June 2007 - Monrovia, Liberia
What a celebration it was when the Africa Mercy arrived in the port of Monrovia, Liberia. All 300 plus people on the Anastasis were out waving at us and welcoming us to the city. They were so excited to see the long awaited ship that took eight years to build.
There were many dangers. The first night we were in port, there were six swimmers trying to climb the ship and steal whatever they could. A week before we got there, the Anastasis had three armed robberies one night. A guy got on board swimming and held people at knife-point. You see, there are many sunken ships in the harbor and many that are abandoned. The companies that sent the ships to Monrovia abandon the ships and leave the men aboard. The men can't go on ashore since they can't clear immigration, so they swim the filthy waters to steal from other ships. One of the ships next to us was fed by those on the Anastasis. The men were very thankful.
Many robberies in town as the cars stop, they reach in the cars and steal cell phones, cameras, whatever is valuable.
About 80 percent of the people in Liberia are unemployed so there are people all over the streets. Here is an example of many houses in Monrovia and Liberia. In the countryside, all houses are tree branches and poles cut from trees.
I got to an orphanage to see some of the native children. Many of the native Africans wear no undergarments but just shorts, maybe a shirt, dress for girls, and some wear shoes. The kids were so adorable and fun to play with. We stuck two poles carved from branches in the ground and tied a rope to the two at the top. Someone brought a blow up beach ball so we played volleyball. We must have played an hour under the intense African sun and heat and humidity.
Boy is it humid in Liberia. When we go out in public (off the ship) we must wear pants or dresses for girls. Included are a few pictures I took. There were about 30 kids there at the school but not all were attending since they couldn't pay for a uniform, books, and all. It costs about $200 for each child to attend school. There are precious children both boys and girls. One little boy wrote his name on a piece of paper and gave it to me. His name was Sackie.
What a difference in how they worship the Lord. The Liberians would dance and sing all through their service, and I mean shake and dance. They didn't have an organ or guitar or drums, but they make noise. They knew how to keep a beat with their homemade instruments and it was wonderful to hear. There was a sermon preached and they tried to keep it under two hours for us foreigners. We all took water with us as I could feel the sweat dripping down my back for two hours. It was a special mother's day sunday, about one month after ours in America. They even dance and sing when shaking hands with the visitors lined up front in the church.
LIBERIAN PRESIDENT VISITS AFRICA MERCY
President Johnson Surileaf, the first lady president of an African nation, visited the Africa Mercy. It was a super day and she came with many soldiers and body guards. The soldiers were in bullet proof vests, helmets, and M-16's lining the dock and standing high on top of shipping containers. Here you see in the picture the men all dressed up for battle. The previous president, who was very cruel to the people, still has supporters in the country. So they have to be prepared at all times.
I thought I would show you our children. Joy, Matt, and John are having fun with cans of silly string at Matt's 14th birthday. They soon had the silly string all over everyone and in their hair. But it was fun. Can you tell which three are the Siver kids. The three red heads on the left. They are gorgeous.