Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Challenge

Another long hiatus, and so much has happened. And I've got a few things, but not a lot, to say about it all.

My last post was three months ago today. My wife had left Kansas City on Saturday before Easter, April 7, with a group of several other people to spend two weeks in Liberia on the west coast of Africa. When she returned she had so much to talk about, so many memories to process, that those tasks are still underway. To say that there was a culture shock would be a gross understatement. One incident can speak for this sense of dislocation.

After she returned, Dyann was outside watering some of our plants around the house. She reached down to the faucet to turn it on, and suddenly realized just how easy it was for her to have water to use, water that was pure enough to drink right from the hose. In contrast, when she was in Liberia, water had to be pumped by hand from wells dug into the reddish soil, and then mixed with chlorine bleach to purify it. Hot water wasn't often available for showers, and the typical method of bathing was a "bucket bath," using water dipped from large barrels with buckets. You stood on a hard floor, dipped your sponge or wash rag into the bucket, and washed and rinsed yourself with that bit of H2O. It's a different world outside the boundaries of the United States, and she had seen this difference first-hand in Liberia.