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Friday, August 1, 2014

My Heart Breaks: Ebola

A few months ago I read BBC, like I do almost everyday, and continued on my way.  I read an article about the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.  It caught my eye because Sierra Leone is next to a country of my heart, Liberia.  This blog was created long after my trip there, so don't go searching the archives for best tips of visiting a third world country.  {Although there are many things to think about}  The reason I passed over the article, and the reason I didn't see it's impact, is because I know there is no cure to a virus.  Viruses are adaptable, they change, they morph.  I know this from my time in biology and human anatomy and physiology.  I also know how ill equipped this part of the world is for disease.  Diseases that run rampant there, are little known words to us in more "developed countries" {And what developed does or doesn't mean is a whole other topic}.

What I didn't realize is that this virus would become a part of my world and a part of my every waking moment thoughts.  If you don't know what I'm talking about I suggest you read this article about the actual disease/virus.* 

ELWA, one of the places where Ebola patients are being treated.  
There are rumored reports that the rest of the ELWA hospital has shut down.
Personal photo. Please do not use this photo without permission

Before you get to freaked out, take a deep breath and remember what kind of society you live in.  When you get sick, what do you do?  You stay home, you go to the doctor, you talk to all of your friends, and you agonize over all of the possibilities it could be.  Consequently, you would be treated immediately which includes being quarantined.

Getting this virus is not hard, but but it's not like other viruses that are airborne {Please, don't freak out!  Remember you live in a developed country where we have routine vaccines for many of them.}  Ebola is transferred through human fluids (blood, saliva, human waste), but that also means that it can be transferred by sweaty palms.  In a world where washing your hands is not a basic hygene function this is a problem.  In a country that is near the equator, and thus people sweat all the time, this is a problem.  In a country where relationships are the core of life, this is a problem.  It is tearing this Liberia apart.

My hope is not that you would obsess and become anxious over this, but rather that you would Pray.  
Pray hard.

Liberia has a culture that is deeply rooted in tradition.  It is weary of the government and outside forces.  It is much more comfortable with the witch doctors and home remedies.  There are reports of medical aid workers being met with resistance and protestors.  This is how this people feels it can protect itself.  This is their defense mechanism.  Unfortunately, their unbelief is allowing the disease to infect and spread.  There are two wars going on; one against Ebola and one against information education that counters the culture.

I read the articles and search for the news that brings any announcement from West Africa.  But the news can't tell me about the people I care about.  It can't tell me where Precious is, and whether she is alive.  It can't tell me if Elizabeth knew what was happening when she was hit with the virus.  The news doesn't know whether Jessie tried to run lab tests on his own blood to figure out the disease that was ravaging his body.  The news can't tell me any of the the things I desperately want to know.  
So I pray.  

I pray for those fighting disease, those watching others fight it, for health workers.  I pray for protection on the children whose faces I've seen and the people that have been caring for them, teachers, parents, aid workers.  
Above all I hope.  

*Disclaimer:  This is an overview of the disease, not a medical professional or medical journal.  
*All of the names included are of national Liberian healthcare workers I had the privilege of knowing.  Elizabeth and Jesse have passed away, Precious has contracted the virus and her whereabouts are unknown. There are a few additional people that work with orphaned or poverty level children that are currently at risk. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Talking {Coffee} Shop

We all know my love of coffee shops.  Here is a few things happening in and around the coffee shop before I head of to work...

Hearing Conversations About:
The free cup of coffee when buying  a bag of beans and the amount of people who don't redeem it
An older woman who doesn't have her usual seat, "It's such a busy morning..."
A group from the company down the street on the different type of men's v-neck t-shirts
"I don't remember what I did last week, soccer?  Yes, it was soccer non-stop..."
Camp Galileo and the cool {overwhelmingly so} science projects
Cranberry scones and "Are you allergic to almonds?"
House blend, they have to brew a new pot
Laughs
Pinching children's cheeks, they are just so dang adorable!
Business deals
Weekend plans

Seeing:
Empty cups
Red walls
Breakfast scattered tables
Business clothes
Casual clothes
Bright bags
Pouring liquids
Computers
Specially brewed coffee
Brown coffee bags


It is a busy day!  Happy Friday!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fire Burning

photo credit Jenni Bergeron
 
I want you to burn my bridges down//Set me on fire
-One Republic
Feeling like I need a jumpstart these days.  I am waiting, but for what?  I am stockpiling in anticipation, but for what?  I’m praying that my bridges of fear and failing get burned down.  Maybe those bridges can also include the brain blocks, lack of motivation, and busy lifestyle?  One can hope! 
As I did my work today I was searching for beauty.  I was looking for a way to release some creativity.  I don’t know what that creativity looks like right now, but I’m waiting.
Looking for the fire that will set things in motion… {like my large amount of blog posts in draft form}

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Challenges of Growing

Potted vintage tea tins.
 
I planted a few things a few weeks ago.  I was preparing to do an Instagram post and get all artsy.  There was all this prep for real life.  It was slightly absurd.  And I decided to just dig in.  Literally.  I decided that it was ok to be messy.  My fingernails had dirt under them for days.  I washed them many times, to the point of needing lotion after every wash.  Frankly, an unnatural thing for me. 
I dug in, to the messy side of life.  Once I made the decision I was gleeful.  It was exhilarating.  I dug and planted, patted, and watered with abandon.
Some of the seeds will come up.  They are finally coming up.  It’s just 2, but it’s a blessing.  I am so thankful for the rain, so I wouldn’t forget to water these fragile biological lives.  But some of the seeds won’t come up.  They were doomed from the beginning.  They were never going to be, no matter how carefully handled.
See, there are two things I take away from this.  There will be dreams, no matter how big {these are bulbs we’re talking about} that are not going to happen.  They were an idea, which was not firmly rooted.  They were doomed from the beginning.  But that does not mean that they never should have been planted, nurtured, and hoped for.  Most of all hoped for.
The same goes for the messy side of life.  There are arguments that we can dig for just the right information, argument, rebuttal.  But the thing is, were not going to win it.  Not that battle.  And that is ok.  We can not win them all.  We can not always be right, we can not always have beautiful flowers without the dirt beneath our finger nails.  For if we did not enter into the messy, we would not fully understand the challenge of growing.
I hope for those seedlings and bulbs to grow.  I want to see the dirt give way to beautiful life.  I want the reminder that beautiful things come out of the messy, hard, challenges.
The challenges are what make life a beautiful adventure.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Worlds Collide

Globes
 
 
I love seeing people become friends and connect.  I love the stories of how people met, or know each other.  One of my best friends and I love to tell the story of our first meeting.  We even fight about it and cut in on each other like an old married couple.  It’s great fun!
Lately I’ve found my connections are varied, wide, and cross over.   Part of it, but not all of it, is the fact that I grew up and lived in the same neighborhood for my whole life.  And I don’t live in a small town.
I should also note that I went to public school, but not my neighborhood {two blocks out my front door} high school.  This means my circles were broadened.  I also went to a big university, ok moderately big, but lots of room for meeting people.
Last week, I went to a meeting of college and post college people, and my worlds collided in one room.  There were people from my high school, people that I knew when they were 7, and people I met last weekend.  There were people I’ve known for most of my life, people I’ve known for a few months and people I’ve known for a few weeks.  And it was crazy because some of them knew each other.   Even last night I got asked by a friend that was there that night, ‘How do you know so-and-so?’
The reasons we know each other are crazy.  It can by choice or circumstance.  It can grow or can trickle off.  It takes work to keep up contact, yet sometimes people collide.  And when we collide we cross over, above, and underneath each other.  We create a web.  We become intertwined.  Our stories although our own, become a part of another’s through connection and relationship.
Even when you know no one in a place, there is a connection.  Someone you know, knows someone or something about that place.  Somewhere there is a connection.  And believe me you can find it.  But it takes listening, it takes sharing, and sometimes it takes lots of questions over a long period of time.  I promise you, you have connection.  We were meant to build relationships and relationships {most of them} are built out of connections.  Isn’t it crazy wonderful how they shape our stories!
How are your worlds colliding?  How do you know so-and-so?  Was yours a chance meeting or a deliberate collision?  What’s your craziest world collision story?