On Tuesday night I went out to dinner with some colleagues and learned more about our social mobilization program which I hope to get involved in soon. I'm writing my final paper for school on that very topic so I got a lot of great information. That paper is going to write itself! Or I'm going to write it. At the very last possible second. Per usual. Anyway, there's still a 6pm curfew in place for stores and regular restaurants. Only hotel restaurants are allowed to remain open later than that. So we went to dinner at Country Lodge which is situated at the top of a massive hill. One really great aspect of Freetown is its geography -- flat coastal areas that are surrounded by (mountainous) hills. It's got everything! So we enjoyed dinner overlooking the ocean and watching the sunset. I got a burger with a fried egg on top which I was quite sure I'd never have in Freetown.
|View from the restaurant at Country Lodge|
On Wednesday morning we had a staff meeting. Our country representative, Michael, gave a great presentation and told us "Ebola is not over. I must emphasize that. Ebola is not over so don't let your guards down. Let's be rigorous until this country is declared Ebola free." As I was sitting in that meeting I realized just how grateful I am to be here. There's only a handful of non-African staff so the fact that I get the opportunity to be here and help is just amazing to me. I'm especially excited that in just a few days of being here I already feel like I'm making a real contribution. There's a possibility of me going into the field for a couple of days next week. I think it would be so awesome to get up to Port Loko and see what's happening up there. We'll see how things go.
Something that's been really interesting to see are the Ebola response signs all over the city. They're everywhere. Unfortunately, it now seems like people are starting to get back into their old habits which could be why we're seeing a slight increase in cases in the Western Area Urban. I've seen a lot of people holding hands (it's common for people of the same gender to hold hands as a sign of friendship while they walk) or high fiving on the streets over the past couple of days. We have to make sure that people understand that Ebola could still spread quickly if old practices are resumed. At least all these signs are still up as a reminder...
|This is my personal favorite...very empowering|
|I have no idea what these say...|
|A reminder of cancelled Christmas celebrations. People were heftily fined|
for even stepping foot on the beach between Christmas and New Year's
|Initially, many people thought Ebola was just a big government conspiracy|