Sierra Leone is a very tiny country compared to the whole of Africa, however it boasts a population of nearly 7 million people. People who have been thrust into a darkness, confusion and disorientation not understanding fully what is taking place. A place where a predominantly Muslim population has lived peacefully with Christians for centuries. These people are suffering untold catastrophic devastation and the world responds with fear. Not compassion, not aide but fear. They are searching for peace and normalcy, but finding only chaos.
In early September the NY Times and others reported on a country wide quarantine for 7,000 medical teams to go house to house to root out victims. The police and the military would enforce the rule. Doctors without borders disagreed with this, they said it would only force people underground. (More) That would be like the whole state of Arizona remanded to quarantine with all of it’s citizens ruled to stay indoors and wait for medical teams. The pandemonium that this breeds is unfathomable, but then to be faced with a disease that almost certainly causes your death and the death of anyone you come into contact with, is heart wrenching.
Freetown Agenzia Fides – As the World Health Organization updates the data on the victims of Ebola in West Africa in a tragic count that sees the number of victims rise to 3439 out of a total of 7492 cases, Doctors with Africa Cuamm sends two Italian operators to help the other 4 present in Pujehun who coordinate a group of about 200 local operators see Fides 11/09/2014. We are talking about Dr. Potuto and Dr. Bottecchia, sent as an assistant to the project leader. In a statement sent to Fides Agency by CUAMM reads: “It is like an irrepressible obsession that will not abandon you and does not give you peace. You do not see it, but it is everywhere and chases and persecutes you”, said Dr. Potuto. “The data is increasingly negative. Cases increase without social inequality, gender or generation. The victims are men and women, children and elders, clerics and laity, rich and poor, peasants and city dwellers. Everyone seeks a sign of hope, a positive sign, a simple perspective: to return to a normal life, with dignity, at peace with nature”, says the doctor. And here is how Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, is presented in the eyes of Bottecchia: “It is a disoriented Country, the presence of Ebola is everywhere, as soon as you step off a plane one is greeted by chlorinated water to wash your hands, material information about the infection are handed out and there are health check points just after customs controls. In more peripheral areas such as Pujehun, the roads linking a number of small towns scattered throughout the area are at the limit of viability. “Cuamm continues to support the two isolation centers, one hospital in Pujehun, the other in Zimmi. AP Agenzia Fides 08/10/2014 Emergency ebola: on October 4 in just 24 hours 121 deaths and 81 new cases were recorded – Fides News Agency.
Sierra Leone is not the only African country facing this plague. Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and also Spain and the US. Today, the victim in Texas has died. Again the US victim was met with fear more so than compassion, as the prosecutors in Dallas were comtemplating charging the victim with a crime for coming to the US. And there are a great many in America calling for the government to shut it’s doors to these plague ridden lands. Some are sending aid, but the numbers are few. The UK is sending 750 troops according to the BBC. But I have to ask, why troops, why not medical teams, mobile care units and advanced medical technology and medicine?
Pray for the people facing this epidemic disease, pray for God’s mercy, pray for comfort and courageous caring hands to ease suffering, pray for God’s intervention.
By C. Refsland, VOP Advocate