Haresh and I have been very stressed out. Despite all the warnings given by friends to not come back to Liberia, we were still confused about whether to just trust our gut instincts or to be extra careful. After all we have a business, obligations and our staff that cannot be abandoned. Also, we have been separated from each other for so long, too.
Our gut instincts tell us that foreigners are more safe than "locals." Not a single foreigner has died. The only foreigners who were affected were health workers who were in daily and direct contact with ebola victims.
Our gut instincts also told us that if we just adhered to daily precautions (limited movement, extra cleaning, limiting handshakes) we would be fine.
A couple of times, we decided to screw it and just head back to Liberia together. We extended some travel dates. We paid lots of money in ticket date changes.
We have been talking to friends over and over again and, everyone tells us that I should stay back with Kavita and Haresh should proceed. But this is still very stressful for me. Not only will I be separated from him again but Kavita will forget her Dad all over again. Also, I will still be worried about him.
Haresh's Pakistan visa expired on the 8th of August and we decided to come to Dubai to visit his sister for a week. He will proceed to Liberia while I will go back to Islamabad. The plan is for him to go there, assess the situation first hand and then we will take a call. I really hope he will say all is OK and, I can come back.
There is a part of me that feels like bit of a coward. Until now, I have usually dealt with situations in my life head on and, trusted my gut. If I feel safe, I am usually right. If I think I have read a situation correctly, I usually have.
One of the most critical decisions of my life was choosing to take over my ex-boyfriend's IT business and, not many people supported or understood it. I was going to stick around the same town where my boyfriend was murdered and, try to revive an ailing business which I almost knew nothing about. But I knew it was the right one for me. I was not scared and almost liberated by the idea of doing something so challenging. Trying to do something courageous has made me stronger and, I feel more confident and happy in plunging into new situations.
The reason I feel like a coward now is that I have staff and friends who are still in Liberia, my adopted home. They can't leave even if they wished to. My Liberian staff and friends are more at risk than I will ever be. There are much poorer folks with families comprised of children and old grandparents that are scared and probably much more defenseless than the average foreigner against this deadly disease.
Many of my expatriate friends have left Liberia. Most of them have jobs and, their organisations are actively evacuating their staff.
For those who own businesses, their only means of their daily bread and butter, leaving is not an option. Even for a limited time period. Moreover, the market and economy has been severely impacted by this ebola crisis. Poor infrastructure, small market, and limited pool of skilled talent are already hurdles to cross in Liberia but dealing with ebola is an entirely new and overwhelming proposition.
And, for Liberians, they simply cannot run away.
I am worried most about my staff and really hope they will stay safe. I also hope I can return to Liberia very quickly and show them my face. Our senior most staff just told us today that he is sick. We can only hope that he does not have ebola. I can't even imagine losing him, for his sake, for our company's sake.
My only consolation is that Haresh will there soon, take control of matters, and, hopefully he will look around and tell me that I can come back soon.