Logbook Liberia, 3

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Logbook Liberia, 3
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The African Missions celebrate today the 160th anniversary of its foundation. Our wish was to celebrate this event in Freetown (Sierra Leone), a highly symbolic place for us, where our founder died. Hardly landed, he gave his life for the African world. But unfortunately our flight is scheduled for 9th December, and we will celebrate this anniversary in Freetown on Sunday 11th.

 

Monday 5th was a big day in testimonies. We went to St Joseph’s Hospital to meet with Sister Helena, a survivor of the Ebola epidemic. This hospital was had suffered, the doctors and the nurses who welcomed the first patients died also as victims of this disease. Sister Helena, a Liberian, returned to the country after 7 years for her vows. The epidemy had already broken out. When she got off the plane, she could not even hug her family members whom she had not seen for seven long years. In this hospital, she was contaminated by the virus as she was helping the brother incharge of the hospital. She was seperated again and imminent death threatened her. Many contradictory thoughts clashed in her mind before the acceptance of dying by serving her brothers and sisters gave courage to her. There was a great emotion in her voice when she spoke of these moments and the way people were carried away by the disease. She shared her experience with emotional simplicity.

We also met Sister Barbara, who is in charge of the health program to fight this epidemic. The epidemic passed, the old reflexes return and the protection is relaxed. Of the passage of Ébola, there are nevertheless some reflexes, that of the taking of temperature and the washing of the hands with chlorine water etc. At Fr. Garry’s parish, the children staying in the mission, all go through the temperature checkup before going to school. A police checkpost on the road from Sierra Leone to Liberia imposes hands washing and temperature control. These gestures prevented not only Ebola virus but have greatly reduced the cholera epidemic which was very present in this country.

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Yesterday, we walked along in one of the markets of the capital (Monrovia), this one has the particularity to spread over almost two kilometers along the road side. Lots of colors and noises. The thunderous sounds succeed one another, leaving not a moment of rest in our ears. You can find everything on this market, many small street vendors, some have only three brooms for sale. Most stalls are in fact wheelbarrows, very handy to move its goods, while offering it to the passers by.

We are already on the eve of our departure for Sierra Leone, but we leave to return back again on 15th December. We will rejoin Liberia, this time by land, by reaching Foya where we will be receiced by Fr. Eric Aka, who Has worked hard with the population affected by the Ebola virus.

On December 8, in Lyon, it is the festival of lights, in Monrovia there is little light, Liberia gets electricity from the Ivory Coast. Signals at the crossroads is powered directly by solar panels as well as lighting of a long avenue, each pole has its own solar panel, LED lighting is very low. It is six in the morning, the generator just stopped, I will continue my message to the torch light.

Happy feast of SMA to all …

Gerard and Guvvala

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