Deaconess REbecca Catchpole
When I arrive in Belgium, one of my first senses was smell. Their smell is like a sewer! I mean it wasn’t a pleasant smell. That was the first thing I notice when I arrive there. Then I saw their language was different on billboard, newsstand with different newspapers and magazines. Their candies and food labels on shelves were different. My first order was a big bottle of water! I had no idea the cost for it, but I received my change back to their currency. I still haven’t figure it out what is equal to our American currency! I stayed with our missionary group for a few hours until we got on the plane to Freeland, Liberia. Then finally arrived in Monrovia, Liberia. I learned that I couldn’t take pictures in our plane after our arrival there. I asked a flight attendant if I could a picture of the airport tower, but she replied no. I saw there were some guards standing outside our plane. I was excited to get off the plane and see their culture, food, smell, sightseeing etc. It was interesting to see how people hurried and then wait at the immigrant/visa gates. I had to use their bathroom for the first time. It was interesting that there was a guy standing in the middle between two bathrooms – one for the men and one for the women. He was trying to guide or point me to the bathroom. There was a part of the bathroom where everyone can see the dryers right near the exit. He was helping me by pointing my hands under the dryer. I learned that he was looking for tip. I made it through the immigration with no problem. Whew!
My trip to the Liberia’s hotel was interesting. Unfortunately, it was already dark, so I wasn’t able to view the outside of the hotel and the surrounding areas. My first night there was ok, but I was pretty tired. My room looks sort of like an old Victorian house with huge closet all the way to the ceiling. Outlets were totally different than America outlets. Fortunately, the water from the shower was pretty much warm but not hot. My first morning breakfast was pretty good. I ate omelet with green pepper, sausage (look like hot dog) and fill up (another name for their pancake). I had a cup of black tea with condensed milk and some sugar. Then Pastor Dr Reinke and I rode with Bishop Amo Bolay’s son, J (Jonathan) and he took us to church/school. On the way there, I was shocked to see how much garbages were on the ground!! It’s like million of stuff were all over! I wasn’t expecting to see some naked people taking their bath outside (standing). It’s part of their culture. They can’t afford to have a nice bathroom indoor. Their economy isn’t that great. Many people were selling various of things on the side of the road. Some of the things were like gasoline in glass jars, homemade bread, shoes, food and other things.
I couldn’t believe their traffic system is so out of order! No light intersection and yellow/white guidelines! But to my amazing they seem like they know what they are doing and keep the traffic going for most of the time. Evening was the worst time because we had to wait like 1.5 to 3 hrs. before we arrival at the hotel. It’s all depended on the traffic. It was interesting to see MANY motorcycles passing us on both side of our car! I was surprised that many of them DO NOT wear helmets! Some do but most of them don’t.
I’ve really enjoyed meeting the deaf people at the church. They were all very nice to me. I learned about 25 to 30 percent of their signs isn’t the same to my ASL. It was confusing and frustrated for me especially when I teach God’s Word in my beginning class. Some of them signed very Liberian sign language and it was hard for me to comprehend them. I met and chatted two deaf Muslim. One was a young lady who wants to become a Christian. She shared with me that if she converts to a Christian while staying with her family, her family will murder her. If she converts to a Christian while not staying with them, then her family will just disown her. Have no part of her in their family life. I shared with her that she’s in my prayer and that her faith grows and always trust in Christ Jesus.
I was surprised to see their toilets outside in a long building with each door has a padlock. One door was opened, and I was able to peek what it looks like inside. Ewwwwww it’s not clean and smell stink! I was used to that awful smell because I grew up on a pig farm. So that doesn’t really bother me much.
Today, I ate their lobster for the first time for lunch. It tasted delicious. I ate rice again. They always make rice daily with something else usually with chicken or fish. No dessert but they provide fruit – either banana, plantain or watermelon. Their daily meal tasted pretty good.