Thursday, October 17, 2012

To start the day out, our driver rear-ended a motorcycle taxi, which lead to a police officer taking his license and wanting a bribe to get it back…so our driver decided hit-and-run was the best option (the motorcyclist wasn’t hurt, nor was his bike damaged…as far as I could tell).

Jay: Today was awesome! We were able to go to Kingdom’s Kids Academy to deliver some of the donations to the students. We also handed out the t-shirts we had made for all the students and staff in the school. At one time I helped a little boy in the nursery (preschool) put on his shirt and I couldn’t help hold back the tears I was so happy to be experiencing this at the time. We also passed out the Education Commitment documents and had each child read them. It was a life-changing experience.

Giving to these kids at the Kingdom’s Kids Academy has been one of the best experiences out in Liberia. To witness their smiles and happy emotions is priceless, there aren’t words to describe what I’ve witnessed and we couldn’t have done it without your help, thanks for your donations!

Another tropical storm hit today.  As the rain poured down we became completely stranded…the mud and puddles had us totally swamped. Pat Parkinson suddenly went insane and ripped off his shoes and socks, “I’ll guide you through the puddles!” He rolled up his pants and jumped out into the downpour. For the next 30 minutes he waded through the puddles to find the ruts and deep spots and helped us avoid them. In the car we stewed about how many Guinea worms were crawling through the skin on the bottom of his feet. Our driver, along with the rest of the Liberians peering on, thought he was some crazy white “bush devil”.

James: One thing that I love about other countries is the love that they have for soccer. While we were waiting in the car, these young kids were playing soccer in front of the house. One boy really wanted me to take his photo and I caught him in the middle of celebrating a goal. These kids are so happy even though they have so little. If you look closely, this boy’s pants are ripped all the way up.

While I was watching these kids play, I decided to go play with them. Pat Parkinson (the bush devil) came and played with me. Of course I ended up on my butt again. (No surprise to Michelle Williams Rognon.) To my defense, there were roots and rocks sticking out of the ground. After we played with them for a little bit, we gave them some small toys. It was said that this will be an experience that those kids will never forget, I would also say this is an experience I will never forget either.

Today we started out visiting Kingdom’s Kids Academy. We gave away t-shirts and school supplies to these kids. As a photographer, none of the kids would ever smile for any of the pictures I have taken while here. Today was completely different. The difference was surreal. These kids were so happy from just a little love that was given to them.

These were the kinds of smiles that we were getting all day while here at the Kingdom’s Kids Academy. I had to get incredibly close to this girl and her smile didn’t fade at all. What really amazed me, when we gave the shirts to some of these kids, their faces would light up. In fact, a girl pulled her shirt close and tight, never to let go with a huge smile on her face.

Wonderfully (NOT!) Delta canceled all flights out tonight so I’ll be missing the campout I had with the kids tomorrow night…and I’ll have to see if I can survive another day in Liberia. I’m really hoping we’ll find that one-more-child we can help out and that it will all make sense in the end.

We ended the day at the orphanage I brought my kids home from. Again I got to give out toys, blankets and clothes. The children were so excited…they couldn’t even hold all the stuff I handed them! We got dozens of photos and I’ll upload those as soon as I can.

To all of you who donated; the children of Liberia thank you. You sacrificed your time, your money, and your efforts and you have literally changed their lives. They’ll never have a birthday or Christmas or anything like they had today. They will remember this forever. They will never forget the day some random white man came to them and poured out so many gifts they couldn’t even hold them all. Your willingness to give has inspired me.