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Brian Plamer- November Newsletter
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Brian Plamer- November Newsletter

Posted by: Admin on Wed, Nov 15, 2017

Notes from Liberia 2017

Brian Plamer: Notes from Liberia 2017


Election Business

SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

The Kenyan Supreme Court recently declared their August 8 presidential election to be invalid.  Apparently there was massive voter fraud.  I’m thinking this is great news, not the stuffing of ballot boxes but the Kenyan government maturing to where the Supreme Court can actually do something to undermine the desires of a sitting president. Their reelection is scheduled for October 17.

On October 10, Liberia will be electing a new president. The campaigning is quite hot and heavy.  Lots of folks are concerned about risk of civil unrest and so the dominant message I’m hearing everywhere is, “…free and fair…no violence…everyone must accept the results…” 

It’s pretty clear to me that voter fraud is par for the course. I also hear ugly rumors of humans, mainly children, being kidnapped and sacrificed in an attempt to influence outcomes.

At the same time, however, it’s equally clear to me Americans could learn something from the Liberians. American politics has degenerated into something barely more sophisticated than professional wrestling.

How dare we presume to point our hairy little fingers at the craziness going on in other countries.  I can’t possibly be alone in my thinking…am I?



More Than a Handful

JUNE 11, 2017

It’s pretty common for a fella to give a lappa to his beloved. In case you don’t know, a lappa is a cloth - two yards long, usually with a colorful “African” print.

Women use lappas as wrap-around skirts or sometimes sewn into pants, blouses, dresses, etc.

Anyway, one day I’m talking to my class about a Bible passage, I forget which, to point out throughout scripture the LORD wants more than simple obedience; he wants sincere outward expressions of inward love and faithful-ness.

In order to make this point, I ask Bendu (not her real name) “Bendu, would you like it if your husband gave you a lappa?” If Bendu says yes, then I can say, “What would you do if your husband gave you the lappa and told you his girlfriend didn’t like it so he was giving it to you? Would you even want the lappa then?”

Bendu’s answer didn’t help me make my point, she said, “I would love that! Because I know the reason the girl-friend refused the lappa was because she knows she is not his main woman!” Well there you go. I guess that’s why I can’t remember what Bible passage we were looking at.

Just down the hill from my house are 4 or 5 kids aged one to four. I’m not sure how, but we’ve developed this routine: whenever I pass, we greet each other by raising our arms while standing on one foot. We look a little like we’re the Karate Kid ready to do Mr. Miagi’s main move… I’m talking about the original Karate Kid here…the real Karate Kid!

One kid is a 3 year old girl named Handful. I assumed she was called Handful because she’s a stinker. 

Turns out she’s called Handful because she was a premature baby, so small she could just fit in your hand. I love that. For those who are wondering the answer is yes, she really is a stinker too.

Spoiling the belly

I am very much pro-life. “Spoiling the belly” is pretty common in Liberia; I assume it’s legal but I am not sure. As with so many things it’s all about money; often poor young desperate women try all kinds of unsafe DIY craziness to “spoil the belly” ending up sick, hurt or dead.

Last August I was visiting a young gal who had done a bunch of work for me. She had just learned she was pregnant and was debating whether or not to “spoil the belly.” It was painfully clear she wanted to, but was afraid.

I remember freezing up, staring into oblivion and thinking, “Oh God”…I wasn’t sure what to say and for some moments I was too scared of my own thoughts to say anything…in the end I opted for the awful truth.

I told the gal two things: 1) I didn’t want her to have an abortion and 2) If she decided to have one I would gladly pay for her to get a “good” one.

It was some weeks before I spoke to her again and learned she decided to have the baby. As I write the baby is a coupla months old…it’s a girl…her name is Abigail.