Fabius and the Ebola Crisis

3 years ago, I was given the opportunity to teach in Liberia.  During that time, I became very close to Elizabeth Doegar and her children: Fabius, who is now 12, and Christian and Cornelia who are both 15.  

The Ebola crisis is causing a great deal of turmoil in Liberia.  The media reports on how many people die of Ebola but it doesn't talk about the social consequences of the disease, and how it affects everyone, especially Elizabeth and her children.  Because borders have closed, much of the imported food, especially rice, is becoming scarcer and scarcer.  The prices of even domestic food, of basic supplies like soap and mosquito coils, are all increasing rapidly.  The local Fante tribe, who did all of the fishing in the area and sold an important local source of protein -dried boney, went back to Ghana weeks ago.Travelling has become fraught with peril as desperate people take to robbing others of their goods.  I would like to make sure of 2 things:  1.  That Elizabeth has to travel away from her home as little as possible and 2.  That the family has enough to eat, and enough supplies to keep them safe from the other scourges common to West Africa, e.g. malaria and typhoid.   I would like it even more for them to be able to travel to one of the refugee camps established in Ghana  (Ghana is one of Africa's success stories and has provided much needed assistance through the years to all of West Africa).  A one way ticked to Ghana was around $450 US about 3 weeks ago.  Since then, almost all foreign commercial flights have been halted.  The only flights left go to Ghana 3 times a week, and the price of a ticket has increased to $1500 US-  that's for a two hour flight from Monrovia, Liberia to Accra, Ghana.

As I said, I want to make sure Elizabeth, Fabius, Christian and Cornelia stay safe even if they can't leave.  I love all of them.
I am a big fan of Fabius, in particular.  He is an exceptionally bright, creative and resourceful kid - so bright he skipped two grades in school.  Even though he was many years younger than many of the students in his grade, he was seen as a leader, both by the students and his teachers.  One of my favorite stories about him was when he decided that the community well had become dirty and too overgrown with plants.  He organized some local boys to help him clean the area, chopping down plants with a machete and sweeping the cement pad the pump was on.  After he was done, he went around the community demanding that each household pay him 10 liberian dollars (about 7 cents US) so that he and the boys were paid for their efforts.  He put a lock on the pump and kept the key.  If anyone didn't pay, they didn't get the key.  He was 9 when he did this and people in the community happily respected his wishes.    

Eventually, I would love for him to be able to come to school in the states, but for the time being and until I have the resources, I just want to keep him and his family safe.


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Jon Slager 
Boston, MA