Blog Detail

Settling In…

08 Sep 16
Kayla Jones

Sept. 1, 2016
For so long we have talked about taking our children to Africa. And now, here we are! Such an interesting year, looking back at everything that has led up to this.
so now, i can’t believe we’re actually here. I keep having this moments where I think, “this is it. i’m IN liberia – back in africa, like i’ve always dreamed. with my children!” I’m so happy we made this happen.

in all honesty, i DID have a moment the first night of total displacement; wondering and worry about every little thing while andy sawed logs next to me. i finally decided to wake him up so he could listen to me, kiss away my tears, and give me the priesthood blessing that we got too busy to do before we left. it was a good decision. although, i blame this little breakdown on utter exhaustion from the travel. i haven’t felt that way a moment since.

FOOD – well, my vegetarianism is offically taking a 9 month break. alternative sources to animal protein are scarce. so…. this is what we have eaten so far:

– cream of wheat
– oatmeal
– onion eggs
– fried, sugar bread (donuts!)

Mid-day (can either be a proper meal or just a snack, depending on who the cook is that day):
– butter rice with hard boiled egg.
– fried plantain
– grapefruit
– fried potatoes (think big french fries with no salt)
– coconuts picked from the tree on the property and cut with a cutlass to perfection so we can first drink the water, and then you hit the coconut on the cement to crack it so you can scrape out the meat with your teeth.
– rice with a red sauce and topped with crawfish

– rice with kidney beans and fish in a red sauce
– rice with casava stew, topped with fish
– rice with potato greens, topped with crawfish and fish

– Fruit (watermelon, oranges, cucumber)

Amazingly, we have all done quite well with this. I find that it’s so hot, that we are rarely hungry, or even think about food. I brought multivitamins for all of us to take each day, and I am happy to offer Ivy and Charlie their “gummy-vites”, which feel like quite a treat.

1. Upon arriving and seeing how we’ll be living, Charlie asking, “Can we stay longer than 9 months?”
2. “3 guys on a scooter” StudioC reference by Ivy when driving through the craziness of Monrovia
3. Andy, Rufus, Simon and Charlie running errands “in town” (Monrovia) and get completely stuck in a washed out road on the way home. After an hour, a prayer said, and inspiration given, they return home – but not until well after dark, giving me a bit of a fright.
4. Simon and Moses riding home from Liberia on a motorcycle taxi.
5. Prior to coming, I was so worried about Charlie, who is prone to anxiety and shyness. I have barely seen this kid during the days. He jumps in and is so happy to do everything just like the other kids do. he has made a good friend in rufus and vic’s son, gordon. he’s Not made a single complaint about the food, and not had a single fear sleeping in a whole other building away from me and Andy. AMAZING.
6. Walking to the Heartwood Homestead property today with all the children, and then on to the SEA!!!! Wonderful afternoon playing in the waves. The small children: Giftee, Faith, Patrick, and Josephine were absolutely terrified though. faith was on simon’s shoulder and she was clinging to his head for dear life!
7. Ruby, loving on all the young kids and being wonderfully positive each step of the way. She and I helped the children’s tutor that comes each Friday and did a little reading lessons with them.
8. Spending an abundance of time with Ivy. She and I have become special buddies and I am focusing the majority of my energy on her. I have been completely suprised that of all my children, she is the one struggling. We spend most of our days together playing cards, talking and snuggling.
9. because of a lack of vehicles, they take turns who gets to go to church each week. we all went. ruby, ivy, and i smashed in the 5 seat belt ex Terra with 9 other people for the 45 minute extremely bumpy ride through washed out dirt roads to church. simon, andy and charlie took a motorcycle taxi in. i’d say there were a little over 100 people in the branch. 15 young men, andy said. in the concrete room sacrament was in, it was so hot. for some reason they weren’t running the generator, so no fans, lights, or microphone. when we sang songs, it was nearly too loud for my ears! they LOVE to sing hymns. we sing probably five per day here at the homestead, and before sacrament meeting starts they sing song after song waiting for everyone to arrive. my throat literally hurts from singing!

Well, that’s our first few days in a nutshell. So far, so good! It is 100% different than life in Salt Lake City. Our ears are slow to understand what they’re saying, so I pray to overcome that stumbling block quickly! Tomorrow is Monday and all the kids start school – so that should be interesting…

sorry for all the typos and grammatical errors. i am not used to this keyboard and i hurry as to not run down the battery. i don’t know when i’ll be able to charge it again!

Love to you all!


  1. Mindi September 9, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    So good to hear about your time there so far! It makes me so happy that everyone is doing so good. What a sweet time for you and Ivy. I hope school goes well for them all. I look forward to your next post! Love you:)

  2. Vibecke Thompson September 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Such an amazing once in a lifetime unique experience for your family!! I looked at the pictures on Flickr and oh the ocean!!
    So good to hear everyone is settling in OK!! Food sounds like it’s good!
    I hope you all get to go to church every Sunday.
    It’ll be great to read your blog and live vicariously through you over the next few months.
    What’s the email address you are using?

    I love you guys and think about you.
    Thank you for sharing your adventure with us!!

    Hugs to all, Vibecke

  3. Jan Jones September 15, 2016 at 12:09 am

    I am so glad that you are there also. What a growing experience for each of you. Sounds like you are adapting very well. That too surprises me about Ivy and Charlie and how they are adapting. One lost some anxiety, and one gained some.

    The food is interesting isn’t it! The fruit is delicious. Are you and kids taking a turn in the kitchen, in rotation with the others? How is it for you..doing the laundry! I saw the pictures. Lots of work there.

    I am glad you are posting on your blog. It will be a good way to stay in touch. I love you. Enjoy the journey!!

  4. Loquatia September 16, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I love your post and I love you!! So happy to hear all is well! We are praying for you and we’ll throw in an extra prayer for Ivy. So glad you’re all adjusting. I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures! Love you G!

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