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In November 2012, with the building and all interior furnishings fully funded, it was time for our first team visit to Everland Children's Home, Liberia. The building work progressed faster than expected initially, but severe rains and storms throughout the summer months and into the fall slowed the work considerably.
The greatest problem has been the road leading to the building, which is essentially a dirt track, and an extremely bumpy one at that. The road is being worked on, but at present, even during the dry season, it is difficult for vehicles to drive along it without expecting a bumpy ride. When it rains, the mud turns to slush and the flow of vehicles, especially heavy ones laden with building materials, leaves ruts that when dry, make for a difficult journey.
However, having said that the progress on Everland has been quicker than anyone had expected. When we arrived, the roof was on, most of the rooms had a structure, and there was even an office set apart from the building. The photos are deceiving. It is far bigger than it looks, and the kitchen and dining room are yet to be built. The two acres is also huge, leaving a lot of land for potential development later. The girls and boys dorms are situated either end of the building, wtih their respective shower rooms and toilets at the very end of each block. A matron's room is conveniently situated in the middle of the two dorms, which ensures that the matron can be on hand at all times, for all children residing there. Behind the matron's room, there is a small area for storage. Since the matron's room will also double up as a makeshift clinic, we imagine that medical supplies will be stored her alongside the matron's own possessions and materials needed to conduct her daily tasks when on duty.
Each room is much bigger than one would expect, and there is even an office block which is situated some distance from the building itself. When we visited, the septic tank was being dug out and the windows were being made and put in. There was no interior flooring and the plumbing and electrical work have yet to be completed. We were thrilled to see such progress and whilst it was still a long way from completion, we couldn't believe how far this project had come in such a short space of time and in spite of severe weather conditions.
ABOVE: WC and shower room - there are two each of these for the boys' dorm, and two each for the girls' dorm.
ABOVE: Inspecting the progress from the interior of the building.
ABOVE LEFT: Seperate offices, some distance from the building but still with the two-acre perimeter.
ABOVE: The very bumpy dirt-track leading to Everland!
ABOVE: Everland Liberia, from a distance. The grass has grown fast, due to the severe rainfall over the past months.
ABOVE: Everything is built by hand or with limited tools. Here you can see the kind of ladder that is being used, and to the right, you see the beginning of the septic tank which will be ten foot deep, all dug by hand and utilising very basic equipment!
ABOVE: These cute little (or in this case, large!) lizards can be found running along the walls of the building. They are harmless.
ABOVE RIGHT: The visiting team are elated on seeing the building for the very first time.
ABOVE: The team are watching the windows being made and told that they will be installed for the Dedication.
ABOVE: The team meet the neighbours. The little girl whose hand Dee is holding is called Mimi!
ABOVE: More neighbours!
ABOVE: Pineapples grow well here. This pineapple plant is just beside Everland.