Monthly Archives:December 2016


11 Dec 16
Ivy Jones
one comments


When I wake up in the morning, I usually have to go to the bathroom really bad.:( I go to the bathroom and then I come back to the room that I share with all of my brothers and sister, and lay in bed for a while longer. Then I eventually get up and get ready for breakfast. I like oat meal for breakfast the best. I allways eat a golden plum with my breakfast. Thats probably my favorite food here. I have to peel it with a nife then eat it, but the pit has a bunch of like ropes on it. Then I wait around for a while goofing up with Charlie. And then the Mom is ready for me to come and do homeschool. After I finish allmy math, we go and eat lunch. Then we do the other part of homeschool.


Dogs and cats

11 Dec 16
Ivy Jones
one comments


I “have not yet learned to appreciate” (hate) sharing a room whith all of my two brothers and sister.

I “very much looking forward to” (can’t wait) until we move into the dome house. That will be so fun! We don’t have doors to the rooms in the dome house. We just have curtans.The only door we have in the house is the front door.

We used to have a pet dog but he got eaten after he chomped on Charlie. So we are getting a new dog! This one is going to be a girl. Mom and I want to name it Alice.

There is also another pet that we own, but we did not really plan on having it. There is this family of a cat and its four kittens. They are so cute! Sometimes I catch one that is not very afraid of me because I have caught it so many times. Sometimes I feed it. One time I cought one of Bingo’s sisters. Bingo is the cat that I usually hold that is not very scared of me. (Bintu named it.) And Bingo’s sister was way more scared than Bingo. That’s why I let it go after like five seconds (ouch).


General Conference (without cold cereal)

11 Dec 16
Ivy Jones
one comments


I am at church right now. I am watching general comfrence on a t.v. I kind of wish I were at home staying in my p.j.’s all day, eating my box of ceareal. But sitting in an uncumterble chair at church with a bunch of other people is not that bad.I did not like public school here so I am now doing home school here. At least the church that I am in has fans.

friends: Flecia is very nice Small Princess is very social. Maby a little too social.

It is really hot here all the time exept when it is raining. and it is’nt even dry season yet! I DO really like it here so much a lot very good!

Paradigm postulates: Liberia vs. America

11 Dec 16
Ruby Jones
one comments


Hi. Today I will explain a bit about my understanding of some common paradigms that exist in Liberia that are not as common in the US. These have for sure taken some getting used to, and I want to share them with you. I see these different paradigms as manners, in a way. General rules of politeness or understanding that is agreed on without words, but is differentiated from place to place, country to country. Paradigm number one is:
Sharing. In Liberia, I’ve learned, sharing is WAY different. For example, if someone offers something to you (usually food) it’s rude to refuse. I’ve unintentionally offended quite a few people this way, because I am accustomed to turning down spontaneous offers of food in order to be polite and not burden someone or cause inconvenience. This was according to how I was raised, being taught the manners of many in the United States. That being said, another rule of thumb in Liberia is you should ALWAYS share (or at least offer) if you have something and somebody else doesn’t. If you have food and someone else doesn’t, it is safe to assume they’re hungry. As a side note on this, I just want to mention that today we had a guest coming with us to church that my dad invited, our friend Joe Bishop. Twenty-two years old and investigating the Mormon church, I couldn’t help but notice that he wasn’t his happy, brotherly annoying self. After a bit of an interrogation, I discovered that he hadn’t eaten for almost 24 hours. I could have guessed. Anytime you see someone sleeping in the daytime, looking dejected or listless, chances are they’re literally in the earliest stages of starving for lack of food (aka hunger). Anyway, side note over, it’s even rude to eat alone because there’s someone close by who could use some nourishment. This is always difficult for me, because there are so many neighbors who are hungry, and even though I have access to food, I don’t have enough to feed them all. The sensitive part of my heart grieves every day to see this. Sharing is always a good thing, and don’t take for granted anything that you have, even basic nessessities like enough food, clean water, adequate shelter, and parents. I look back with disgust at the Ruby Jones who lived on Cavallo Dr. who had the audacity to complain, despite having all her needs met and then some. I apologize to all who knew me. Okay I’m talking about paradigmes here, and the next one is:
The Acceptance of Abuse of Authority. For some jacked up reason, everyone here sort of just deals with the fact that teachers/educators, use corporal punishment to their own advantage of proving power and dominance. The teachers of Kpekor Public School will use a thin stick to hit a 5 year old (or younger. or older. or whatever they feel like) for being late, when they themselves will consistently be late for school, generally by a lot more time than the child they’re punishing. I’m not saying that every citizen of Liberia agrees and approves of this, not at all. But nobody is protesting, and it seems like it’s accepted, to say the least. Let me tell you a story. (haha when someone wants to tell a story here, they say “story story” and their audience says “story” and they begin.)
So the story goes like this. My dad and I had gone on a motorbike to Faith Clinic at about 7:15am to get my ankle stitches out. I was dressed in my school uniform and was planning on being dropped off at school on the way home. When we got to the school, I decided to just go all the way home because my foot was paining me. On the dirt road home, we discover my brother, Leo, and a few of his friends walking home. We stop to ask why they’re going home only 30 minutes after school was supposed to start. They tell us that they were sent home because their hair was too “bushy.” (too long) So we make space for Leo on the bike and he, my dad, and myself go back to Kpekor. My dad asks Leo if he is willing to stand up for himself and say “It is my right to be in school”. He says yes. So my dad takes Leo straight to the principal’s office where they protest the expulsion, proclaiming that every child has the basic human right to be in school, and that they are abusing their authority sending students home, and that they don’t have the right to deny a child her basic human right, etc. etc.. While they were benevolently fighting for justice (making a big stink) I was waiting just off campus with the motorbike, where my friends Chris and Jerry and a few little girls were loitering. They were between 5 and 8 years old, and the boys told me that he was put out because of his hair being too long, and the girls because they didn’t have socks. I sent them to where my dad was, and he was able to at least sort of make the principal see reason and let the children back in class.
Gender roles. Here in Liberia I’ve observed quite a difference in men and women’s roles than I’ve seen. For one, it’s a bit more common for boys to know a bit about cooking. The teenage boys inside the fence cook a breakfast meal for the home a few times a week, and sometimes lunch. Males also are pros at washing clothes. However, I’ve seen little to none interaction between older boys or fathers with small children. Women do washing, cooking, looking after, bathing and essentially raising the little ones. Lots of women are capable of doing “man” work as well. All the time I see women out in the bushy parts near their house with a hoe or a cutlass, brushing. I personally like this mix of roles. The men are able to do some of what would be considered a womans responsibility, and vice versa.
Dress and appearance. Obviously, it’s extremely hot and humid in Liberia. I know that some people think that Liberians are so used to being cooked by the sun that they don’t think it’s hot. This assumption is dead wrong. Of course they would notice that it’s so hot that it looks like someone wasted water on them. Since the heat is so brutal, it’s perfectly common to see people, mostly women, wearing less clothes than would be acceptable in the States. Something I’ve discovered that I love about Liberians is everyone is so comfortable in their body. Any overweight person would have nothing against lifting up their shirt when they’re hot. People here seem less ashamed of their body. In the United States, in the culture I was used to,it’s normal to always cover up, all the time in public, use something to cover up when breast-feeding, and seem ashamed that, yes, they have a body. But, this isn’t always true just because of the climate. For instance, I can differentiate between whether a young girl has her shirt up, bearing her midriff, because she wants a breeze because it’s hot, or because she’s being intentionally immodest. Personally, I like the comfort that people feel in their body. Unlike how I felt in Utah, here I rarely feel self conscious about the way I look, or if I’m gaining or losing weight or stuff like that. Lifestyle here for me is an active one: walking to school, playing outside the fence, kickball, jumprope, hopscotch, lapa, (a fun outside game I’ve learned) heck, even doing chores is exercise. You try pumping water for a bathroom barrel! It’s quite a workout.
Okay I’m tired I’m done writing. My gmail is ruby.jonesforever@….. I’ll write again when the periodic times when I want to write and I have time to write overlap. Goodbye.

Magical ankle-biting beach rocks

11 Dec 16
Ruby Jones


Hello friends and family! This week has been more difficult for me than past weeks, but I have reason to believe that this next one will be better. For quite a while I’ve been battling a violent cough, runny nose, mild fever, and fun stuff like that 🙁

I’m also recovering from an…adventure from last Saturday. We went to Kpekor Beach Saturday afternoon, but nobody would get in the water. Everyone was scared of the rocks – a superstition of demons or witchcraft kept them from swimming. To show them there was nothing to fear, my dad waded into the lagoon and sat on one of the rocks that was halfway under the waterline. Ivy and I went with him, just playing on the rocks. When my dad and the others had moved on farther down the beach, I decided to go too. When I was coming off the rock into the water, my foot slid on a rock topped with moss, and my ankle bent in a painful way that made me catch my breath. My foot had slid into a small crevice between two rocks, and when I had pulled myself together and gotten to the beach where my mom was standing, I realized that I was bleeding pretty badly from a gash on the outside of my right ankle, maybe and inch wide, just below the bone. It was painful to walk, but I still could, so that was a good sign. I went and soaked my foot in the salt water of the ocean, which didn’t hurt as much and it sounds like. My mom and I followed the others down the beach, walking in the water, and sitting on the sand when I couldn’t walk so well anymore.

After being treated with some country medicine by my kind friend Morris Jaleibah, and a bumpy ride home, I could barely walk because of the pain. I was feeling what I completely thought was just a sprained ankle, not really thinking about the cut. When I had finished eating and bathing, my dad and I sat down in my dad’s ofice – small, extremely hot room with a shelf full of medical supplies – to clean my injury. I’m not entirely sure what he was doing (I didn’t watch) but I was in more pain than I’d ever experienced. Imagine having something sever your skin, and then having someone separate that skin and scrub under your flesh. With alcohol. Not exactly pleasant. In fact, it was the longest 10 minutes of my life. After what felt like an hour and plenty of tears and sweat and blood, my dad told me he was finished and that we needed to go to the clinic for stitches. Knowing that it was 8:45pm and that the drive to the clinic would take about 40 minutes on an agonizingly bumpy road, and we had JUST been there for Simon’s stitches and he said he could partially feel it as they sewed him together, (this thought really scared me) I refused (in vain) to go. I changed into a dry shirt and was carried to the truck as my dad, Simon and Uncle Rufus climbed in. On the drive my dad told needed to convince me why I had to get stitches, so he revealed that the gash was so deep – through all layers of skin, through the muscle, through the fat – that he could see some of the the tendons. (gag reflex)

We also discussed how strange it was, considering the depth of the laceration, that I didn’t even know that my skin had been lacerated. A possibility was that the end of my nerves had been severed, eliminating pain of that nature. Deciding that this was the most likely explanation, I thanked God for this. The only thing in my mind that could have made it much worse was more pain at the time of the accident, causing a traumatic scene on the beach. On the long commute to the clinic I solved my own perplexity on exactly how I was hurt. When my foot went into the creavice, the skin there, just below the bone was taut. There must have been another sharp rock there between the two rocks I knew of, farther down. That taut part of my foot just pushed right into that rock, and all I felt was the turning of my ankle. It makes me shudder to think of how I pulled it out.

When we reached the clinic, my dad carried me inside where I was registered and set in a small room on a bed as Prince, the doctor (not really a doctor, more of a technician), prepared the necessary supplies. After receiving a priesthood blessing from my dad and Rufus, the first procedure was a few lidocaine shots, (major ouch) after which Prince shoved something that looked like a thread with the consistency of a wire through one side of my gash and out the other, making a knot, and sewing the skin. I was astonished! I could only feel pressure as he flossed it through, nothing more than a tugging sensation. He did this four times, and then it was over. After getting bandaged up and getting an antibiotic shot (ahem – in my right buttock) I was free to go. For some reason the ride home was more painful. I could feel every jolt and bounce in my foot. Upon reaching home and exhausted, I splashed cold water on my face, took some pain killer and knocked out for the night.

The following day I didn’t go to church. Monday my dad drove me on a motorbike to school and back. The next day I stayed home sick. The next day Simon took me on a motorbike to school. The next day was Thanksgiving. (I’m not lying) The next day I stayed home sick. This is such a shame because I really do love school. Believe me, in the US for some reason I would have had no problem with skipping huge amounts of school attendance, but only going to school twice this week kind of depressed me. Luckily my ankle is doing well, and the only sickness I have now is what is called GYC in Liberia. (Grave Yard Cough) I’m basically a professional now at my twice daily cleaning of my wound, and I’ve gotten used to the sting of the alcohol. “By the Grace of God I will reach on campus tomorrow.” This is a common phrase here, and applies to me 🙂

Thanks for sticking with reading this whole thing. It makes it more enjoyable to use my time writing when I know somebody is actually interested.

your grandaughter, niece, young woman, friend, sister, cousin, bestie, and buddy, Ruby <3

OH! Btw, in the picture, it’s me and Faith Tokpah. Myself and all her family calls her Akos, which is her “house name”. This sweetie is the cutest darned thang you ever saw! Whenever this 5 yr old sees me she calls out “Hey my beeeeeeeest friend!” 🙂



Gratitude journal entries this week

11 Dec 16
Kayla Jones


One of the orphan sponsors and a Jones family friend, an author who goes by MC McClintock (of the Helm family in Jerome), created a series of gratitude journals with an African theme. She gifted one to each of our family, which we presented to the kids the day we left Salt Lake City. Her idea to inspire happiness is to write down three things each day which you are grateful for. I have actually been very diligent about doing this, and I’m so glad! Today, I feel a bit at a loss for what to write in a blog post, so I think I’ll just share with you my entries over the past week or two. (By the way, our author friend is donating all of her author royalties from the sale of these journals to the Heartwood Orphan Home, so come on…. get shopping 🙂

1. Working together as a family on the bamboo walls for our dome home.
2. Ivy’s dog attack could have been SO MUCH WORSE! 16 stitches altogether. So grateful to hold her tonight! Don’t forget: In the middle of her sobs and screams getting sewn up, “I love you, mom!” and then, in a calmer moment, her humor singing, “Sew, a needle pulling skin”, to the tune from Sound of Music.
3. So grateful for Simon’s “Don’t mess with my sister” instinct, and being helpful. I’m really proud of that kid tonight.

1. Good talk with Simon. Processing the events of yesterday. Tough stuff.
2. My tender feelings bathing, dressing, and combing Ivy’s hair – serving her while she can’t use her hands.
3. Friends from Zuannah Town village coming by all day to check on how she is doing.

1. Seminary lesson that was so applicable to all of my emotions/prayers/questions this week. God sometimes LETS us suffer, so He can teach us. Not because He’s cruel, but because He loves us. It’s for the greater good.
2. Simon and Andy spending the day together on the dirtbikes, networking with local municipal leaders to establish the Heartwood Homestead as a community partnership effort.
3. Rain not coming until after my laundry dried.

1. Trip to town with Joneses! My navigating the outside market craziness with ease now.
2. Simon’s awesome and helpful attitude.
3. Simon traveling safely on a new Water Project motorcycle all the way from Brewerville on his own.

1. One step closer to dome home move-in day. Lacquering the bamboo walls almost done.
2. Facetime with Jan. Couldn’t ask for a better mother-in-law.
3. Choosing to take the children to the beach instead of reading all day (always a tempation for me!)

1. My heart feeling especially tender at church today.
2. Fun drumming with Andy and kids, and teaching myself Edelweiss on the guitar – reminds me of my dad 🙂
3. The prompting to read the Book of Mormon to my kids each night after family prayer.

1. Helping Faith feel better after she got sand in her eyes, and the nap she took in my arms afterwards.
2. Simon and Ruby working out a guitar/singing duet together.
3. Seminary. Loving studying the New Testament. Loving teaching.

1. That I had my phone on (rare), when Andy ran out of gas and needed Simon’s help.
2. Laughing so hard with Decontee at our serious bread baking flop.
3. Seminary prep. I’m learning so much!

1. Fluffy pancakes! New recipe.
2. Simon’s gall bladder okay after all (whew!)
3. Charlie’s spontaneous act of compassion when he accidentally spilled water all over Ivy and her dinner, making her cry. Immediate expression of apology and regret and then quickly acting to fix it and make her laugh again. Such a milestone for him!!!
4. Evening heart to heart with Ruby. Love that girl.

1. Morning jog with Andy and Charlie. My conversation with God while I raced ahead while they stopped for a stretching break.
2. Finding recipes and shopping for holiday ingredients so I can fix goodies. It will take some serious effort to make it feel a little like Christmas here in the bush. It is definitely NOT “Beginning to look (or feel) a lot like Christmas”!
3. Wonderful dinner at the Collin’s home (ward members, retired American-Liberians who are volunteering to run a school they started). Much needed time away from the compound. They had a refrigerator!!!!

1. While taking my bath, I overheard the girls in the bath next door to me. Oretha always sings in a funny opera voice, and I heard her sing to Josephine, “Don’t pee pee in heeeeeerrrre. Go in the toooooooilet”.
2. Olympia (our puppy), crawling onto my feet and laying down on them, licking (not biting!) my toes as I did laundry.
3. Andy pulling me onto his lap spontaneously and telling me with controlled emotion, “Thanks for trying… Don’t give up.”, in regard to my cooking flops with that darned coal pot oven!

1. Four senior missionary couples coming all the way out here to visit us! Mission President and his wife, PEF, Literacy, and MLS missionaries. It truly felt like there were angels among us 🙂 Gifts for the kids. Genuine interest in our work here.
2. Interesting plant we found down by the river that closes up on itself when you touch it. So cool!
3. Whole wheat bread that turned out! HOORAAAYYYYY!!!win_20161211_19_12_07_pro

This week’s Top 10

11 Dec 16
Kayla Jones


This week’s TOP 10 LIST:

1. All of Charlie and Ivy’s teeth are falling out! They are just baby teeth, so no need to fret. Between the two of them, they’ve been keeping the tooth fairy pretty busy though. In the 2 1/2 months we’ve been here, Ivy has lost 2 chompers and Charlie has lost 5!

2. Just as the sandman was starting to do his magic, I noticed a peculiar noise in my room. Come to find out a bat was flying around (outside of my mosquito net, thank goodness). Then, waking in the morning to a scurrying noise coming from the ceiling. It was no small critter. I don’t even want to know what that was…

3. Itch Itch. Scratch Scratch. It is never ending! Ants, mosquitos, spiders, ringworm, heat rash. The name of the game is to put alcohol on any potential itchy places, and then carefully get into bed and hold the position. If I move, I may aggrivate an itch I didn’t even know I had, and then… I’m done for. It will itch ALL NIGHT LONG. ARGHhh!

4. Massive beetle dropped from the ceiling of the carport onto our windshield at the supermarket yesterday. It was about as wide as a golfball and as long as 1 1/2 golfballs. Seriously. SO BIG!

5. At church last week, one woman was wearing a skirt that had the heads of all the latter-day prophets of the church printed on it. It was amazing 🙂

6. The missionary from Ghana played the keyboard for sacrament meeting last week. During the prelude music singing time, he was told to just choose a song he could play. One of the two American Elders requested The Star Spangled Banner. We about fell out of our chairs laughing as our family and the Elders sang through it with the rest of the Liberian congregation trying to follow along. The Elder was bright red, equally embarrassed at his whimsical request and amused at what resulted. SO FUNNY.

7. Friend from SLC that does some work here in Liberia came for a visit. Before she came, she offered to bring anything to us that we needed and couldn’t find here. We had a few items sent to her via Amazon. It was like Christmas when she arrived Monday! I now have measuring cups and spoons (I have so much more confidence cooking now that I’m not just guessing quantities), a stainless steel hand juicer (freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, lime juice each morning!), and a new tablet (I forgot what it’s like living with small children. The one I brought mysteriously got a major crack in it and is now useless). Karen also threw in a special treat for me – a box of Godiva Chocolates! Oh my goodness… heavenly!

8. Dome home floors and walls finished. White tile. White walls. Move-in day is right around the corner now!

9. Books, books and more books! Between the kids and myself, we’ve read 45 books so far. Charlie’s in the lead – 20 of those being his. Ya, maybe he’s not being very social, but for a kid that wouldn’t read anything but Wimpy Kid before we left, I am LOVING watching him devour books!

10. I passed off my daily Proper English Class to Simon. He is now responsible for the lesson planning and teaching of that class, followed by multiplication flash card memorization. It is awesome to see him take on this role (and with very little resistence)! He’s doing great with it, and the kids enjoy him being more involved.

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