Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Little Liberia

Hey Everyone

Happy New Year to all. I hope everyone had a lovely new years. I actually spent the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007 at a pentacostal church ceremony with some of the other volunteers. Our coming was hailed as a miracle signalling that they all would get to America or Canada or Australia sometime this year. Praise the Lord! Amen!

As for camp itself, I'm finding it different in a lot of ways to my previous experiences. Many of us (although myself not so much) have been bombarded with pleas for money or food or whatever is needed or wanted that often come with a sob story. I think some of the volunteers fell prey to this and have regretted giving personal handouts to people. I found that I was somewhat underwhelmed by their situation. I feel like I've seen people who are living with less who don't ask for things the way they ask for things. There's a respect of boundaries that I've found in other places that I don't see here. I found that I was very quick to come to the opinion that they are taking the easy way out by staying at the camp but on further thought I don't think that's correct. They, in many ways, are stuck there. They are not recognized as Ghanaian citizens nor do many of them have refugee status and so they cannot get a job in Ghana. They can work on the camp but that's it. Although it's thought by many that Liberia is safe, most people are reluctant to return because they returned in 2002 and then were forced to flee again. The camp itself is really quite a bit larger than I anticipated. There are estimated to be around 42,000 people there. Those under 16 have likely never even seen Liberia and those older fought in the rebel group or watched their friends and family get killed in front of their eyes. It's a situation I most definitely have not come accross previously.

As for my day-to-day schedule, it has not actually started yet as we had a pretty thorough orienation and then everyone was on holiday for the new year and christmas. I will be participating in tutoring 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade in the mornings and then help run organized options for recess. Then in the afternoons I will participate in the Care and Support element of the HIV/AIDS program. I've definitely felt some frustration at not having really started doing anything yet as have other people but the other volunteers are great and I think it will be a very interesting and worthwhile 2 months.

Ok, that is all for now as I'm about to be logged off the internet. Hope everyone is doing well and I"ll update soon, hopefully.

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