We had traveled the Monrovian crowded, bumpy and dusty streets to a typical family dwelling. Some formal presentations and introductions were made, including to the first totally gray haired senior Liberian citizen I'd met since many of their elders died in the war. He could not tell me his age. He did not know his birthday. It just wasn't that important to him. But we found out he was truly a good, good father. We sat down on some brittle plastic chairs in their walled in back yard which was 99% dirt, some of us with our back to a few tall shade trees on a hot, humid windless day to listen to a story told by his granddaughter.
Joetta had been a young, single and pregnant Liberian girl, laboring for days for a home birth. Now her rhythmic, Liberian English accent enthralled us with drawing details of home birth disaster. The traditional birth attendant had given up on her delivering and left her. She became so labor obstructed she could no longer feel or move the lower half of her body. Her grandfather, put her in a wheelbarrow and pushed many miles and hours to get her to a hospital. Her baby did not survive. She barely survived. While most of her paralysis resolved, she still has bilateral foot drop nerve palsy causing an almost slapping feet gait as she walks. She developed a fistula. She was successfully surgically cured from her fistula by Dr. John Mulbah through the financial support of the United Nations and the Liberia Fistula Project. By social worker support and the Fistula Rehab Center holistic reconditioning, she has learned to support herself and participated in educating other young Liberian women through a fistula prevention drama team presentation to local schools and other venues. Her story was being video recorded by another of our team, noting her thankful attitude and mesmerizing presentation.
The heat and humidity had just about given me tunnel vision as I was concentrating, fascinated by her story. Suddenly, startling and making us gasp, a giant lizard dropped at least 25 feet from a tree branch, plopping with a circle of dust just like Wiley Coyote! The lizard shook it off and scampered away unhurt, but no doubt a little embarrassed!
Totally unimpressed by the lizard event, our storyteller finished. She was a sparking jewel of West African life experience, letting Jesus shine His love of regeneration and grace. What if Dignity: Liberia could be a part of that? Jesus is able to wake you up to lizards falling.