I have accepted a position with the International Rescue Committee and will be living in Freetown, Sierra Leone for the next six months. I will be providing administrative assistance and support to the Ebola Isolation Unit program. For updates on this next journey, follow me at my new blog.
This video has just emerged from Guinea and I couldn’t imagine a better way to show the happiness and energy that radiates from Conakry. Life continues!
Ebola can’t stop the dancing.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written. I’ll confess that I haven’t felt inspired. I’m working, spending time with family and friends, enjoying the comforts and freedom that America offers. I’m also really cold.
Like EXTREMELY cold.
But life continues as usual — albeit swaddled in wool sweaters and covered up with glittens. Time continues to march onward and upward, the days are getting shorter and the nights are growing longer and colder.
Ebola’s still out there. As surreal as that statement is for me to make, it’s true. 5,000+ lives have been claimed in West Africa. There’s an alarming decline in U.S. healthcare volunteers signing up to help — likely due to the forced 21-day quarantine that has been placed on some of the heroic people who have given up 6-8 weeks of their paycheck and life to help end an outbreak that is leaving destruction in it’s wake. Fear is a contagion, spiraling out of control across the globe. I lay in bed at night, stare up at my ceiling and quietly ask the universe “why?” and “what can we do to stop this?”
The fire is not out. The fight has not yet been won. We must press forward to end this outbreak at the source. We are all at stake. Outbreaks do not stop at borders.
As I’ve written before, I’m working with the National Peace Corps Association’s Ebola Relief Fund to get money to those fighting Ebola in their home country. Last week we awarded over $20,000 in funding to 7 different NGO’s in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. As they implement and complete their projects they will be sending back evaluation, testimonies, photos, and videos — all of which I will be sure to share with you. We will be awarding a second round of funding in December 2014.
Check out the seven organizations we’ve selected for our first round:
GUINEAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE INCORPORATION OF WOMEN IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS & GOVERNANCE (AGUIFPEG) — KINDIA, GUINEA
AGUIFPEG is mounting a community awareness campaign in an area where an estimated 75 percent of the population is not literate. The project was awarded $3,000 to educate on Ebola prevention through a theatrical presentation in 4 indigenous languages. Participants will be encouraged to pass on the health information through conversations in their families, bar-cafes, restaurants, markets, fields, mosques, churches and other public places.
AMIS DU MONDE POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT (AMD) — SAMOÉ, GUINEA
AMD was awarded $2,839 to create awareness of Ebola prevention practices. Team members will establish an information and intervention system using community leaders to encourage healthier personal hygiene and food preparation.
ASSOCIATION GUINEENNE D’EVEIL AU DEVELOPPEMENT DURABLE (AGEDD) — FORECARIAH, GUINEA
AGEDD was awarded $3,000 to conduct sensitizations for teachers in primary schools and the association of parents of Forecariah and Maferinyah in Guinea. Teachers and parent volunteers will be trained to educate their communities while distributing prevention materials (leaflets, soap, chlorine, buckets, kettles).
WOMEN’S CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL (WCI) LIBERIAN RURAL WOMEN’S PROGRAM — LIBERIA
The campaign draws on its existing network of local women leaders to form community action committees at the town and clan level in areas affected by Ebola. Communities have fed quarantined families, paid burial teams to remove bodies and distributed prevention information and materials in a dozen communities. NPCA’s award of $3,000 will allow WCI to expand activities to ten more rural communities.
FACE ACTION AFRICA — RIVERCESS COUNTY, LIBERIA
With the $3,000 grant from NPCA, FAA will provide administrative and logistical support to the Rivercess County Health Team, train contact tracers, facilitate the setting up and management of community care centers and the procurement of personal protective equipment for health workers.
ACTION SALONE ON HEALTH & EDUCATION (ASHE) — EASTERN SIERRA LEONE
ASHE was awarded $3,000 to support the work of Sister Josephine Karmara and a community of nuns in Kailahun in ongoing care of children whose parents died of Ebola. Goals are to provide physical and emotional security to the children, feed and care for them in a home-like environment.
SCHOOLS FOR SALONE — SIERRA LEONE
Schools for Salone was awarded $3,000 to help fill the education gap caused by school closing due to the Ebola epidemic. The project will distribute radios to impoverished communities to allow them access to Ministry of Health daily broadcasts specifically targeting primary school students for three hours in the morning and secondary school students in the afternoon.
Thanks to all donors who have gotten involved. We are committed to sending 100% of your donations to reputable, community-based NGO’s in the affected countries who are working against directly related Ebola issues. As we continue to receive applications from NGO’s, we continue our fundraising efforts stateside. Consider getting involved today to help us fund even more organizations and end Ebola NOW!