It is graduation season in Liberia, with many students having completed their course of studies, successfully passed final and country wide examinations now being able to receive their diplomas. It is a time of much celebration here. Many parents parade their new graduates around dressed nicely standing in the back of a pickup, sitting with upper bodies through passenger windows or standing on seats with their upper bodies through sunroofs. It is common for families to host large parties as well. From a North American perspective, many of the high school graduates are quite old, reaching into their early 20’s. It is easy to understand why there is much celebration when someone finally graduates.
Sadly, there are many that do not graduate from high school. Speaking with a friend who is a teacher here, there are quite a few that do not make their studies a priority. Several try to find an easy way through the country wide finals by copying off other’s work or buying answers in advance. Inevitably they are found out and failed. Kind of reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins, with five being wise – keeping their lamps full of oil and wicks trimmed, and five being unwise, not taking care of their lamps. When it was time for the marriage celebration the unwise virgins tried unsuccessfully to purchase oil from the wise, with the oil perhaps representing years of preparation made by the wise which effort and preparation cannot by its very nature, be shared with anyone else.
Our weekends continue to be quite busy with Saturday having Trudy teaching classes on self-reliance for four to five hours and Rick meeting with members of the Branch. Sundays are a bit of a blur as well with Trudy teaching a youth class during Sunday School and helping teach people to read and write after church. We are always glad when we get home and can sit down and take stock of the week. We are grateful we are here doing this.
We have been finding that the exercise room can be a dangerous place. In the couple of months we have been in our new apartment we have made time to exercise most weekdays. As a result we are finding that our clothes are not fitting as well as they use to. Trudy has already had to have a dress remade and Rick will soon be looking for a hammer and nail to punch more holes in his belt. You really need to be careful when you exercise, there are always consequences!
Recently we had a friend return from a visit to his home in Calgary. He mentioned that his “honey do” list at home included some gardening projects. We had to pause a minute to remember that it is summer at home and all too soon there will be leaf raking with snow following quickly on its heels. Funny how quickly you can become acclimatized to the relatively constant warm to hot weather when living near the equator. I imagine that we will be wearing sweaters and coats well before anyone else when we return home.
We appreciate hearing from friends and family at home. Time marches on. Since we have been here a number of friends and family members have moved to other locations, a few have passed away, a few have become sick. Others have had children born and all are missed, but as we indicated earlier, this is a good place for us to be. Our experiences continue to refine us and hopefully make us better people. It is difficult to think of what else we could be doing that would have as meaningful an impact for good on others as serving a mission in Liberia. We encourage all to look for such opportunities in their lives. From our perspective, it is hard to go wrong when you are serving others. Take care.