Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Today I wanted to post some information I copied from a couple who is missionaries is Liberia,
if you want to follow their blog,


I have emailed them some questions. I admire this couple and their children! If you have time read their testimonies! God is so amazing how He works in ways, that we can not even fathom His love for us!

We are still waiting for some update, if Trokon brought Marcus his little package!

Today B2 has a football game after school! :) After that we are going to watch our niece play volleyball at NWC! Good Luck USF! I can't wait to see her play with her team!

Here is another blog from a local gal, also working as a missionary in Liberia! The country has been through so much, we take so much for granted! http://jonesinliberia.blogspot.com/

Here are some facts about Liberia!

Have a blessed day!

My sister asked me to help her with a term paper that she is writing for school about Liberia. The following is what I put together for her and I thought that it may be of interest to some of you also.How we are accepted as a white family here in Liberia:When my husband and I along with our ten children first came here to live in Liberia few people on our road had ever seen a white woman and almost no one had ever seen white children although most of them had seen white men from a distance.When I would step out into the road with our kids right away it was like fireworks going off. Lots of gasping and a whole lot of screaming from children who had never seen white people before. That came to be just a background noise of us walking through the village to do our marketing and such.When we first moved here we had no fence around our property and until we finally finished the fence our yard was filled with people 100% of the time. When I say filled I mean at least 100 people all the time were watching us through the windows or gathered around us when we would come out of the house. They would form big circles around our kids touching their arms and hair. Some of them would even try to look under their clothes to see if they were “white all over.”In the morning I would open my door to see 40 or so people all gathered around looking back at me like they had been there for hours waiting for me to open the door. They watched us do everything and much of the time they were laughing as we attempted to do our laundry by hand and cook over a coal pot.The one who got the biggest reaction was our youngest child Josiah who was then 18 months old. Some people would jump back and shriek startled when they saw him. Josiah has snow white hair, snow white skin and wears only a snow white diaper because well- it’s hot here in Africa!! Women would follow after me when I carried him on my back and before long I’d have an entourage of women following me crying “I want a white baby!”Now 10 ½ months later people are used to seeing us on this road anyway. Everyone knows us and we are just part of the community. Every once in a while I will still encounter a screaming child but most all of them wave and say “Auntie hello.” or “White woman hello.”When we go out to preach the gospel as a family people will say about our kids that they are not real that they are dead or that they are demons. Some people think we are spirit people because of our white skin.People from the start have been overwhelmingly friendly to us. They treat us with great respect more than what we deserve and most of the time they give us that much respect because we are from in their own words “The Great United States.” The United States is equal to heaven to these people. When we told them that there were blind and deaf people in the U.S. too they thought we were lying. They think such things only happen in Africa. When we told them that there are mosquito's in Minnesota they said flatly “there are no mosquito's in America.” No matter what we said they didn’t believe us.People are always trying to give their children away to us. They believe that they will be better off with us and there is a certain sense of pride in having a child adopted into America.We live in a bad neighborhood where there is rampant crime and thieving. People are shocked that we would come to live in such a bad neighborhood. We were robbed once in the middle of the night last January. Thieves used machetes and stole our computer and some cell phones. No one was hurt.In Liberia when a “rouge” is caught stealing the people take machetes and kill them and leave their bodies in the street. The family of the dead person can come and look but if they mourn they will be beaten by the people. There is zero tolerance for stealing and so I am surprised that there is still so much stealing. We have seen the bodies of several rouges laying in the street.Economy of Liberia:Liberia is the 4th poorest country in the world. The unemployment rate is 85% and it may even be higher. The average life expectancy for a male is 37 years and for a female 40 years. Liberia is slowly emerging from a 14 year civil war.The exchange rate here in Liberia is $63 Liberian dollars equals $1 American dollar.People do everything and anything to survive here. They call it being “on the hustle.” Everyone including the children are pressured to contribute to the family and in this society the reality is if they don’t they will starve. Most of the time the man will go out “looking for money,” while the woman will maybe sell pepper or potato greens, fish etc in the market while the children will each sell various things such as homemade doughnuts, ice water, or other homemade goods. If a son is fortunate he might have a wheel barrow that he might sell such things as music or linens out of in the big markets. If they all pull together they can eat that day and put their children in school and pay their $10 a month rent on a single room. It is common that a young girl may be pressured by her own family to contribute through prostitution.The children here are as a rule thin. I have never seen an overweight child in Liberia. It is possible to see overweight adults but it is not nearly as common as it is in the U.S. People eat here about once a day- if you are a little better off you may eat twice a day. Everything in Liberia is lean, dogs, chickens even the pigs here are thin.If you have a relative that lives in the U.S. which many of the people here do you are more fortunate because your relatives may send $50-70 to you from time to time. Also many of the people here that have a bible degree have found jobs with big Christian ministries based in the United States. My husband and I have once mused that we think the number one most common form of employment here in Liberia is that of pastor.Housing: Houses range from a concrete home to a mud house, or a rented room or the very poor live in bamboo shacks with dirt floors. Most of the time the roofs are made of zinc but in the interior grass or large banana leaves are commonly used.The entire country has been ripped apart by war. The entire infrastructure of Liberia is torn apart. There is no electricity and there are no phone lines. The telephone poles were cut down during the war to use for fuel. It is rare for anyone to have running water. In order to have running water you must have your own water tower on the property.Even in the very most modern part of Liberia which would probably be downtown Monrovia, the marks of war are evident everywhere. Many buildings are totally blown apart and nearly every building is old and crumbling. Garbage lines every single street. You can scarcely walk on any road without walking through garbage. In the big markets you are literally walking on and through garbage and sewage. When it rains it floods the markets and the filthy water flows over your feet.In many communities open sewage runs through the street. Many times you can smell it as you pass by. As of yet there is no way to dispose of garbage other than dumping it in the ocean. In the big markets they try to scoop up the garbage and burn it right there in the middle of the market hence they are smoky dirty places. Many people including us will dig deep holes in the yard and fill it with garbage. Some people dump theirs in nearby swamps and still others who live in wet areas will use garbage to fill in their yards?!Education: People in Liberia take education very seriously. Most city people have some education and most people from the interior do not. Literacy is a severe problem here in Liberia. Teaching reading through phonics is only just now slowly emerging coupled with the strong differences in Liberian English as compared to written Western English are major factors in the illiteracy of this country. Many high school graduates do not read well and because of this they do not enjoy reading rather they avoid it.Language: There are 16 indigenous tribes here in Liberia there are over 20 dialects spoken here in Liberia only a few of which are written. English is the national language but for the vast majority English is their second language. The English spoken here is Liberian English which to an untrained ear sounds like a totally different language.Family structure: The Liberian civil war took a huge toll on the family unit. It is reported that 200,000 people were killed during that war but the Liberian people say that the death toll was much higher. The war left too many orphans to count and countless other widows. It is still a common practice for a man to have 2 or more wives living together in the same home. It is also common for a man to father many children and take responsibility for none of them. Teenage pregnancy is the norm. Generally marriages are traditional. A man will pay a dowry to the brides family of varying amounts or he might pay in livestock if he is a farmer. It is generally an agreement between families and each tribe has their own way of carrying out the traditional marriage ceremony. If a man happens to be a pastor or a prominent member of the Christian church there can be pressure to hold a Western wedding. For the groom this may mean acquiring a large amount of debt.Hot pepper is believed to make people strong and for this reason it is a common practice to give to babies. Hot pepper is also used to discipline children who are disobedient. A common practice in Liberia is to take hot pepper and rub it in the eyes of the offending child this is seen as a cure all for behavioral problems Overall health of the country: The childhood mortality rate is 1 in 4 children. It is very common for a woman to die in childbirth even in the hospital. Bacterial infections are an overwhelming problem for the entire country. There are few people who understand disease and how infections are passed for one person to another. Most people do not understand why they should not touch other peoples open wounds or that you should wash your hands after using the rest room. Most people have no idea what bacteria is and if you try to explain it to them it can be very confusing to them. They do not know what the signs of a serious sickness are and what sicknesses will pass on their own. Many times they will wait too long to seek treatment for infections or malaria and by the time they do it is too late. I have personally seen several babies die right in front of me for this exact reason. Had they gotten treatment at the onset of the illness they would have made a complete recovery.Medical care is for the most part affordable in this country and antibiotics and malaria treatments etc. are readily available. The treatment to cure malaria here in Liberia will cost is $75 LD which is $1.20 U.S. A strip of Ampicillan is about $50 LD which is about .80 U.S. However even at these low prices many people still cannot afford the medications and will wait too long to treat the illness and die because of it. A woman in this country can receive a C-section for $50.00 U.S.Food: The main staple foods of the country are rice, cassava, and red palm oil. Liberian food is marked by the hot pepper that is put into the food. Everything is seasoned with hot pepper including things such as doughnuts, plantain chips etc.. Other common foods are fresh ocean caught fish, palm nuts, mango's, pineapple, banana, plantain, kola nut, sugar cane, peanuts, bitter ball, okra & eggplant, red palm oil. Popular Liberian dishes may include: Palm butter made from palm nuts, Torborgee, Joll of Rice or Potato Greens, Cassava Leaf, Fufu and Pepper Soup.Seasons: Liberia is a tropical climate off the coast of West Africa it has only two seasons, dry season from November to April and Rainy season from May to October. Temperatures average about 70 to 90 degrees during rainy season to 85 to 100 degrees in dry season.

Thanks to the Gjerstads in Liberia!

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