West Africa has a special place in my heart. I lived in Liberia for almost 5 years and that time has changed the way I see the world, even the way I see myself.
It breaks my heart to see the terror which strikes the region as a result of the Ebola crisis. Those who have never visited the region don’t understand why communication, care and prevention is so difficult. But I do. Or at least I have some sense of the gravity of the situation.
I remember — stocking our coup closet with non-perishable food items in preparation for unrest. I remember staff afraid to come to work because they had been cursed. I remember smiles that could melt your heart in one instant. I remember a villager pulling me to safety when the ocean tides suddenly changed and started to pull me out to sea. I remember Sunday morning drum music that made you groove even in your sleep. I remember a Liberia that was full of life and laughter.
I want to help Liberia find its way home back to a time of joyfulness. Helping is hard. What’s happening is not a natural disaster. When an earthquake strikes we send food and water. It is not the result of war (although they have suffered their fair share). When a war rings out we lead political protests. The crisis is a disease that kills most of its victims and because of this we are afraid and mostly feel helpless.
I am not a doctor. I can not find a treatment.
I am not a teacher. I can not explain how to prevent the disease.
I am not there. I can not extend my home to a frightened family.
But we are not helpless. I am a human. I can feel, empathize and share the Liberian story. I can believe in a cure and support those who are searching for one. I can donate money to those who are providing on-site aid to the region.
So today, I pray and I donated money to Unicef (who is providing education to the remote villages of Liberia) and to MAP International who is supplying healthcare workers with desperately needed protection.
I encourage you to help by not forgetting those who are far away.