Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Ashley and I have been planning a workshop for some of the orphanage directors that ORR works with. "Workshops" are big here in Liberia. Call a group together, talk to them for a few hours, give them a certificate and the job is done. Our workshop is scheduled for next Monday, November 3rd.

It has been an interesting process- finding a place to have it (an almost finished church building without electricity, chairs or a bathroom), how to invite people with no mail service (make 25 phone calls with the help of your In-Country director and repeat the information 15 times per phone call and then still have 7 people show up the week before it is supposed to happen and ask where you are), plan a curriculum for 50 people (who may or may not read and probably won't understand a word I am going to say).

And then there is the blackboard. We needed a way to present the information we will be talking about. Powerpoint, over-head projectors, even dry erase boards are not available in Liberia. So we move on to the good old fashioned blackboard. We do not have a school supply superstore or Office Max to run to, so what do we do?

The following are the steps to getting a blackboard in Liberia. . .
1) Ask Momo, your Chief of Security to fetch Buckeye, the neighborhood carpenter.
2)Have an animated conversation with Buckeye about having a blackboard built, wondering the whole time if he has any idea what you are saying.
3)Have Momo translate.
4)Draw a picture in the sand with a lollipop stick. (see below)
5)Send Buckeye off with money to the market hoping that he really knows what he is doing.
6)Wonder for hours why it is taking so long for Buckeye to return with the building supplies.
7)Scratch your head in confusion when he returns saying it cost too much to come back in a taxi so he hired a cart to bring the supplies the couple miles back in the heat of the day for 60 cents less.
8)Ask Buckeye if he got everything he needs.
9)Look confused when Buckeye says yes and then you realize he only got wood. No nails. No blackboard paint.
10)Have another animated conversation (with Momo translating and at least 2 phone calls from the other side of the fence) about how tall the blackboard should be.
11)Hope and pray that you are not wasting your time and money.
12)Go out to dinner with you friends and try and not worry about it.
13)Return home and find a blackboard that actually looks like the drawing in the sand. (see below)
14)Order a desk.

Hopefully the workshop will turn out as good as the blackboard did.

1 comment:

Tabitha Ruth said...

That was a wonderful story! I can just see you smiling through it all frustrated yet not with out that sweet sense of joy and pollyanna bright side you never lack:)