A French monarch, Louis XIV once remarked, ?First feelings are always the most natural? (loux xiv). Friends and my own conviction to jump at the rare opportunity to serve humanity to our utmost best by joining the Ebola team at firsthand call-up without equivocation shows truly we are tough in our game. Clouded by the ?first feelings ?of saving lives, no matter the colur,creed, race, or nationality and in line with the ethos of my profession, it was ?most natural? not to be hesitant! .There is a maxim that goes, to be willing is to be able.
I still feel happy waking- up to the realization that I am part of a combat, young and zealous 42 Ghanaian health contingent serving nobly in the Ebola-stricken countries, shoring up the Red,Yellow,Green and the Black Star of the 25 million Ghanaians hand of solidarity to their sister nations in their time of need. Though the stakes are very high, the elation is immeasurable, and even more is the blessing from above.
To break the long silence of how team Liberia is faring, I have always thought of entreating Ghanaians to my usual blog about the happenings, ever since we touched down, but my indisposition and tiring ad infintum schedules sap me of the little energy to compose my thoughts on the everyday goings-on here. Need not worry! I have just started from the little every- other- week agglomeration of my memoirs and wish all my writings will allay the gnashing, panicking and fears of our loved ones back home and all concern Ghanaians.
Liberia is a beautiful country, the people very receptive and friendly and willing to know who a stranger is, where he/she is coming from and what his/her mission is .And for those who have the insatiability for women? Liberia women are stunningly superb, hei! But Stop there! Remember this is Ebola era oh.
Temperatures in Liberia are relatively lower than in Ghana, triggered by the incessant 6months rainfall pattern that begin and end in May ? October respectfully, making it lucrative for agribusiness. Rice is also cultivated on a large scale, yet, foreign imported rice dominates the local market. Rice is their staple food no doubt about that, prepared in varied appetizing forms. Fish/meat is voraciously consumed in every meal with glee. Meat is cheaper because of the vast forestland for game, a probable cause of the Ebola Virus Disease.
I must commend Liberia for keeping their beaches neat. Bona beach, which is just a kilometer next to our apartment, but neglected, can still be compared to the Larbadis and the Bojos in Ghana. For Miami Beach in sinkor, no size! Completely spot-free with large canopies for shelter, even the neat clayey-sand drifted ashore could be given a bite. No wonder, name is worth it. Their neat beaches can serve as tourist sites for foreign exchange, but much priority has not been given in that direction.
I have just been informed by my editor that my anthropology in school was not half-baked at all, lets see whether my other analysis will hold true.
On the issue of the Ebola, many a Liberian belief Ebola was invented by the west as a trial biological weapon against their adversaries. I ask those strapped in that memory, then, why try it in an already poor volatile region like Liberia. Funny answers are what I get as feedback, with many of them not founded on grounded reasoning. . It is imperative to understand that Liberia was still nursing the fresh wounds of the post war when the anathema of Ebola also struck!
Ebola,with the outpouring of humanitarian support as a form of solidarity and the innumerable charity organizations doted across Monrovia premonit a robust economy to come; that is to say, if the leaders are up to the task and are true patriots ,as always the case in Africa.
Everything here is quit Americanized, from the copycat America English ?colloquial? to their yellow taxi cups, street naming, national flag and the dual currency usage with emphasis on the USD is evidential that Liberia is only inches away from America. As a Liberian friend rightly retorted ?Liberia is the 51st state of the United States. Their socio-economic and political systems have been designed to fit perfectly into the American system. And the geopolitical demarcation of the country into counties is also traceable to same
For most Liberians, the United States is their second home, travelling to the United States shows good fortune on your way, a clear new status in society. They hold more close ties with their colonial masters than Ghana to Britain.
The free competition between the Liberty and the USD has naturally emblazoned the DOLLAR as more legal tender against the former, which is the original indigenous currency. I am no economist to make this fundamental analysis, but financial economist will not begrudge me on this, anyway! I urge young entrepreneurs to study the business terrain in Liberia, Liberia should be the best destination for young entrepreneurs coming from Ghana since trading with the USD will give them a headstart.
The western media did a lot to bring International Charity Organizations and individual donors to the doorsteps of the Ebola afflicted countries through their excellent reportage; I must commend them for that, nevertheless, they paint a bleak picture all the time and refuse to share with the world how many Liberians haven?t seen Ebola before, even till this time, the refuse to share with the world the brisk businesses going ?on aside Ebola, the night clubs still opened to the youth and the friendly receptive nature of Liberians and maybe elsewhere. They refuse to tell the world the isolated cases amidst a broader population. The picture painted is perceived for example, ones you are travelling to Liberia from anywhere in the world, then you have just signed a suicide course, must that be the case?. At the end, Businesses have all buckled- up and the stigma of the indigenes of the afflicted countries is so high that no one wants to associate with
the name; Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, except of course, International Health Volunteers. This is the problem I have about the western media reportage. It is a reason why many Africans still revere the late Komla Dumor, one time ace BBC broadcaster on his focus on Africa perspective, whose sole objectives was to report African stories the way they were without concocting them or leaving anything behind.
Whilst is worth noting that the civil wars, internecine conflicts and the general unrest caused by that county?s resolve to practice western democracy amidst the aforementioned has backtracked development or stalled any form of development evident largely by population dissipation , massive uncompleted structures and a widening chasm between the Upper ,proletariat and lower classes. We Ghanaians are privileged to learn from hindsight many examples in Africa, including Liberia, to forestall any future bloodshed in the name of politicking or ethno- crazy mindedness.
Unlike in Ghana, where loadshedding for more than 24hrs in a locale may cause chagrin and sometimes physical abuse of ECG staff, especially this AFCON games. Lights out here in Liberia is met with absolute indifference; it?s a norm here to have lights out here for up to a week or two. The few well-to-do are able to buy generators for personal comfort at the expense of the majority poor whose hearts only bloom for noonday sunshine.
Back to team Liberia, team Liberia is accommodated in two fully furnished, not ?too-distant African union sanctioned apartments; TGH and the Chinese apartments. We have so far gone through three rigorous training, the first is the cold training, in this sense, it?s simulation, preparing you for the real job ahead– with the United States Army, focusing on the donning and doffing of the PPE(Personal Protective Equipment).The second was with W.H.O on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)and the last is the HOT training, HOT because ,you actually get to provide care on a real Ebola patient, but, under supervision—at the Ministry of Defence Ebola Treatment Unit.
Team Liberia now move freely in town; restock our groceries by the clock, reverently socialize with the community, wander as part of our intuitive community study and do other things we were hitherto limited by fear .And our hackneyed common aphorism I.P.C (earlier defined) always, as feverishly accentuated by our team leader– Professor Kabba .T. Joiner has always done the trick with regards to keeping the EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) at bay
They only uncertainty causing botheration now is the suppose study leave which is to cover 3 or 5 months tentative to our stay in the volunteer field, and the perplexing issue of contract extension. But reassuring and comforting were the summed words of Dr.Kaba Akoribayea (Head of Ebola Response Team in Ghana) who implored us to concentrate on our work and leave that to the Republic of Ghana.Your message was heartwarming, Dr Kaba, you are an epitome of all teams Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
On Contract extension. Volunteers from far and near believe strongly that immediate post Ebola phase is as dangerous as the August-September attrition. The contention that Ebola is over is far-fetched. There should be time to revive their infant health systems under the restorative phase, we need more time to learn from the expatriate west on new methods of Infection Prevention and Control, so we could replicate that in our respect countries. There should be more time also to sire our skills onto OR share vital ideas with our host, Doctors, nurses, lab scientists, Epidemiologist and Psychosocial Workers to help prop- up a blue print of health reforms par excellence. All this aforesaid can?t be accomplished by sunset, if a benefit analysis is done.
You see! The Ghanaian is never sated till you give him that of his kind. Occasionally, team Liberia make orders for typical Ghanaian dishes from a Ghanaian lady at West Point (fante town)- a suburbia in Monserrado county, at the heart of Monrovia, who entreats us to the thick, spotless, light yellow- looking ?Bono? fufu with goat peppery soup to ?kill? wo be we apontsi nam,anaa?? , the soft grainy Eve banku with palm nut soup to the taste, is not thrown to the yonder either, neither is it the Ga kome ni edo ni akewu abele ba me ke shito ni engoo missed .Making our tummies feel Ghana whilst away in another homeland. But, One thing I still miss is my Navrongo TZ, oh gosh!!!, mba di guli? Naa n ta? n jei?? You can?t take that away from me. For those who barely know me, I am now a polyglot.
Yes, talking about AFCON, Ghana indeed enjoys a lot of support here whenever we are playing. We thank Liberia for their unwavering support in our every match. Anyway, it?s a reciprocal gesture for our mission hither, I guess? Hahaha, that was in just. We only hope the One Goal Project ?Fame?morph into the ultimate crowning of the Black Stars as African champions after a 20years freeze. Thanks to the Black Star near- exit amazing maneuver that saw captain of the side Asamoah Gyan, struck in an injury time brace to give us a competitive edge.
So whilst we are giving-off our best to our sister nations in their time of need, lets together continue to pray that never again should this ravaging disease relive in any generation.
For the spirit of volunteerism indeed invokes honor, and like army combatants on the battlefield, we serve our nation nobly and we will do it whenever the need arises. Brace the odds and defy normal reasoning, my Daddy will always say.
I leave my readership with this quotation by Jos? Ortega Gasset (1883-1955) Spanish writer and philosopher, in his book, The Revolt of the masses (My favorite book on politics)?Whoever has not felt the danger of our times palpitating under his hand, has not really penetrated to the vitals of destiny, he has merely merely pricked its surface?
To teams Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, I say, Veni Vedi Vici (we have come, we have seen and together we have conquered)
Africa Union, Monrovia.