and then I made the mistake of trying to stop it with my right leg. The movement buckled my foot backwards on itself, and the weight of us all crushed my calf. So today I'm still still in a lot of pain and limping badly, and can't drive. Huh. Olly.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Those nice people in the Child Benefit office!

After my complaint yesterday, I got a phone call this morning from a lovely lady in the Child Benefit office saying she had our passports and Libby's birth certificate, and will return them this afternoon in the mail. PTL! Shame I had to make 3 phone calls and a complaint to get this response. Now we can send the birth certificate to the court for the adoption hearing.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Adoption update update

Just before Christmas, the Child Benefit people asked to see Libby's birth certificate, which I sent them with a letter explaining we need it back a.s.a.p. because we have a court case pending.

Last week I sent the application to the Court for the adoption order, and today they wrote back asking to see Libby's birth certificate - and guess what - it is still with the Child Benefit people! Aah! So I made my third phone call asking for it back, and had to make a complaint as they have ignored all my previous phone calls. And still I didn't get to speak to someone who can send back to us the birth certificate! Apparently they have 5 working days to respond to this complaint before I get to make another complaint...


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Libby's UK adoption update

Libby became our daughter by a Liberian Court's Decree of Adoption on 30th November 2005, but as that adoption order isn't recognised by the UK we are having to re-adopt her now we are settled in England. We are having regular visits by a social worker, and yesterday I posted the application to the County Court for an adoption order. We are nearly at the end of a very long road, and hopefully we'll get a court date and the UK adoption order before her visa expires at the beginning of May.

All this chatting with Social Workers has made us dig through our old photos. In early 2007 Sally went to Libby's birth village with Patti, the director of Acres of Hope adoption agency & orphanage, and commissioned a new hand-pump that had been installed by AoH. Quakor Village in Grand Cape Mount County is a incredibly poor village, as you can see from the photos below. The people live in mud and leaf shacks, and try to grow and hunt as much food as they can.

Below, Patti and Sally at the newly opened hand-pump which will save hundreds of lives over the next few years (1 in 5 children die in this region from mostly waterborne disease).

Below, Sally at the village's old source of water. No wonder so many children died.

The new hand-pump, costing only a few hundred dollars, provides clean and safe drinking water, and will last decades if properly used. Olly

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hachiko -v- Greyfriars Bobby

We're watching the movie "Hachiko: A Dog's Tale" (1923 to 1934) . Ever heard of Grayfriars Bobby (1858 to 1872)? Huh. Olly


Today Libby said she remembered (and hated) Booboo The Chimp, who she shared an orphanage with when she was 10 months old. I seriously doubt it, but it's a good opportunity to post the photo of Libby, me and Booboo, taken Christmas Day 2005, just a few weeks after Libby joined the Peet family.

Ironically, Booboo lived better than the kids and even wore disposable nappies whilst the kids rotted in towels wrapped in plastic bags. Olly

Murray's blog

Murray has just updated his blog with some great photos of Togo, including the new dock lay-out including the Hospital's new dockside tents, the new Transport tent, the new fork-lift, the extension to the port, and Togo's new coast road, now fully working. Click here to see the photos. Olly

Saturday, 11 February 2012

African resourcefulness

I love photo. Thanks Rob Baker in Bamako. Olly

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

African plane?

I love this photo, posted on Facebook by a Liberian friend. Look closely. It's made up of old minibuses (like we travelled around Freetown in) complete with dented panels, smashed out windows, home-made roof racks, and the driver leaning out of the window. Photo-Shop at it's best. Olly

Liberia in the news

After weeks of there being no mention of Liberia in the world news, today there are no less than THREE articles about Liberia on the BBC's NewsAfrica website. Must be a quiet day in world news I guess.

Click here to read "Liberia ex-Warlord to be deported from US".

Click here to read "Barbecuing to boost Liberia's Economy".

Click here to read "Rubber Powered Nation".


Friday, 3 February 2012

Visitors from the ship

Have I told you who we've had to visit yet? Well, first we had Keith Chapman (Dental), then Alison Firth (Housekeeping), then Jesse Mitchell (Food Services), then Claire Edmonstone (from Appelsbosch), then Andy & Jodie & Jessica Rothwell (Engineering & Hospital), then Natalie Barnes (Hospital). And shortly Richard and Jo Postles & kids (ex-Chief Engineer & Nurse), then Alex & Sharon Williams (Hospital). Come one, come all. Olly

The Queen in Sherborne

Rumour has it that the Queen is coming to our new hometown of Sherborne on 1st May. Cool. Olly

Boy oh boy, it's cold!

We woke up to an outside temperature of -10 C (14 F) and thick frost. Over the next couple of days the cold dry air from Siberia will meet the damp air from the Atlantic somewhere over the UK...and maybe then we'll see some snow. We are all very excited at the prospect: Libby has never seen snow before, and Noah and Anna can't remember it. Me, I love snow but hate the cold, and am still missing the warmth of Africa terribly. In fact right now I'm sitting in bed writing this just to keep warm... Olly.

Screening in Togo

Wednesday 1st February saw the Africa Mercy's BIG screening in Togo, at the start of their 2012 Field Service. By all accounts, the day went well and crew saw around 4000 potential patients, and hundreds were selected for surgery for between now and July. The day passed peacefully, praise God. Well done, you good and faithful servants. We were praying for you. Olly

Above, thousands queue patiently in the sun under the watchful eye of Togolese riot police.