Today I awoke to find many email messages from Liberia in my inbox. And once again I am reminded of the tremendous contrast between life in America and life in Liberia. It is as though they are separate planets vs separate places on this planet. I am preparing to return to Liberia next week for the first time since leaving abruptly last August when the US State Department advised all non-essential Americans to leave Liberia due to the ebola crisis. I am so anxious to return.
My namesake Deborah who just turned 7 years old this month wants me to come to the wedding of her parents on March 7th. Dear friends Arthur and Amelia are getting married after being together; Deborah and her sister Florence will be the flower girls. This is a sign that life in this war-torn country is trying to create a new normal now that the threat of ebola is passing. I have arranged to have a videographer help me document the reality of life in Liberia today. We will begin with the wedding the day after I arrive. I want to know how people have survived, what their daily reality is now, what their hopes are for the future after ebola. I will speak with Deborah and her parents, our US Ambassador to Liberia, the Vice President of the country, our FFW staff and the women and families we serve, the personnel at the Kendeja Hotel which is where I call home, and other dear friends. It is impossible to imagine what life has been like for all of them and the country these last seven months. I want to find out – and I want to let the world know.
I have been so aware of many things since not being in Liberia. The contrast between my life in America and life in Liberia is beyond words dramatically different, opposite extremes. I am also acutely aware of the lack of diversity in my world these last many months, not just the absence of Africans but also the absence of so many global family members who were in Liberia to help rebuild the country after the devastating civil war. I am also acutely aware that I am beginning a new chapter in the life of the Foundation for Women and my life personally. What will it contain now that we have suspended our domestic poverty eradication work after a decade and closed our FFW Center and moved into a new space? I have no expectations, but I do know that expanding the global awareness that we are one human family must be part of the next chapter. When some of us are not OK, none of us are OK. We are all inter-connected, all sharing this same boat called Earth. Ebola is an example of how we do not get that yet. Except for a brief time when a few cases occurred outside of West Africa, ebola has been an Africa problem vs a human being problem. I am committed to doing whatever I can to change that reality. We are one global human family, we are all global citizens.
With love and gratitude for your special support for almost two decades now, especially during this unprecedented ebola crisis ~ Deborah