Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Obama Phenomenon

In Liberia, Obama is a national hero. Many Liberians I know stayed up all night here to watch the election returns coming in. When I'm walking down the street, people who realize I'm American sometimes just randomly shout "OBAMA!" at me. People are naming their kids Obama. And more and more, you see his name in print. Not just in newspaper articles about the US economy, or foreign policy... but in advertizements and on sign boards all over town, Obama just keeps popping up! A couple local examples:

The Obama "Yes we can, Liberia" filling station (that's gasoline in the 1 gallon mayonnaise jars)... and right next door, the Obama Communication Link:

And finally, the Obama Grocery.

Mr. Obama, it looks like you've made it! In Liberia, at least! --Rick

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Medical Students at ELWA!

For the first time in about 2 and 1/2 years, we have medical students at ELWA Hospital. I am really enjoying having Ginny (on the left--a 4th year student from Univ. of Vermont, and an old friend from Holden, MA) and Corinne (a repeat visitor--she was here as a student in 2006 and now is back for a second tour, from Switzerland). Having the opportunity to teach and train them, as well as to see them interacting with patients and staff, is just wonderful. I think this experience is a real challenge--we have so many patients who are acutely ill, and so few resources in terms of testing and treatment, that they are really challenged to sharpen their basic clinical skills--and to depend on God. I'm praying that the Lord will use this time as a very special one in their lives, as they make decisions about how he might have them use their skills and talents in a way that taps into their gifts and personalities and also brings Him honor.

Thanks for coming to Liberia, Ginny and Corinne!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mystery Photo #6

Corinne, a medical student who was here in 2006, is now back for a second 3-month rotation! She told us the other day that she enjoyed our blog, but said, "What ever happened to the mystery photos?" So, here we go with ... mystery photo #6! As always, comments and guesses are welcome, and we'll "reveal" it in about a week.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Yekepa Camping Trip

Do you guys like to go to cool places where something used to be happening in the way distant past (like a ghost town), or where something might go on in the future (like an industrial site that's for sale)? Do you like to go camping, swimming, or hiking? We got to do all those things the first weekend of the year, when we joined the Waines clan (Dave, Audry, their kids and a couple of their EQUIP volunteers) on a weekend camping trip to Yekepa, a town on the border of Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea. Yekepa is the site of the largest iron ore mining operation Liberia has ever hosted--at that time (in the 70s and 80s) run by LAMCO. Just recently, Arcelor/MITTAL, the iron and steel giant, has signed a contract to reopen mining operations in Yekepa, including rebuilding the town, revitalizing the railroad from Yekepa to the port of Buchanan, and resuming mining operations sometime within the next few years. African Bible College has just reopened their school in Yekepa--we are friends with some of the folks involved in the project there.

For us, it was a terrific weekend which included a swim in the big, man-made lake; a scramble to the top of Mount Nimba, and some sweet fellowship while roasting marshmallows around the campfire. And... just for a bonus... it was nice and cool! Must have gotten down to 68!

Here's the group, taking a breather about half way up Mt. Nimba....

And here they are on their final scramble to the summit....

Jared claims the summit marker for his own... All in all it was a great weekend. On the way out of town, we got a little tour of Yekepa, including a "swim" in the "pool"----- Love, Rick for all of us....