Ebola is all over the media lately, you can’t turn on the TV or Radio without hearing about it. You can’t even log on to Facebook without it inundating your newsfeed.
Everyone has their opinions about Ebola and whether or not we are danger, whether or not we are at risk and in danger. There are long commentaries about whether or not we should continue flights to Africa or whether or not we should bring home missionary doctors for medical treatment.
Ebola is a terrible disease, ravaging bodies with vomiting and hemorrhaging, leaving dead bodies across the landscape of West Africa. To think of that disease in America seems downright terrifying, or so many seem to think.
But the reality is that the risk of getting Ebola in America is basically zero, or .00000000152%.
Five out of 320,000,000 million americans have gotten sick and of that there is an 80% cure rate with only one passing from the disease. If you’re still not convinced that Ebola is not a major threat, check out this graphic from the Washington Post.
But the fear is still there and consuming, so what does this say about us as a culture?
I was thinking about that when I stumbled across this video. It tells a little story about an ambulance driver in the capital city of Monrovia in Liberia, home to one of the worst current Ebola outbreaks. He is one of fifteen ambulances where hundreds of new Ebola cases are reported each week.
He works seven days a week driving those infected with the virus, children, women, men and the elderly. And as he treats them you can just see the shame and the sorrow in their eyes.
There is a scene they show of a woman lying on the ground, her two-year-old girl standing next to her with big brown eyes. When the ambulance comes the mother tries to stand and almost falls over from weakness as she slowly walks away her daughter breaks out in tears, her mother is leaving and it is likely that she will never see her again.
There’s another scene of a 17-year-old getting turned away from help because all of the treatment centers are stretched to capacity. She gets carried out of the ambulance and dies the next day.
It hit me hard, because I have lived in Africa for a good six months of my life. And those images don’t look like random faces, they look a lot like my friends. I feel an overwhelming compassion for those suffering from Ebola and wanted to say something but I just didn’t know how to say it.
I’m not scared of Ebola. What scares me is that as a society, we are more concerned about our .00000000152% of getting the disease than we are with those who are dying from it.
And to me that should be a bigger concern, as a society it seems like we are so quick to distance ourselves from a problem than to try and help. Our focus just seems so inward, concerned more about getting a disease that we have about a zero chance of getting than praying for those who are losing mothers, brothers, fathers, children and sisters from the disease. We seem to only be looking at ourselves.
It got me thinking about myself and how I react to problems that are happening to those around me, am I quick to help or quick to distance myself? I pray I am the former.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think measures and precautions NEED to be taken to make sure the disease doesn’t cause more havoc than it already has. But maybe that focus should be more about those who are actually affected by the disease rather than ourselves.
So today I am praying for those in West Africa, for those who have been struck with the disease and for families who have lost loved ones.
What are your thoughts on Ebola?