Fear not Ebola

Ten months into the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history there are many wondering where all this will  end. Reading theories on the origins of Ebola and looking at international responses I am also wondering, where will all this end.

As of today, the greatest causalities are in Liberia.

Today in Liberia the Ebola virus continues to spread among the people as Ebola Response Units are overwhelmed and unable to manage those that are already there.

Today in Liberia the President and the legislature are at an impasse because they do not trust one another.

Today in Liberia sick people are being sent back to their homes without treatment or protection for the other family members. What could be an isolated case becomes a family of fatalities.

Today in Liberia nurses and health workers are threatening strike because they need pay.

Today in Liberia people are dying from regular things like malaria, and car accidents. They have little awareness of the great cyclone of information that is engulfing them. They carry on daily life, thinking and acting the way they have always acted.

Liberia’s history does not give me much confidence in their conquering this scourge. I fear they are going to fail in their attempts to control the disease and will not regain order in the country. I do not fear the Ebola, I fear the human condition.

Up until the 1980’s Liberia was a stable, upcoming, progressive nation. But there was a deep rift, a festering wound between the leadership and the people. That wound broke open with the assassination of their president and execution of 13 ministers of state. Since then they have been struggling to regain some foundation of governance and bring balance in their nationhood.

Many have called Liberia a social experiment gone wrong. It was to be the solution for freed black slaves. A dream of  forging a reconnection with their lost ancestral roots. Instead it is a bitter account of how peole allowed fear and power to become the dominant forces of governance and nation building. Those who once were slaves became enslavers. Rather than reach Liberia with the love of Christ, they settled it with the rule of the religion.

I have heard unforgettable stories from those who survived the civil war. One man told of how he sat in the bushes near his home and listened while young men from his own village killed and cannibalized his wife. I sat with a young man crying to die after he had been forced to stand everyday for two weeks and stare at the sun during the day and sleep above the smoke from the rice kitchen by night.

I have visited health care facilities where patient care has been deadly; watching my niece die after she was hit by a car and there was no way to help her breath because they couldn’t turn on the generator; standing in the emergency room with my husband, begging the nurse, because they were trying to treat a 12 day old baby with malaria medicine, when, he had been overdosed with malaria meds and he was now in a coma.  Admitting a child with a broken leg to the hospital where she was placed on the same bed as another child with an unknown disease, both with their faces in the middle of the bed. She was left there for over 24 hours and never treated.

I have listened to testimonies of those in Liberia who say when their opportunity comes they will take their own. A pastor’s wife telling of how she was given food to share but had to take the majority for herself because this was her chance. “You eat, I eat.” is how they justify the ongoing misuse of funds and materials.

And this is the fear that I have. That unless we change our ways, forgive those who have wronged us in the past and concern ourselves with other’s needs we will never come out of this scourge. Ebola is the worst virus known today. But it is only a virus. But how will Liberians choose to act in regard to that virus.

Today in Liberia people need to make choices. Will we live for ourselves or will we put the concern for others and our nation ahead of our greed and grasping ways.

In ever case of Ebola we have a choice: to do our best to  protect and care or to isolate ourselves, hoarding resources, and deny any responsibility.

Liberians let us fight this scourge of Ebola. Let us be those who choose to live by love instead of power and in faith instead of fear..

I have this fear, but I continue to take it to God’s throne and pray that He will intervene on behalf of this nation.

“God is our shield saving those whose hearts are true and right. God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day.” NLT Psalm 7:10,11

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