Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Knowing People. . .without knowing it!

As you all know, most of the time we were in Liberia, we were looking for humanitarian organzaitons (NGO's) that were doing good work. This meant that I talked to everyone I could find and also (I'll admit it) eavesdropped on a few conversations! One of these conversations was in the airport in Ghana. I noticed a group of people talking and kept hearing the word, "Liberia". Well, when they broke up a bit, I leaned over to the people and asked what they were talking about. They said that they were discussing NGOs in Liberia. So, I of course, inserted myself right in and asked if they knew of good NGOs and told them what we were doing. The main guy who was talking told me that he was a doctor who ran an NGO and would love to talk to me. Right about then, they called our flight so he told me that he'd find me on the plane. To tell you the truth, I forgot about it with all the hoopla of entertaining a 2 year old on an airplane in anticipation of an 11 hour flight!

A couple of hours into the flight, the man came to find me and asked if it was a good time to talk. I quickly handed Davis off to Greg and went to the back of the plane to find 2 seats together. We found some and just began to talk. We actually talked for 2 hours! He is an emergency room physician in CT and runs a non-profit called HEARTT which recruits doctors to go to Liberia and do surgeries and other medical procedures at JFK Hospital for free for 2 weeks. He had taken 9 docs with him that time and does these trips 4 times a year. Isn't that fabulous? The cool thing is that he rasies money for the non-profit so that the trips are actually free for the doctors! If you or someone you know is in the medical community, PLEASE have them check this out.

While the conversation started out about his NGO and the different ones we had visited, it quickly moved to other topics. We covered the state of Liberia, the US, Bush's African policy, Darfur, the role of the Chinese Gov't in the third world and why the heck a crazy American would care so much about this sweet little nation. Although, after being there I don't know how ANYONE can go and not fall head over heels in love with this country! Literally, we debated policy and discussed options in gov't and aid for almost 2 hours! I was having a blast.

Finally, I asked him (knowing he was from Liberia and now living in the US) if his kids ever go back to Liberia and what they think. "Well," he replies, "My kids go, but they don't really get the REAL Liberian experience." What do you mean? "What with their Grandma being the president and all, it's just a little different for them with security and such following them." Now, it's sinking in for me. "Are you saying that YOUR MOM is the President of Liberia?" I ask. "Oh, yeah. I'm James Sirleaf. Nice to meet you" he replies! Oh my dear! Here I have been debating African policy and Darfur basically from what I know from the news and from reading Vanity Fair - the Africa edition! I felt like such an idiot! The rest of the conversation, I definitely bowed to his experiences, since they started out like, "well, when Laura Bush and I were talking about Darfur. . ."! Soon, thereafter, I had to leave to help Greg with Davis. . .

After we landed, I went up to him again. I told him how stupid I felt trying to debate African policy as a stay-at-home mom who knows NOTHING with the son of the PRESIDENT of Liberia! He was so sweet and told me that he had just been telling another doctor how much he had enjoyed our conversation. He's actually coming to FL in February and we're going to have dinner and brainstorm more ways to connect his organization and others and get the word out about HEARTT!

Yep, I'm an idiot! But, it was a cool connection and a chance to find out about a cool organization!

14 comments:

Jamie said...

Wow, that is amazing...her son huh? Pretty funny how you were debating with him considering who he is! That's great that there ar doctors who do that. There are some doctors in our church...I should pass the word on!

Anonymous said...

What a neat experience! I am sure he enjoyed that you didn't know at first and he was able to enjoy a debate/conversation with you just as 2 people concerned about Africa!
How cool!
Julie

steffany said...

Holy Cow! that is so crazy. I'm sure he was excited about your passion. At least you knew enough and cared enough to debate about African policies. YOU ROCK!

I am so interested in knowing what your doing and what your meetings were like with the NGOs.

I am also wanting to talk to you about your fundraising!

Blu and Darbi said...

You are so hilarious! I got a big kick out of this post!

Love ya,
Darbi :)

jaz said...

Well... You're a very, very cool "idiot"! ;0) What a neat, neat experience of a lifetime!! I can't wait to hear how the dinner convo goes! ;0)
Love,
Jamie Z. :0)

amber said...

Okay, now I am jealous! Jamie got to have the Liberian president on her plane and YOU got to have her son on yours!! We were on the wrong airplanes!

HOW COOL!! What an amazing "appointment" God set up for you. I, too, can't wait to hear more after your dinner conversation!!

Amber

Lindsey said...

that's so cool...do they need any nurses (i know my sterile technique!!)?

Missy said...

HA HA! That is such a totally cool story. You've been asking God to show you what you are supposed to do and I think this is a step in the plan. LOVE IT!

Missy

Kelly said...

The Lord put you there in that conversation for a reason! Sit back in awe, wonder why, and then wait for the awesomeness of what HE can/will do through you for Liberia!!

alice said...

For such a time as this...

Wow, what a great story. I'm going to send the link to our assoc. pastor who is a dr. He has taken various mission trips to other countries. do you know how often he (the president's son) takes mission trips over and does he reside in the US now?

Donna Barber said...

Hello Idiot! Just kidding!
I want to meet him! Great story.

Jeff Nolta said...

Coolest thing I've ever read in a blog!

running shoes said...

you are not an idiot. WOW, Brandi, this is so, so amazing that God is using your family for something HUGE. I feel so privileged that I can read your blog and watch God's plan unfold. How completely Awesome.

Karin said...

What a cool experience!
And a great story for Davis as to the happenings on his way to the US! I'm sure he'll get a kick out of the fact that his mom debated with the presidents son on the way home!!!