It didn't take long for the buzz of Ebola to fade from the front page of your newspaper. After the short lived "Ebola-scare" in the States life went back to normal for most Americans. As 2014 came to an end it seemed as if Ebola had disappeared off of the globe all together. The truth remains that despite progress Ebola is still prevalent in Liberia and still claiming lives in West Africa. We will continue to fight for the defenseless, the forgotten, and the marginalized. We have seen war, we have seen poverty, we have seen peace, and we have seen Ebola. We will fight until hope is restored.
In August of 2014, according to the World Health Organization, Liberia was seeing 300 new Ebola cases per week. Last week there were only eight and two days this month there were NO new cases. An initial slow response to the Ebola Virus in early 2014 left it plenty of time to build and move. The international response since the second half of 2014 has been tremendous and due to the fearless and courageous efforts of Liberians taking a stand and organizations who were already on the ground, Ebola will be eradicated once and for all in 2015!
2014 was a difficult year for us as we painfully had to end our partnership with the Liberian Christian Orphanage in Careysburg. It was a hard decision but one that ultimately gave the children an opportunity for an improved quality of life. The well-being of the children always comes first.
As we looked to regroup and find new avenues to serve, Ebola appeared seemingly out of nowhere with intent on death and destruction. As Ebola continued to build we focused 100% of our efforts on finding and implementing ways to end the deadly virus. Thanks to a resilient Liberian staff and selfless stateside donors we were able to hit the ground running with our End Ebola Awareness Campaign in Monrovia communities. Early on many Liberians refused to believe that Ebola was real instead believing in a government conspiracy just out for money and power. Government distrust in Liberia is deeply rooted and remained a challenging obstacle. With a 60.8% literacy rate educating Liberians door to door, face to face proved to be a great tool to not only explain what Ebola was and is but the dangers involved and how to protect yourself and your family. We also were able to provide many families and needy individuals with soap, chlorine, buckets, and other sanitizing supplies that they could not afford on their own. Constant washing of hands with chlorine (bleach) is a great way to kill the disease instantly. We also set up several hand washing stations around our office in Sinkor and surrounding areas.
Near the end of 2014 we partnered with an amazing organization, Equip 2 Serve. Their focus is training and equipping West African pastors to go out into their communities to reach the lost and change their communities and country for the better. Due to the Ebola outbreak food shortage became and underlying issue putting many Liberians on the brink of starvation. We partnered with Equip 2 Serve to not only provide our staffs and their families with rice but also providing rice to the less fortunate in around the Monrovia area. Led by Pastor Aaron Paul we have been able to feed families, widows, the disabled, and others. Aaron Paul takes the time to not only provide rice but speak into their lives through scripture and encouragement.
Despite a nightmare of a year in 2014 for Liberia and West Africa one thing remains constant, Liberians have always been resilient and no doubt will rise out of the ashes of Ebola with strength, courage, and hope. We are honored to work alongside an amazing staff on the ground in Liberia that have shown their commitment time and time again to their people. We also look forward to future endeavors with Equip 2 Serve.
We continue to evaluate and discuss how and what we will be doing post-Ebola. There are no doubt plenty of children and families who are forever changed because of it. Kids who have lost their parents, families who have lost loved ones, communities who have been torn apart. We want to serve wherever God leads us and places us and we are preparing for just that. We will NOT stop fighting until Ebola is completely eradicated once and for all! Thank you for every ounce of support, and every prayer you have sent our way in 2014 and we look forward to a renewed relationship with you in 2015!
If you would like to know more about CHAP and how you can serve alongside us in 2015 do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.