We tend to think of West Africa as “over there”. My family doesn’t. My sister, Regan spent 2 1/2 years living in Sierra Leone, so when we heard about the outbreak in Liberia we started paying close attention. She’s especially affected and aware because this outbreak is affecting the lives of people she knows closely, not to mention an organization she cares about (The US Peace Corps). She told me the other day that the market was shut down in her town in hopes that this would keep outsiders from coming in and bringing Ebola to their area. This is a big deal because the local market is a huge economic driver for many families. While I found this interesting, she understood it on a much deeper level because she knows the names and personalities that are affected and how.
I was also touched by a news story I read about a missionary doctor currently working in Liberia. While I was in Africa, I saw how desperate people were for health care. Heck, I even performed a minor procedure on a small boy. I received instructions from my wife (a Physician’s Assistant) via spotty cell phone texts.
Imagine for a second, being a doctor who could live at the top of society in the States…. but choosing not to. Give all that up to live in the middle of poverty in Liberia simply to help other people who are as desperate as Da-de was when I cut on his arm. NOW imaging that you’ve done that…. and because you made this choice you contract the freaking Ebola virus. That’s the situation that Dr. Kent Brantly finds himself in.
NOW, imagine that people in America love you and somehow come up with an “experimental serum” to send to you in hopes that they can fix you. ”Oh great” I would probably think to myself. “I guess it’s ok to think about my own health and wellness for once”…. I would then take the serum, obviously. We’ve learned that this is not was Dr. Brantly has done. Another doctor is with him, Dr. Nancy Writebol. He gave it to her because she’s also infected. Do you understand what this means? This man gave his life of luxury up to go serve others and live without it. He’s then challenged with the thought of losing life itself. And he then decides to give that away to help someone else too. What would possess a man to be so selfless? What would you do in his situation? Would you ever find yourself in this situation to begin with?
Just for a second, pretend that this isn’t happening “Over there”. And thing about it RIGHT HERE.
Over the next few days I intend on paying very close attention to what is happening to Dr. Keith Brantly. I also intend on paying very close attention to anything he has said, or will be saying. I believe that at a minimum, we as individuals should personally try and figure out why Dr. Brantly is doing what he’s doing. What is his motivation? Is his cause moronic, or is it beyond noble?
Notes from my sis after reading this:
There are also 2 Peace Corps Volunteers that have been exposed and are in quarantine because they’ve been exposed to people that had the virus.
The outbreak started in Guinea. Then expanded to Sierra Leone and Liberia. It seems that you focused more on Liberia where Guinea was actually the origination.