Yesterday I went to the market. We walked over that bridge that leads to the center of Monrovia. As we walked by I again marveled at the bullet holes that filled the posts of the street lamps. My friend Lorah pointed out that these holes were caused by missed shots. A significant number of shots had to be fired to produce that many misses.
Mercy Ships has showed several documentaries about the war since my arrival. They show the buildings and city that we walk through everyday before the war. It's filled with buildings that aren't broken down and bombed out as well as street lights and roads that work.
The civil war went on for 14 years. An entire generation has grown up dodging bullets. Liberia's children have grown up as soldiers. Busy fighting wars and using guns rather than going to school.
An orphanage worker was marveling at this fact. That this generation has no remembrance of what Liberia was like before becoming havoced by the war.
Today my roommate was visiting a prison. Liberia's president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, stopped by while they were there. She offered our crew her sympathies for the recent loss of a crew member. The prison had been had been her home during Liberia's turmoil and she was visiting her old cell. She seems to be an excellent, smart, and very approachable woman.
I would never want her job.
Rebuilding is going to be a long process. I have been educated about Liberia's civil war in the same manner in which I was educated about America's civil war. Through books and stories. But the people I am meeting have had a different education.
One of our translators told me over lunch that she gets scared whenever she hears loud noises because they remind her of the bullets she use to hide from. A 16 year old in our ward is here having a burn contracted release. When she was 3 the rebels stuck her hand in a fire. Another 15 year old came to have three bullets removed from her body. A man had his arm burnt so severely it needed to be amputated. A woman with VVF delivered her baby while running from the rebels.
They have received a different education.
What we are doing seems very small next to their stories. But it's a matter of perspective.
Seven months of free surgeries won't make a big difference in Liberia's problems. But Mary doesn't leak anymore. Esther can mover her hand. Issac is going to walk on two strong feet. We have shown them God's love.
It's a made a big difference in thier lives. And I think they are worth it.