When we returned from the site visit in Grand Cape Mount County, we just barely had time to eat a quick lunch, re-pack our bags (of our two suitcases, one will go in storage for the rest of PST) and change into something presentable for the Adoption Ceremony! This was when we would meet the families that we’d be staying with for the next 10 weeks during the rest of PST.
Most of us trainees were anxious about meeting our families, but once the event started, it was such a joyous atmosphere that it put us more at ease. After a quick introduction from the staff, the adoptions began! They called the parents up to the front and then called out the name of the trainee that the mother has given birth to… yes, they really talked about it in terms of giving birth, along with not knowing whether they would have a boy or a girl, or for the few couples in the group, their families were surprised with twins. Some of the mothers even played along, pretending their backs were aching from carrying a child for 9 months as they walked up to the front!
You could see on their faces how excited the families were. It was fun watching the rest of my group meet their families. I ended up being called second to last – I was getting anxious as I waited and waited to be called!
When my name was finally called, my host ma gave me a huge hug and we walked to our seats to sit together for the rest of the ceremony. Then we had some cold soft drinks (something not to be taken for granted here!) and a snack before heading to my new home.
We gathered my stuff from the dorm and even with one suitcase going to storage, I still had a lot of stuff to carry and it was only me and my ma. Some of my fellow trainees had to walk their stuff to their homes, but luckily my family had arranged with a friend and another host parent to drive us to the house. My fellow trainee, Mena, and I loaded up our stuff and her new pa drove us stopping at their house first because “it is closer to the road.” I did not quite know what I was in for until after dropping her off, when we headed towards my new home. In the about 5-minute drive, Mena’s pa asked my ma 5 different times “cars go here?” as she directed him – it was so tucked back into the neighborhood that even he was unsure if cars were able to drive down the small paths and over the brush to get to my house. But we made it!
When we got there, I met some of my host siblings: two little brothers, Seth and Prince, who are 10 and 12 years old; my sister, Blessing, who is 18; and my “older” brother, Samuel, who is 27 (I don’t think my ma realizes how old I am!).
And they showed me my room, here are some pictures!
After putting my stuff in my room, I sat down to what would be the first of many uncomfortable dinners – in Liberia, they don’t sit down to eat together around a table, but rather have almost a hierarchy at meal times. As a guest, I sat at the small dining room table by myself to eat, while my ma talked to me and my little siblings watched me eat (something that we were warned would probably happen and has continued in the couple of weeks that I have been here). But my first dinner, fried plantains, was really good – something I will have to have my ma teach me how to make!
In my next post, I’ll write more about my first few days with my new family!