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What to do when it rains?

June 24, 2011

I don’t know how to explain the rain here other than to call it epic. It started storming sometime after midnight and has been going strong ever since. It comes in swells, cascading down torrentially for thirty minutes at a time then slowing to a drizzle only to pick-up again. I imagine this is what it sounds like under a waterfall!

Yesterday we were discussing differences between American and Liberian schools. In Liberia it is common for students—and teachers!–to stay home if it’s raining. Current Volunteers Emily and Julia said that they are often the only teachers on campus if it is storming. Why? There is no electricity so the rooms get very dark and the rain is deafening on the tin roofs. The trainers asked if this was a problem in American schools. “What do American teachers do when it rains?” they asked earnestly.

We got a taste of Liberian school in the rain this morning. We visited Lango Lappaye, Magribi county’s only public junior high and high school. Small desks crowd around cramped rooms and each has at least one wall dotted with holes to let in light from the courtyard. We conducted our Liberian English lessons here and, even with only four of us in class, Morris had to walk forward and raise his voice for us to hear. Imagine addressing a group of fifty or more!

Our lesson was about giving directions and getting around the market so after class we headed out in the rain to put it into practice. Rain might stop school, but it certainly wasn’t hurting to market! We made our way through the meat and fish area where Morris pointed out zipper fish, cow skin, and pigs feet before heading to the “smal-smal tins” like spices and tiny bags of peanut butter. I was very excited to see onions, garlic, and ginger root here too. We broke for lunch and our lesson will continue later this afternoon at Matt’s homestay.

We’ve been with our families just over a week and things are finally settling into a routine. I joined an extended family with a mother, father, grandmother (ol’ ma), aunt, and six kids. Plus one more due any day! They are taking very good care of me. I’ve taught them how to play ‘go fish’ and throw a frisbee and they’ve taught me Ludo (very similar to Sorry) and shown me how to eat fish with a spoon.

Life in Liberia is good, but I miss everyone reading this at home. If this is two weeks, I can’t imagine two years. Here we go!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Emily Hammer permalink
    July 9, 2011 1:35 pm

    Bekka, I’m so thrilled to see all of your posts–I have been wondering all the time how things are going for you on this adventure! I’m happy you are doing so well and staying so positive! –Emily Hammer

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