Ebola – Africa Is Not a Country

“…If your [bottom] has been in Africa in let’s say the past 6 months, DO NOT COME TO THE US. Keep your stupid “I’m helping the World” self over there. We don’t need your [stuff]. If you think you need to go overseas to help others, you’ve got your head lodged so far up… Stay here and help AMERICANS…”

After seeing this post which was liked by many of my friends, I was livid even though it wasn’t directed at me. The ignorance is appalling. Africa is not a country, it is a continent made up of countries. Like Europe. Would you cancel a vacation to Italy because of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict? Neither would I. Thus why I came to Cameroon despite unrest in the continent. Sure there have been concerns close to home in Bamenda such as Boko Haram. However, if I was on U.S. soil which I will be by the end of the month Lord-willing, I will refrain from traveling to Ferguson, Missouri. There is no place on earth safe from struggle, suffering or dissension. To live under the impression you are safe from harm in any one place is merely an illusion that helps you sleep at night.

When Ebola hit the news recently there was pandemonium among Cameroonians. They were afraid to eat anything, shake hands, breath near a stranger, etc. Knowing little about the disease I referred to the CDC website for prevention measures:

  • Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids (such as clothes, bedding, needles, and medical equipment).
  • Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola. (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/index.html)

From these few points I felt safe. I practice good hygiene and I do not handle blood. Simple really. Being blessed with resources to have this basic information I shared with others so they could relax as well. By the grace of God, Ebola has not entered Cameroon. What is interesting is I am a quick 1,883 mile drive to Ebola where Page County Iowa residents are about 80 miles to Nebraska Medical Center where Ebola cases have been treated. I am proud a facility so close to home was technologically prepared and capable to handle such a disease.  The Midwest never ceases to make me proud.

From: Monrovia, Liberia To: Bamenda, Cameroon

Nearest major city with Ebola, Monrovia, Liberia to Bamenda Cameroon – 1,883 Miles

From: Omaha, NE, USA To: Clarinda, IA, USA

Omaha, NE to Clarinda, IA – 80.1 Miles

The opening comment used to represent my own uninformed beliefs about the world. Even two years ago I might have said something like that. I do not expect everyone to support my choice to come to Cameroon for 10 months nor do I think I am special because I did so. Same Bethann, different continent. I will not get into the missions debate. Overseas missions is not for everyone. Frankly, I am ready to come home. BUT planet Earth is a sphere meaning the connection to other humans is infinite. Humans were created to glorify God. We were all created in God’s image. Technology affords us to travel with ease. So why do I have to sit at home and only help those around me when I can easily help someone on the other side of the globe? What is the difference between 15 minutes in a car or 15 hours on a plane? People are people. We all need food, water, oxygen and most of all, humans are desperately religious. We all seek fulfillment in some way. I believe Christ is the answer and I have cousins in Cameroon. God provided for me to travel here. When I am home, I do the same!

For Christians, missions is a requirement. It is required we not keep our hope, our faith, our joy in Christ a secret. When you fall in love it is nearly impossible to contain your giddiness. Why should it be different for the One who will love us for eternity?! My life has changed. The cause and means of change is Christ and life is worth living now. I want everyone who hurts, struggles to see the purpose of it all and desires to know their heartbeat was not by chance to understand what I understand. I do not care what continent I do that on because there is only one Heaven and one Hell. They remain despite anyone’s belief. I choose life. I choose people. I choose Christ.

For you with so many assertions, opinions and stances of your own – choose what you choose for yourself. But remember, someday you may be on the need side of missions. I hope you choose to live in such a way that someone would choose to help you even if it wasn’t convenient. God sent his Son to die for your sins knowing you may or may not accept him. It wasn’t convenient but he loved you so much he did it anyway. Because I am thankful He did it for me, I will try to do the same no matter where I go.


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