| Dec 17, 2015
So . . . Why is Ebola Still Important?
2 Liberian Orgs. Receiving Seeds You Helped Send
I looked up Ebola on Google Trends today -- the 2015 graph of interest in this topic looks like a ski slope. This project, which you so generously supported, is about as un-trendy as possible.
Yet, to us, in weekly contact with people in Liberia, Ebola still, today, couldn't be more timely. I thought this email from one of our partner organizations, Church Aid Liberia, was very well-stated. The message comes from Chairman Kortu Brown, a Reverend and also interim leader of the Liberian Council of Churches, so it starts with his usual devout greeting:
"Greetings in Jesus name! It is quite awhile now since we heard of a new Ebola case in Liberia. Much efforts have been put into fighting the virus and compelling it into submission.
But it doesn't mean its effect - and possible resurgence - has been eradicated. It is estimated that the disease killed more than 11,000 people and affected more than 28,000 persons in the three worst affected countries i.e. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. There are more than 25,000 Ebola orphans in the three countries. Recent reports suggest the
possibility of "reactivated" Ebola cases. This is scary because we initially believe that once you made it through the 21-day incubation period, you were freed.
And many survivors live in trauma - and anxiety. Their physical and spiritual health are challenged. They are further challenged by the lack of basic sustenance."
Reverend Brown goes on to explain that his organization has just completed a 40-page counseling guide for community care workers. In a country like Liberia, professional psychiatric care is scarce or absent -- community members take on this task themselves.
All of this is why our project, which provides seeds, tools, and training for women and men to engage in vegetable gardening, is so important. First of all, it provides sustenance and livelihood for those who are suffering from lost income as households shrunk, neighbors took orphaned children under roof, and food prices remain high due to the lingering effects of short harvests from growing seasons in the past year -- people were (rightfully) afraid to gather to plant, tend, and harvest crops. Second: if you've ever grown a garden, you understand that there is a healing power in working the land -- which is exactly what Liberian families need now.
Finally, there are just two weeks remaining in GlobalGiving's matching program for this project. Gifts will be matched 100% -- that's doubled, by funds in hand from multiple sources including the foundation of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
In summary: the project as described is still very relevant, and still needs support. Please tell your friends, family, and colleagues, using the share links on our project page. I thank you for your past support of this important work, which continues even as Ebola fades from the headlines.
A Raised Nursery Bed with Vegetable Seedlings.