Thursday, July 5, 2007
The Poorest Country in the World
On the plane ride here I was reading about Liberia and it said it is one of the poorest countries in the world. I knew it was poor, I just don't know how you quantify the poorest. But truly after walking around a bit I would agree with that statement.
Yesterday, Scott finally agreed to let me go for a run on my own. So I ran by what the people here call a squatter village. Makeshift homes of one room where several people sleep. They will have to move eventually and have moved. I then ran down to the ocean where I would get fewer stares, well at least there were fewer people to stare. But you would have thought I was Madonna running on the beach. All the kids wanted to wave. Two brave women ran with me for a while. The first was Esther, an 18 year old who was in Monrovia working. I asked her if she had an children, she said a definite NO! I stay in school. I said good for you. That seemed to me to be progress. After she dropped off, Fattea caught up with me. She was a 12 year old who wanted me to meet her grandmother. So when we turned around I stopped by her village. Her home was far inside the village and I had to walk by a lot of people who were like who are you? But they were all friendly and I was happy to say hi and talk to them if they wanted. I met her Grandma and her Mom and several siblings. The children there got a kick out of my hair it is fine, soft they say. Several wanted to touch it. I ran back on the beach and back to the hotel, no problems. No worries, there will be no time to run again, but had to get one in!
The beach here is gorgeous as most beaches are and if it were anywhere else in the world there would be high rises and multimillion dollar homes along side it. Instead, squatters are along side it and one man told me the strong current of the ocean swept away his home. People use the beach as a bathroom (at least the sandy part). As I was running a little boy started waving to me and he was squatting down. It wasn't until I looked more closely that I saw he was actually going to the bathroom. Later I went back to the street with the squatters with my video camera. The kids loved seeing themselves on video. One man wanted me to take video of his dog because the dog had no fur and find out what was wrong with it! But as expected the adults one by one pulled me aside and wanted me to help. Everyone wanted to tell me their stories. The first family, their husbands were killed in the war, they had no food, and wore the same clothes everyday which was very apparent. The second family, a husband, wife, four children, no jobs and he wanted me to pay for his kid's schooling for a year, 100 dollars a kid. Then a woman wanted me to put cement on the floor of her home and the next to fix her roof that leaked from rain. And on and on. With all of these people it is heartbreaking to say, I cannot help you. When I told one family I was here for adoption she asked if I wanted to adopt her kids!? I said no, I do not want to take kids who are living with their parents, especially mothers anyway. She said, "No, really, you can have them." UGH!!!
I leave you guys this morning with a picture of Emmanuel Taos. He is the 2-3 year old at the AFAA house with cerebral palsy. I wanted to hold him and give him some special attention, but it is very difficult. His limbs and muscles are very stiff. He cannot control anything. It is very sad.