One of my good friends at site is named Douga. This is his nickname, which comes from his preferred name “Michael Douglass”. Yes, the American actor. I was put into contact with Douga from former PCVs who lived at my site. He’s a young guy, insanely funny, and very smart. He was trained in electrical repairs by a Chinese expat. He speaks multiple languages, draws, and is interested in philosophy.
On a day without any meetings, I would bike down to the phone charging center he worked at and hang out with him and our other friends all day, laughing the hours away and discussing life and politics in Guinea.
Before I left I gave Douga all my stockpiled chocolate. He’s really into Hershey’s. It was only one week home in America until I received a call from him – “Uh, Sara? I ate all the chocolate. When are you going to be back with more?”
Unfortunately, Douga has had to wait on that.
We talk regularly on Facebook. He travels between our village and the capitol frequently, looking for phones and computers to repair for money. As such, he’s got a pretty good hold on what’s going on with the Ebola outbreak. Although our conversations generally center around “How’s the family?” and “Man, I miss you!” I always try and get the on-the-ground perspective from Douga. Today, I was saddened by what he said.
“The city is dirty, the people have no work, there is no money, the health infrastructure is weak, the government has no money, all of this now leads to possible famine.”
He mentioned how happy he was to hear about the 3,000 U.S. troops being sent to West Africa. Unfortunately these troops will be directed to Liberia. Douga hadn’t realized that.
“All the troops are for Liberia? Then that’s another thing. We are screwed, my dear, because Ebola is not forgiving.
You know how it is here. The available time is small, life is short, laziness is vast, and Ebola separates us.
Tell Obama that we, too, want to live very much.”