Saturday, 10 October 2015

Washing ebola out of Liberia

Naomi's younger brother, Surprise, came to visit us at the office a couple of weeks ago. Surprise was one of the young children I used to come across every evening coming back from work at WFP when I was living in the place that is now the Carter Centre. He's now a young man studying at AME via a scholarship. He explained he is studying a social science because that is the only course that could be funded by a scholarshipHe is actually interested in computers. 

He had surgery done to remove some kind of a mass last year at the MSF hospital but is still suffering from pains. I helped him with some money so he could go to JFK.

He was back again with an Uncle and wanted to get about USD $ 20.00 to go for another X-ray. I became very hesitant and tried to explain to the Uncle our experiences with Naomi's family before where we had ended up spending more than USD $ 20,000 on her treatment without any support or even genuine gratitude from her family. We really were surprised that the family was depending on us for such a small amount and would we be asked for money at every stage? At this point, Haresh stepped into the conversation to say we would help this time but would like the family to help this young boy.

Later in the week, our house keeper Christiana had to take a day off to take her infant to JFK for malaria treatment. The baby is named in Haresh's honour. It cost her about USD $ 25.00 for the treatment. 

JFK is nicknamed Just For Killing. Apparently a doctor will not see you unless you don't spend money.  

USD $ 20.00 is a lot of money for an average Liberian where the official minimum monthly salary is supposed to be USD $ 75.00.  Where are you supposed to find USD $ 20.00? 

At our company, we subsidise our staff's medical treatments once they provide official receipts. By doing so, we hope we make it easier for our staff to earn a living and carve a career for themselves. 

I was ranting about it to our driver, Tommy Greene "But where are you supposed to go if you don't have USD $ 20.00?" He said, "You die." 

I often wonder where the qatrillion dollars of ebola money went.

During this week's Monday Mama Susu's, I noticed a group photo on the wall with the caption "Washing ebola out of Liberia." Maybe the qatrillion dollars was used on teaching Liberians to wash their hands. 

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