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Monday, December 03, 2007

Explaining Ebola

This afternoon seven of the eight boys who are my kids’ close friends hung out playing cards.  I tried to explain ebola, most of these boys are CSB students whom we sponsor.  They asked good questions, but one got me thinking:  Is this disease only in Africa, or is it in other parts of the world?  I felt disloyal, or sad, to admit that all the major outbreaks had occurred relatively close (on a global scale) to where we now sit, in eastern Congo, southern Sudan, northern Uganda.  Almost the only time the filovirus has been found elsewhere was when it was inadvertently transported out in monkeys from Uganda.  I could see the world-wide image of Africa, the continent of disease, being reinforced once again.  And it is not just a matter of how uninformed or prejudiced westerners view Africa, the assumptions are so powerful they trickle down into the minds of these boys.  It seems unfair that Bundibugyo only gets the five minutes of world attention because of yet another disease.


Larissa said...

While that may be true on a world level, for the 100 or so of my family, friends and acquaintances the only thing they know about Uganda is Bundibugyo and they know it for it's beauty, kind, generous people, and the creative, hard working, fun loving students at CSB. People are inspired by stories from Bundibugyo everyday. Maybe I should tell BBC about this.

Celt said...

The book "The Hot Zone" describes an outbreak of Marburg in Marburg, Germany during WWII. Workers at a rubber plant contracted the disease from rubber imported from Africa. Perhaps the boys could understand that Ebola and it's virus ilk aren't limited when it comes to people it will infect.
Also, the cold winters in the West and North wipe out lots of potential disease-carriers.