Our first week in Liberia
We have now been in Liberia for a full week, and it has been a busy one. We had intended to take it easier when we first arrived, but there has been a need to make lots of preparations for the place where we will be living until we are able to build our own house. So, what has our first week in Liberia looked like?
Visa extensions: On Monday, we went to the Immigration office here to report. In order to get a residency permit here, you need to report to the Immigration office within 48 hours of arriving in the country and apply for a 60-day visa extension. After you have been in Liberia for a total of 90 days, you can then get your residency permit. I was able to report, apply for and receive our 60-day extension on Monday.
Independence Day: July 26th is Independence Day here in Liberia, and so we were able to have a more relaxing day as none of the businesses and shops were open. We were able to get ourselves and our luggage a little more organized, and spend some time together as a family.
House preparations: We needed to buy some furniture, furnishings, adapters and housewares for the house we will be living in. Thankfully, we can also take these things with us when we are able to get our own house. We also got a reliable internet source to help us keep connected with our supporting churches and our families. The plan is to be able to move into our temporary home by Wednesday, August 3.
Grocery shopping: We were able to go to a local supermarket and buy groceries for our first week here. It has saved on our food bill considerably, as opposed to eating our meals at the restaurants here. It will take us a while to get familiar with what food can be found where and for reasonable prices. Grocery shopping will take longer than we are used to, at least for the time being.
Driving: We have rented a vehicle and hired a driver from the time we arrived until our container arrives with our own vehicle. (The vehicle and driver belonged to Carolynn Sharp, another CanAmera missionary that was in Liberia. We are thankful that he has given us a very reasonable price for this!) However, this week I (Benjamin) was able to go and apply for and receive my Liberian drivers license! The traffic here is rather chaotic, so it will take some getting used to, but I have already done some driving on Liberian roads.
Sleep or no sleep? Jackie and I did not have too much issue with the time zone adjustments, but our girls certainly did. After we arrived in Liberia on Sunday, we got to the place we are staying by 9:00PM. However, neither of our girls were in the least bit interested in going to bed. Just when we thought that we would be able to get some sleep, Amelia woke up sick to her stomach and was up much of the night sick. Monday night we got to bed at a reasonable time, but both girls woke up at around 1AM local time and were wide awake. We finally got them back to sleep by 4AM. Tuesday was better – they were down for the night by 2AM. You can imagine what time they got up in the morning then! Now, they are more or less adjusted to the time zone change.
Church: This morning, I drove our family to Temple Baptist Church. This is the church pastored by another CanAmera Missionary, Pastor Guanue Gbendah – a Liberian national. He is currently in the United States raising additional support, so several of the good men in the church have been leading services in his absence. However, this morning I was able to preach the morning service! What a blessing to be able to serve the Lord here in Liberia.