Letters from Liberia: An apple and shelter from torrential rain this evening… I have both tonight and almost four million people do not.
Monrovia, Liberia - An apple – and shelter from torrential rain this evening… I have both tonight and almost four million people do not. I spent this day with our COO David visiting five of our Foundation for Women Liberia partner schools – joy! My masters degree in education and counseling is a life-time ago; at one time I dreamed of being a principal of a school. And now, here I am in Liberia standing up for the poorest of the poor, committed to help share the voices of those who are not heard. And helping low-fee independent school operators like those I visited today!
Thanksgiving Day in Monrovia, Liberia - Today is Thanksgiving Day in Liberia, the first Monday of November instead of the last Monday as we celebrate in America. Liberia has incorporated so much of America into their governmental structure and way of life – they truly do think they are the 51st state! I wish we all viewed Liberia and its dear people that way!
Monrovia, Liberia - I have been home in my loved Liberia for more than two weeks now. This is my tenth year of being in service to the country and people of Liberia. I feel so blessed. My life is so enriched by what comes back to me here. It is selfish service; so much love comes to me here, so much more than I as one person, FFW as one organization, can give.
And I must say that my experience this time after perhaps 20 visits to this country is unique. There is DESPERATION in capital letters everywhere, beyond what I have ever experienced.
Ebola is over everyone prays, but where is the promised help for the survivors? Who will take care of the 2000+ orphans?
Monrovia, Home in Liberia Post-Ebola - It has taken me more than six months to return since my first trip after Ebola last March. I collected stories from treasured friends and produced the documentary ONLY LOVE, giving Liberians an opportunity to share their voices and their stories regarding the unprecedented Ebola crisis. I was to be back in just a few months, hosting colleagues from the University of San Diego. But Ebola returned in July; the trip was cancelled.
New York City - I arrived at 2:30AM this morning after traveling from Kauai and San Diego. I checked into The New York Plaza Hotel, into a room on the 47th floor. I am here for the annual Women Moving Millions Summit. And once again I am in utter awe of the contrast between the lives of members of our global human family. The extraordinary splendor of this hotel vs the housing for the majority of people in Liberia. The bed with fine linen, the working shower and all possible amenities vs a simple mattress on a dirt floor in Liberia.
La Jolla, CA - For the second time, Liberia has been declared Ebola-free. May this be the end of this unprecedented crisis…
MONROVIA, Liberia – The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free for a second time on Thursday after the country hardest hit by the deadly virus saw a brief resurgence of cases not long after the first time it thought the disease was gone for good.
La Jolla, CA – It has been some time since I last posted to the blog which I began writing in Liberia in July 2014 as the Ebola crisis was escalating in West Africa. So much tragedy… so much suffering… so much fear…
I awoke this morning to an email from dear friend David in Liberia – Ma Frances passed yesterday Wednesday, August 13, 2015 at the age of 96. I have loved Ma Frances since the moment I met her nine years ago this summer in Los Angeles. She is love – and my role model – I want to be just like her.
La Jolla - I was to be in Liberia today for this very special day. One year ago today, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency due to Ebola, August 8, 2014. I was the last person to leave the Kendeja Hotel in Monrovia that day – leaving abruptly, having options when so many around me had none, leaving all my belongings behind – certain I would be back shortly… doorman Michael asked me to pray that they would all be alive when I came back… tremendous fear…
Last week was the first time the three most affected West African nations recorded no new cases of Ebola since the unprecedented crisis began in March 2014. According to the World Health Organization, there have been more than 11,000 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. There is no assurance that the disease is complete. Liberia had been declared free of the disease in May 2015 when a flare up occurred in June. It is now disease-free for the second time. The impact on Deborah and her sister Florence and cousins Mattie and Ingrid has been tremendous. Schools were closed for six months. Simple human touch – a handshake or a hug – has all but disappeared. Deborah no longer shares her lunch or water with friends at school. Her classroom holds fewer children, all of whom must sit further apart than before Ebola; many children have not returned to school.
Deborah Lindhom is the Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Women. For over 20 years she has lived and worked in Africa, India and the United States on issues of poverty, education and microcredit.