I have been home a little over a week and I am so over the Ebola "issue" here in America that I am just about ready to hop the next plane to Africa. I'm so tired of seeing FB posts that say "shutdown" all flights or those that blame President Obama for the Ebola "crisis" in America. Without going into to many details (because my sister might kill me), Ebola hysteria has affected my sister's family in strange, ignorant, hurtful ways.
So, first, just because my practical nature demands it, I want to arm you with some pesky little facts. After that, I'd like to share with you on a more "spiritual" perspective.
1. Look at this map:
That's where Ebola is and where it is not.
2) And, it case you're still worried, this is how big the continent of Africa actually is:
Yep, it would take the United States, China, Japan, Mongolia, India, all of Eastern Europe, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy to equal the size of the African continent.
3) While safely tucked in my corner of the world in Lichinga, I was further away from Ebola than anyone here in the states. If fact, the distance from Mozambique to Liberia is about the distance from you to Spain. Pretty far, eh?
4) I've heard people say that I may have sat with someone on the plane in South Africa who had Ebola. Well, actually, probably not. Anyone from west Africa who is going to the states is going to fly across the Atlantic to the states, not take an 8 hour plane ride south and east to get a connecting flight that will take them the same route they came to still have a 10 hour flight across the ocean. Furthermore, they took my (and everyone else's) temperature at passport control in SA, Germany, and D.C. People with fevers didn't get into the airport. Whats more, if someone on the flight did, by some chance, have Ebola, they weren't yet sick and therefore could contaminate no one.
5) Since the Ebola crisis began, Doctors without Borders has sent more than 700 medical personnel to work in Ebola "hot zones." Of those 700 volunteers, three people (only 1 being American) have contracted the disease. Of course other organizations have sent workers (Samaritan's Purse and SIM), but the percentage is still quite low.
6). The only Americans that have been treated for Ebola have been contaminated by working directly with Ebola patients. No one in the general population has gotten sick. All of them have recovered.
I have been surprised and saddened to hear all of these stories about people being forced to take 21 day leaves of absence after visiting non-affected parts of Africa. Instead of education, we have chosen ignorance and hysteria.
Over 13,000 west Africans have been diagnosed with Ebola. Of those 13,000 almost 5,000 have died. I can't even wrap my head around those numbers and here we sit in our comfort freaking out because one guy, who wasn't showing any symptoms, rode the subway.
I'm do not want to make light of the fact that Americans have gotten sick from this disease, or that this disease is scary. I'm not in any way saying that there shouldn't be precautions in place. Mozambique is not letting anyone in with a fever. So, I get precautions.
What has totally flabbergasted me is that this is not an American problem. Ebola is a west-African crisis. Because of lack of medical workers, facilities, and adequate care Ebola is spreading like wild-fire. I can't even imagine how awful it will be once the rainy season and the malaria that comes with it settles in. Malaria and Ebola present the same in the beginning. There is going to be so much confusion and fear and death. God help them all.
Look, I'm not saying take your little kids and go expose them to Ebola. I'm not. I am saying that for some of us, there are tangible things that we can do. For others, we can pray. For all of us, we can dig a little deeper and find the compassion and the love of Jesus. We can stop making this crisis about us. Would you just for a moment, imagine little children dying of this disease with no one to hold them? Can you imagine the moms and dads leaving behind little ones? Hospitals with no running water, spotty electricity, and a bring your own food and blankets policy? No bleach. No real way to effectively quarantine anyone.
Please realize your chance of contracting Ebola (unless you go with Doc w/o Borders to Liberia) is zilch. ZILCH. Instead of seeing yourself, see the dying. Be moved by their suffering. Pray for them. Give to charities that are seeking to stop this outbreak. Jesus was always moved into action. He never once was motivated by his own needs.
So, please, let His heart for their suffering beat inside of you. It might just change the world.