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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Disclaimers....

We are just people who happened to be in the epicenter of the most recent Ebola outbreak, and this is just a blog. This is not an official news source, this is not a scientific record, this is not the policy voice of WHM. Today we’ve received numerous calls because the country’s paper the New Vision took quotes from this blog and printed them (even on the scale of our bizarre life this week, washing up dishes from breakfast and getting a call from the President is a bit unexpected) . . . Leaving us with a dilemma. If we screen every word to make sure it is politically and theologically correct, then we are safer, but we’ll hold back. If we don’t, we are more genuine, but we may say the wrong thing. For now I would like to continue as we have been. We are here to serve the sick, to step into whatever gaps we can to assist the national and international responders, and to be a voice of witness to our friends and family to the suffering of Bundibugyo. Those three roles seem to be the path God has called us to. For instance, we try to interpret culture to the foreigners, and we are available to Ugandans who want to use us to connect with NGO’s. Right now Scott is working on dismantling one of the mission phone antennas to see if he can improve the signal for Kikyo Health Center. Later we’ll go check on Jonah’s family, then to the briefings. Tomorrow he and Scott Will are planning to make a concerted effort to get patients back to Nyahuka Health Center for treatment of all the other myriad of non-Ebola life-threatening conditions that have always been abundant here. So we are stretched. If you read things that give you pause, then please give us grace. If we are told by our mission that we are overstepping our bounds, we’ll listen. This is not about us, it is about people whom we love and care for, and we only want to communicate what we are truly experiencing in a way that enables their story to be heard and your prayers to be informed. Sundays have been shown in previous outbreaks to be key times for social mobilization . . . Scott Will visited a handful of local churches this morning, while we focused on the crowd at Bundimulinga Presbyterian Church, trying to give facts and answer questions, inform prayers. There will continue to be interdenominational days of prayer and fasting on Wednesdays. After church we debriefed with the CDC representative who had also visited one of the largest congregations around, the Catholic church in Kanyanpunu. We all got similar questions. People are convinced that there is a combination of 17 herbs which local practitioners are selling, to use as enemas or as poultices rubbed into shallow razor-blade-cuts made in the skin, which will cure the disease. We are concerned that such a hope might encourage risky behaviour, and an herbalist using these methods could actually transmit the disease. So we try to answer respectfully and calmly but also to protect the fearful public from those that would use this crisis to enrich themselves. Thanks for listening, and for walking through this valley with the people here.

5 comments:

Jamee in Ohio said...

Do not stop giving your eye witness account! Many, many people are praying because they have heard your cry. Is it not possible that the "low" fatality rate is in response to these prayers?

Craig and Lisa said...

We at Trinity continue to lift you up in prayer. Disclaimers not necessary. You have the faith, courage, and love of your Savior to stay in this place with His poorest and most neglected children. Let the rest of us have the grace not too parse your words of fact, faith and angst too finely, lest we sin in judgment. We love you guys, and have only the highest regard for your work. Keep blogging! We hang on every word for facts and encouragement. Craig and Lisa Wood

kitara said...

please please do not stop posting... your eye witness accounts are very important to those of us who follow such outbreaks. it is rare to get anything other than what a govt allows or writes themselves. thank you for all that you do for us and for those in uganda and please stay safe and well.

Katharine said...

Thank you for your honesty, for wearing your hearts where we can see them, and can intensify our prayers because we can feel your grief and your desire to cling to our savior in the midst of horrifying circumstances. Thank you for letting us share some part of your burden. Bless you for your ministry to Jonah's family, who would otherwise have been even more alone.

Mark said...

Dear Scott and Jennifer,

Just learned that you are at the epicenter of Ebola. We are moved by the martyrdom of your friend and colleague. We are deeply concerned for you and hold you in our prayers.

While we are all mortal and have but a brief time of life in this world, we pray for your lives, your safety, and for the end of the epidemic.

Blessings
Mark and Linda Jacobson
Arusha, Tanzania