August 9, 2012
It’s officially our first day in Liberia. We arrived last night. I have been out of the country before, but this was way different than even going to South America. The airport was crowded, small, and humid. The plane stops on the tar mat, lets you out, and you have to walk to the one story terminal. There are two terminals, but mainly two sides of one building. After going through immigration, we had the daunting task of finding our luggage. I think I’m always a bit nervous hoping our luggage gets there. I noticed mine, so I started breathing easier. Since we put our luggage in together, I was pretty sure it would all be there. It seemed like all of Liberia was there helping the passengers get through the airport. There were security guards, men carrying luggage hoping to get a tip, taxi drivers, and loved ones waiting to pick up someone.
At first, Tara didn’t get one of her pieces of luggage. It was the one with Oscar’s things in it, so I wasn’t too concerned. At least Tara would have her clothes and things. I went through customs first to see if Oscar was out there waiting for us while Tara was checking on her luggage. I was out there for about 15 minutes by myself. Everyone wanted to help with giving me a ride, calling Oscar, taking me to a hotel, etc. We didn’t have a contact number, so I just stayed in one spot, and told everyone that they weren’t going to be able to help us. Tara and Eleeshya came out with ALL the luggage. Praise the Lord. We then waited there together for about 10 more minutes. We noticed someone drive up and point at us. We didn’t know him, but he had a sign that read AHEAD on it, so we were relieved. So many people came and helped us with our luggage, and I knew they wanted a tip. The man with the sign introduced himself as Napoleon, which later Oscar told us his nickname is Cheepee. Cheepee told me to sit in the front seat, and asked me for $10 and he would take care of all the men that helped us. After we all got into the car, one man knocked on my window asking for money for him. I guess he got left out or something. I asked Cheepee if I should get more money out, but he said no and we left.
It is so different to just sit back and not have any control in your decisions. We drove for about 10 minutes, and we met up with Oscar at a little restaurant. The owner of the restaurant was named Sam. Sam was an American that had been born and raised in Liberia, lived his adult life in America, and then retired and moved back home to Liberia. He said he loved living here. We also met KJ the lady that would be taking care of us.
We drove through Monrovia, and saw interesting homes. Some were built nicely, while others were crude building with grass roofs. We were driving to the hotel and we were so tired. They had me up in front and I tried so hard not to sleep. It took about 45 minutes to arrive. The sun went down, so with nothing to see, I just sat back and relaxed.
We finally got to the hotel. It is nicely set up. There is barbed wire surrounding the hotel, so that is a bit disconcerting, but we feel safe. We met Sunday, the lady that was to cook for us. Sunday cooked us spaghetti for our first meal in Liberia. All of us sat and ate dinner and talked a bit with Oscar. We had great fellowship with each other, but we were all getting super tired. Tara was feeling dizzy, so they left and we settled in. I got unpacked and went to sleep. Oh, I forgot that before we went to sleep, we got to call home and talk with our families. It was so good to hear their voices. God has blessed me with a wonderful family. I am so thankful.
Day 2 coming up later.