The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

Twofer--Rock Hill Photos

We visited Rock Hill early in our week in Liberia. Patty had an appointment with the Minister of Education. The President called him in, so he begged off and sent his "deputies" instead. This was a really important meeting since the radio reporters were there to cover the story. Patty wants to get the school up and running in this community of 15000 where everyone from very young children to pregnant women to elderly men break rocks by hand all day for 30 cents--if they can find a buyer. Keep in mind as you view these pictures, Rock Hill is in the middle of Monrovia. It is not far out in the bush somewhere. It is mere minutes from the bustle of downtown, mere minutes from the AOH offices, mere minutes from the President's palace.

These first four photos are in the existing school building. It's a shambles and to say it would be condemned in the US is the grossest understatement.


Here is the only water source in the community. It's extra cloudy because of the rain, but still. And, this is the only way to collect the water. It makes me wonder how many people have slipped and fallen in. It looks like it'd be awfully hard to get out.Apparently white folks, nicely dressed Liberians, and Liberians with tape recorders are something special in Rock Hill! :)


It's hard to tell in this photo, but this woman is pregnant. Her tool is typical of Rock Hill residents--some have "real" hammers, but most have found objects or heavy pipes to crush the rocks. They also use a piece of rubber (or a worn out shoe sole or whatever they can find) so that the rock bits don't scatter when they break apart. This lady will pound those giant rocks behind her all the way down to the gravel in front of her.

You can see this woman's tools nicely in this picture. And the toddler who sits on that blanket all day without a single toy or "enrichment."

Here you can see the different sizes of gravel from biggest (nearby) to smaller (furthest away). People carry loads of gravel in buckets on their heads. They carry rock from the quarry to their work station by their homes. And then they carry it to piles like this to sell.


This is a little boy in a pit from which large rocks are quarried. It is smokey because we are getting close to another pit that is "active." In the active pit, men burn a fire because the heat (yes, they need extra heat even though it's very hot in Liberia!) helps loosen the rock for easier quarrying.

The sources of the smoke. The fire includes tires and who knows what else. It was unbearable to breathe.The main quarry. It's oddly beautiful in it's own way. At least, it seemed beautiful to me after we had walked a good distance surrounded by shacks, piles of rocks, and other general ugliness. Most of this pit was actually mined with machinery--before the war. Now, it is mined by sheer human strength. The women down there are washing clothes in the collected water.And, here are some men mining by hand. They were amused that we were taking pictures of their daily toil.

So, that's Rock Hill in a nutshell. If a picture is worth a thousand words, it still doesn't come close to the reality. To add sounds and smells, even the taste of the smoke... All of Liberia felt like a different planet, a different time period, but I never felt that as strongly as when we were in Rock Hill.

2 comments:

blessedmommy said...

I can't even imagine what life must be like for the people living at Rock Hill and working all day in the heat pounding rocks for only 30 cents. These pictures brought me to tears. Thank you for telling their story. Praise God that AOH is working to rebuild the school there. We are praying that AOH is able to raise all the necessary funds. We know that with God all things are possible.
In Christ,
Melissa Arnold (AOH family)

jaz said...

Rachel,
Thank you so much for sharing these pics. I don't want to see them, but know I need to. Thank you for helping to break my heart like it needs to be broken. The whole situation is just so unimaginable, but the pictures force me to try to imagine it. Thank you.
-Jamie Z.

My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001

Punk

Punk
ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004

Pea

Pea
ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007

Pup

Pup
ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued