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Dr. Miller's Africa Trip-Day 4

Dr. Miller's Liberia, Africa Blog

Day 4, June 5, 2024

University of Liberia Visit with University President, University Library, Shelly Elementary School Visit and Reception, Rainy Season, Liberian Friends

Today was another extraordinary day in Liberia meeting new friends and learning about Liberia.  Mrs. Toe and I began our day with traveling to The University of Liberia where we had an appointment to speak with Dr. Nelson, President of the university.  We also met up with Dr. Taylor, a Dean at the University and good friend of Mrs. Toe.  We had an enjoyable and productive discussion for about an hour regarding the status of higher education in Liberia and how that could potentially translate to professional development for public education.  Dr. Nelson is friendly and very knowledgeable about higher education.  He is forward thinking and doing great things at the university.  Dr. Taylor is also very kind and I hope to get to see him again to learn more about how teachers are trained in Liberia.  After our meeting with Dr. Nelson, we took a visit to the university's library.  It is about half the size of our CYSD High School library.  I paused to take a peek at some of the dissertations that had been presented over the last few years.  As we were leaving the university, it began to rain very hard.  It is considered "rainy season" right now in Liberia but we have been lucky during the day with the weather.  Usually it rains really hard in the middle of the night and into the early morning.  Although it is very loud, I enjoy hearing the rain as I fall asleep.  Next, we moved on to a special reception at Charles William Brunskine Elementary School.  Neither Mrs. Toe or myself were prepared for the incredible display and reception the principal, teachers, students and staff had prepared for us.  As Mrs. Toe and I walked up to the entrance, we heard drums playing and as we entered the school grounds, we were met with dancers and the celebration began.  Mrs. Toe and I were offered a special nut treat called kola and water was poured over the nut before we dipped the nut in a hot cayenne pepper.  I used a little at first and liked it before dipping a second time and maybe it was a little too much for me!  Thank goodness I was given a water right after!  There were a few hundred students there to greet us outside and we were given special places of honor after shaking as many hands as we could.  Mrs. Toe and I had a student read a special letter to us before dozens more letters were gifted to us.  Then, we were robed with special African clothes.  I wore a via shirt.  We sang songs and danced in the courtyard before presenting the students with materials and treasures.  There was a whole barrel filled with items from Roundtown which was very special for me to present.  This was a day I will never forget.  These kids really made us feel welcome and special.  I toured the school and found some Liberian readers for first grade that I was interested in looking at.  I visited an empty classroom and looked at some signs that students had written for the classroom walls.  Some of the signs really moved me.  The principal at WCB is very special.  Her name is Miss Shirley Martu, and you can tell she has a big heart for her students!  As we drove away, the children followed our car and waved and asked us to come back again.  We drove through town to work our way back and drove through Water Front Market.  I took a picture from the front seat and could not believe our man Amos, drove us through safely once again!  Phew!  We also stopped for a moment to scrub our hands on the side of the street.  Mrs. Toe always reminds me to wash after shaking hands to protect ourselves.  We use liquid soap and paper towel and water from our water bottles to keep clean.  Finally, Mrs. Toe and I arrived back at the hotel before gathering up the rest of her Liberia Project Staff and visiting with Mrs. Toe's good friend, Papa Kamara, a businessman in Liberia who works with oil companies.  His home is across the street from our hotel and he has a large and beautiful home.  He treated us to a delicious Lebanon fruity soda called Laziza.  Every country I visit, I like to find a new special cola or fruit drink and even though it is not Liberian, it is delicious!  Our team said goodbye for the evening after planning out the rest of our whirlwind weeks in Africa.  Tomorrow, we have some rest and relaxation at a special resort that I am excited to go to swim and rest.  I wish you all a good night and congratulations on the end of another school year!   

~Dr. Miller, Day 4 June 5, 2024

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