On Saturday, Nancy and I photographed an awesome winter wedding in Baltimore. We met up with Jodi at her house for some getting ready pictures, followed by the ceremony at Holy Rosary, and the reception at Admiral Inn (of course, we detoured between mass and the reception for some really fun and REALLY cold shots by the water). It was such an amazing day!! Congratulations Jodi and Eric! I can’t wait to hear where you headed on your surprise honeymoon!
In high school, my friend Anna and I decided we would go to Africa. It was part of our long-term plans for the future. We talked about it in school, at soccer practice, on vacations, and through college, my teaching years, and Anna’s years in med. school. Our families and friends entertained our dreams but I think we were the only ones who thought it would really happen.
This year, the opportunity came and we began to make plans. We will be headed to Liberia on January 26 and returning February 27. During this month, Anna will be working as a doctor at the Ganta United Methodist Hospital. Up until this year, there was only one doctor who had not had a day off in 18 months.
I will be working at the Ganta United Methodist School, teaching core subjects during the school day, assisting the basketball program that was begun this year, beginning a running club, and documenting the rebuilding of a village that was nearly obliterated by the civil war. This is an amazing year in Liberia for many reasons. Six-year-olds are attending school for the first time this year as children who have not lived through war. The president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is Africa’s first female head of state. With Sirleaf’s leadership, the education of girls has become a great initiative in Liberia. She recently said, “The education of the girl child in Liberia is critical and an urgent matter. It is actually about human rights and human dignity. It is about peace and development of the country.” I am so excited to be part of such forward progress for young girls and for Ganta as a whole. It will be amazing to be able to document such an exciting year in education through photography. I have been working with the principal of the school to organize supplies that we will be sending ahead and carrying with us such as donated running shoes, water bottles, soccer balls, etc.
We will be in Liberia during the summer season so it will be HOT! We will be in a place without readily available electricity or clean water. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world with an unemployment rate of 85%. It will definitely be a life changing experience. With about seven weeks until the trip, I’m sure I’ll be updating on the trip plans before leaving.
I included a couple of maps below. Liberia is on the west coast of Africa, surrounded by Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote D’ivoire. Ganta is very near the border of Guinea, about a six hour trip by vehicle outside Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia.
This morning, we woke up to the first real snow of the season. After chasing the dogs around in the backyard, I took a quick picture of our house decorated for the holidays. It’s a perfect day to go for a snow run and then stay cozy inside cooking and playing games.
*As a side note – our house was awarded 3rd place in the town decorating contest and we didn’t even know there was a contest! We’re pumped!
Recently, Nancy took advantage of a gorgeous weekend day to take pictures of Robel, for some modeling and Beth, for her blog. Way to go, Nancy!! It looks like it was so much fun! And basically, Nancy’s a ROCK STAR!
Yesterday I went to my travel doctor to get all of my shots for my trip to Africa at the end of next month (I will do a longer blog post about this later…). After being filled with everything from typhoid to yellow fever to polio (and many more…), I was so sore yesterday. I felt like a science experiment because Jason and the rest of the family just watched me all evening. I did some work just to have a few minutes without someone worrying about me.
While I was working on some business stuff, I looked back and took this picture of my Leia. She sleeps on the loveseat and Kona always sleeps underneath. Jason and I refer to it as their bunk beds.
This afternoon was a PERFECT fall portrait day! I met up with Mary and Alex (and their beloved dog, Wheezy) for a post-wedding engagement session. We went out to Doub’s and had a blast – mostly watching Wheezy explore the park…