In other news…

Last weekend I got sick. I had diarrhea and threw up a little bit. I felt better after a couple days, but never 100%. Then, this past weekend I threw up again. I called a doctor friend from the Clinton Foundation, who recommended that I take the anti-biotic Ciprofloxacin. Now, I feel a lot better. I bought the Ciprofloxacin at the local pharmacy for 125LD ($2.07). It’s kind of nice not having to worry about prescriptions and co-pays.

I acquired a license plate for my motorcycle this week. I’m now completely legal when driving around. Some friends were admiring my shining new Liberian driver’s license (they just switched over to computer printed licenses) and noticed that my drivers license number is 000070. I have the 70th license in the country. We also noticed that I have a automobile license and not a motorcycle license. Oh well.

Sunday I went to the “white” church, Monrovia Christian Fellowship (MCF), though, it wasn’t as white as I thought it would be. It was like 7% white. It made me think of racially diverse churches in suburbia, that only have 3 black families attending. There was an impressive assortment of white SUVs parked up and down the street, though.

When I looked at the front of the church, it felt like I was back in America. It had a white screen for the projector, some crosses, sound deadening panels, and two speakers hanging from the ceiling. But there was no projector, just an overhead for transparencies. The walls on the side of the church were lined with windows that were opened to let in light and promote airflow. The walls also had a line of ornamental concrete blocks that have designs cut into them, again to let air flow through. I don’t think you see this too much in the States, but you see it over here all the time. Needless to say, there was no AC.

The praise band was good. They sang a few songs I knew, and a couple I didn’t. They had a transparency and I could understand almost all the worship leader said, which was awesome. It’s not much fun singing along when you don’t know what they’re saying. The volume was appropriate and the sound well mixed – also nice.

They had a white pastor, which was surprising because I expected a black pastor. He talked about another pastor so I assume there’s more than one pastor at that church. He spoke on suffering for God, from Hebrews 12. I liked it. I felt it appropriate after I had been throwing up the night before. He reminded me a bit of the pastor at the church I attended in Atlanta because he went off on a few lengthy tangents. He also references scripture a good deal, which is also a plus in my book. I feel it’s important to cite your sources, whether in school, church, or work.

My biggest complaint is that I didn’t meet anyone there. There was no, “turn and great your neighbor” time. I didn’t understand what the announcer said when it was time for visitors to stand up. I was also not paying attention when he said it. Instead, I was looking around at stuff. But hopefully I’ll meet someone next week.

I also visited the mercy ship Africa Mercy on Sunday. It’s docked in Monrovia’s port for the next 10 months. I thought it funny was that it’s docked across from the ship that the French navy hauled in after it was caught with two tons of cocaine aboard. For those of you who don’t keep up with the price of such things, that’s several hundred million dollars in cocaine, which is more than the countries budget. I’ve heard rumors that the cocaine wasn’t incinerated like it was supposed to be but instead has been sold by port officials and is now back on the market. Anyway…

The ship is way nice. It was kind of surreal walking around the halls because all the lights were working, LCD screens were telling me what’s going on, there were caution signs, AC, and anti-slip tape on the stairs. It was like I was right back in the first world, except that instead of 24 hours of plane flights, it was only a couple steps away. It was a little weird but nice. I had an lemonade that came with free refills.

Juan, the guy I met through my friend Missy who got me on the ship, was really nice. He showed me around and was a great host. He showed me all over the boat. It was quite impressive. They have the only Starbucks and CT scanner in west Africa. I can’t decide which is more shocking. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the people they help, what it’s like for people who have never been to the first world to come on a ship like this to be treated by highly trained doctors with cutting edge equipment. Juan told me the babies that are born on the ship get spoiled.

And that’s life in Monrovia.

John
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