Ebola and the FEAR

The outbreak of EBOLA in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone

has left deep traces in these three countries during the last few months. It is very difficult to imagine how severely complete villages and families have been struck by this disease. Human suffering is immense, it is a huge drama for those who are involved.

Besides, nearly all social and industrial activities have come to a halt there, culminating in even more harmful effects.

 

In the mean time the fear of Ebola is reaching much further than those three countries involved. Just look at what happens when one (1) infected person enters a country like the USA or Spain, have a look at what measures are taken when a slightly feverish person travelling from Sierra Leone is entering the Netherlands.

 

Many people from outside Africa look at Western-Africa as one big region, they do not make a distinction between the different countries. That is a great pity for a.o. Ghana, because at the moment many people are postponing a visit to Ghana for fear of Ebola. However, Ghana seems to have taken ample preparations for a possible outbreak of Ebola, there is a lot of public awareness and special centres have been allocated, just in case….. .

Fortunately, up till now there hasn’t been any reason for such measures, but FEAR reigns with many people outside Africa but also on the continent itself. For example Morocco has recently decided that it will not organize the African Cup of Nations Finals because of Ebola. And in the Netherlands the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences simply will not approve of any traineeship in any country in Africa. There is still a lot to be learned at that school….. !

 

The limit is – in my opinion – that the TV show which is part of the national Ebola campaign in the Netherlands will presumably not be organized because there are “not enough impressive images from Ebola countries available and there are no Dutch celebrities who dare to go to those countries to shoot new material”….. ?

What other gruesome images do people need than those already produced to support the fight against Ebola?   

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There is no reason to worry about Ghana for the time being, because Ebola has not even been diagnosed in the three countries surrounding Ghana (Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo) yet. If Côte d’Ivoire (which was a rather unstable country not long ago) with both Liberia and Guinea at its borders is able to keep out Ebola, there is all the more reason to believe that the virus will not hit Ghana hard very soon.

Note: the distance from the west border of Ghana to Liberia and Guinea is over 500 km, like Amsterdam – Berlin. That is how far away Ebola is from Ghana!

 

What do we in PCC notice of this big FEAR of Ebola?

Various people have cancelled their reservation for a guesthouse for fear of Ebola and also some applicant volunteers (or their relatives) seem really terrified and prefer going to a “safe” country, for instance in Eastern-Africa…

When we talk to people about our presence in Hand in Hand it almost always leads to the question: “And what about Ebola?”. It is probably reasonable to consider that in Africa there are many more people who die of malaria or because of a traffic accident than of Ebola, however dramatic the process of this disease may be. Apparently our FEAR of the invisible and lethal virus is of such immensity that there is no room for rationality or relativity.

As an old poem goes:

Too often we suffer most sorely

and thereby feel most poorly

from dreaded aches and pains.

 

The people from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are suffering for real and severely. Let’s not be mainly concerned about our own FEAR, but let’s try to do our utmost to help the population of those countries affected. Certainly in this critical phase, but also later when Ebola has been put to a (hopefully quick) halt and those countries will have to recover.

Would you like to grapple your FEAR of Ebola? For all donations in the Netherlands: Account nr. 555!