Healthy Soul

Trippin’ in Harper, Maryland County

I’ve had my first meltdown. It lasted two days. Happiness and relief that my apartment in Philadelphia was finally rented quickly dissolved into frustration and anger. The simple process of opening the attached lease from the realtor, signing it, scanning it in, creating a pdf file, and then returning it as an email attachment wasn’t happening.

For one entire day and most of the next I could see the email message with the paper clip indicating there was an attachment. The low intensity of the internet connection made opening impossible. Relying on the five hour time difference I made promises of getting it back to her by the close of the business day in Philadelphia, that would 10:00 p.m. in Harper. The day ended and nothing was sent.

My Philadelphia apartment is being enjoyed by a wonderful friend. Of course the colors are all gone, converted to a sophisticated off-white.

I am so excited that my Philadelphia apartment is now being enjoyed by a wonderful friend. Of course the colors are all gone, converted to a sophisticated off-white.

Finally, Ben Carbajosa, owner of Café Benelli and Harper’s response to Kinko’s, generously took the files home and sent it about midnight, when most of the internet users were in bed. Things are great now, I thought. However, there was still the matter of paying my cousin Phil for painting and making some repairs to the apartment.

Cafe Benelli is Harper's answer to Kinko's and Subway. Here both nutritional as well as  photocopying and printing needs are addressed.

Cafe Benelli is Harper's answer to Kinko's and Subway. Here both nutritional as well as photocopying and printing needs are addressed.

Right. You guessed it. There are no ATMs in Harper. So the plan of making an ATM withdrawal and then sending the payment via Western Union was merely wishful thinking. The manager of the Ecobank said one was installed but removed after a few weeks because the usage was low. I’m thinking the trial period needed to have been extended. He said there was one in the next town over, Pleebo. It is about a one hour drive, if you have transportation.

The "ATM-less" Ecobank and the Western Union offices share the same building in downtown Harper.

The "ATM-less" Ecobank and the Western Union offices share the same building in downtown Harper.

The only way there was getting a ride with someone who has a car and is heading in that direction; begging one of the deans to release a driver for the trip; or going on a motorbike. It was just not happening. Heading back to my apartment at an emotional low, my sandals broke. Could things get any worse?

Thankfully when I opened up email and Facebook there was a “Hello, dear daughter” message from my Mom; a funny message from my sister Charmaine; an “I’m enjoying your blog posts” note from my sister Marcia; and a “what can I send you?” query from my sister Cecile. You know I asked for shoes.

Dumboy is the two dish meal of fish soup and foo-foo or white rice. The fish soup is made from the large and very meaty Cavallo fish, named after the Cavallo River where it is found, that forms the border between Liberia and Cote d' Ivoire. Foo-foo is made from cooked cassava that is pounded in a mortar until it gets glutenous. The foo-foo is topped with hot peppers, okras, and toasted sesame seeds, called bene seeds. As you eat, spoon some of the rice or the foo-foo into the soup.

Dumboy is the two dish meal of fish soup and foo-foo or white rice. The fish soup is made from the large and very meaty Cavallo fish, named after the Cavallo River where it is found, that forms the border between Liberia and Cote d' Ivoire. Foo-foo is made from cooked cassava that is pounded in a mortar until it gets glutenous. The foo-foo is topped with hot peppers, okras, and toasted sesame seeds, called bene seeds. As you eat, spoon some of the rice or the foo-foo into the soup.

Love from my family and a wonderful meal of fish soup and foo-foo (made from the pounded cassava) reminded me not to sweat the small stuff.

My family keeps me grounded. Where/what are your anchors?

 

10 Comments

  1. Hi there Jen! So glad to hear that all is well (again). Isn’t it good to know that God shows up in the midst of our trials? I’m looking foward to hearing more of your daily experiences. I’m starting a voice class later this month…I’ll have to share with you once I begin. I’m hoping to break into voice overs. I hear that it’s pretty competitive, so I’m taking this class to give me the background that I need to meet with success. I’m also reading some pretty interesting stuff. I picked up The Other Wes Moore (I don’t remeber if this is the correct last name) but you know who I’m talking about. Going to NY for book club tomorrow. We’re reading A Window in Copacabana. Should be fun. You’ll have to join me upon your return. :-)

    Blessings!

    Danielle

    • Dear Danielle – This trip is teaching me to let go and let God. All the best with your move toward voice overs. I hear the contracts are pretty lucrative. I enjoyed reading The Other Wes Moore. I’ll look up the title your book club is reading and see if I can get it on my Kindle. I miss my trips to NYC.

  2. I am still enjoying following you on your journey. Sorry to hear about your ordeal. It is amazing how everyday we take small things like an ATM for granted. The fish soup looks delicious.

    • Dorothy – thanks for continuing to read and share your thoughts with me. This experience is so much more than I could ever imagine. Once upon a time the quest was for a FREE ATM, now I’d love to just see a working ATM.

  3. Your journey is fascinating and you share it so well through vivid stories and photos. The everyday things we tske for granted here and simple things we complain about are luxuries in other places. I’m glad it worked out and again, it shows the power of God and the reality that this too shall pass!

    • Hey Helen – I am always so grateful to God for taking care of me. Yes, in the metropolitan areas of the USA we get so spoiled with all the conveniences and then consider them rights when they are not available. Everything worked out okay, and I’ve learned to figure out how best to live wherever I find myself and stop yearning after what was where I last lived. I’m glad you are enjoying the blog posts.

  4. My friend, you are earning your stripes, therefore remain faithful.
    You are in Harper for a divine purpose and very soon it will be manifested.
    I believe it!

    • Hey David – I am so happy when my friends express such deep faith in my purpose and capacity to fulfill on promises. Thanks a million. I’m working at not disappointing anyone. There are several challenges, so please continue to keep me in prayer.

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