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  • Writer's pictureKaren Ecklund

A day of "rest" - church and Hair

After all the excitement of the last few days, we were looking forward to a day of rest and relaxation. We planned to attend church, have lunch, rest at the guesthouse and then Keyara was going to have her hair extensions braided into her hair. BUT . . . life in Liberia never goes as planned!

We were picked up and driven to Rev. Francis Kollie's church where we received a warm welcome by his congregation. Kreig was asked to give a greeting and had fun practicing his Liberian English and attempted to be charismatic at the pulpit! There is a distinct style that is followed and after attending a few services, one is able to try to be culturally appropriate. Kreig did a great job and everyone loved him!

We were surprised to see one of the Keyara's Gift Caseworkers, Isaac, helping to lead worship by playing the keyboard. Isaac is talented and it was fun to watch him thrive in his musical abilities. Several years ago, Rev. Francis' church was robbed and the sound equipment and musical instruments were stolen. At the time, we shared the need with our church, Foothill Covenant Church, and a couple of very generous members donated enough money for the equipment and instruments to be replaced. Rev. Francis recounted the story as he introduced us to his congregation. It was nice to see them enjoying the instruments and sound equipment.

We arrived home thinking we had a couple hours to eat, relax and get ready for Keyara to have her hair done. Instead, we were greeted by three people ready to do Keyara's hair and shortly after we got them all set up, three more arrived to visit. I was split between visiting outside, offering food and drinks and watching as Keyara's hair got long and pink! It was a tiring and painful event for her and she had to take a couple tearful breaks to stretch and gather her strength. They thought it would take about five hours to complete but in reality, it took closer to seven hours! Now that it's all done, Keyara's thrilled with the results and there is no question that she loves the color pink! We were grateful that Nancy Weah, Alfred's mom, braid her hair. Some of you may remember the story about Alfred - he is one of our sponsored students and we've supported him for almost 10 years. He is blind and when we met him he was unable to take care of himself, but now he can read and write in braille and cares for himself with minimal assistance.

We are looking forward to tomorrow when we will be meeting Keyara's three sisters! Stay tuned for more excitement and surprises in Liberia . . .

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