The Ebola virus scare is on everyone’s mind right now. Every day we stay glued to the news to hear what is new about the efforts to fight it, about the number of people infected. It’s a worldwide effort, even if West Africa is under the spotlight.
Our guest blog for this week comes from Joanna Boer. She is a wife, mum to four boys, a blogger, a fitness enthusiast and CEO/Founder of Empire Jane, a company that manufactures “authentic, exceptionally-designed and excellently-made home ware and gift items from West Africa.” Joanna lives in Lagos, Nigeria, and recently wrote about how the Ebola virus has affected her family’s life and her decision not to live in fear. We feature the blog below. It first appeared on Joanna’s blog on Thursday, August 7th.
I have also taken the liberty to add some photos of helpful hand washing techniques that can help keep us all safe as we fight the spread of this virus. Please enjoy the blog below.
By Joanna Boer
My husband and I are committed, practicing Christians, and we are raising our children to be the same. Now as strange, quaint and outdated as that sounds (I will leave that for another blog), it also means we have complete confidence that our life is directed by God. That He takes an active interest in our lives. That through prayer and obedience, nothing is random. Now I know I have lost some of you at “prayer and obedience” so will continue quickly…..
After many weeks apart and a physically fragmented family this summer, key for us was to reunite the family as soon as we could. W needed to return to Lagos, the place of his employment, and I needed to stay behind in the U.S. for health reasons for our son. We agreed that the doctor’s report would determine when I left the U.S. and joined my husband and two sons in Lagos. Genuinely open to any further delays if the doctor so deemed, I was relieved when he gave us the go ahead to leave the U.S. That week as I prepared for return I checked in with my husband about the emerging ebola situation and after diligently looking into it, he said it was safe for us to return. I felt as though I had checked every box in regards to our reunion.
So we did and I felt no regret about it. Happy to reunite my family, yes, but I also believed I was honoring God who places a high value on healthy family life. I felt as though I was being obedient. (You can roll your eyes here; I’m not offended)
No sooner had we arrived to Lagos airport we were reminded of the escalating ebola threat. At the airport many were in gloves and Nigerian passport control scanned all passengers with thermometers to ensure no one was arriving with high temperatures. Though ominous, it was comforting that some sort of screening was being done.
The next few days have brought more news and concern re ebola. A nurse has now died in a part of town very close to us. The school our children attend has made the decision to delay the opening of the school year by two weeks. All this news as my husband is in the U.S. for work and I sit here in Lagos with four children, one of whom is less than 3-months-old.
Instinct of course is to panic. Social media is no help with the crazy speculations. Part of me feels as though ebola is knocking at my door. Deliberately meandering thorough everyone else to come to me. With two weeks to spare before school starts my husband instructed me to check flights back to Atlanta where we have a comfortable home, family, and the CDC. “Will you stay with us?” I asked him via text. “No. I will have to be in Lagos.” “Then I am not leaving.” I responded. “Until it’s also not safe for you to be here, we will all stay.” Not to mention that Delta wants to charge me 18 thousand USD to fly–economy– for the 5 of us (one infant). “It’s rash.” I texted my husband. We will stay until there is a compelling reason we all need to leave, and at that point it must mean you will come too. I felt wise.
But maybe I am silly. Or maybe I am tired of being heartsick at being away from my husband and a portion of my kids. Or maybe I am rational and thinking. Refusing to join the hysteria. I don’t know, but in the meanwhile here is what we are doing:
We will remain until there is an official evacuation.
Washing hands like there is no tomorrow. Anyone who enters our home is greeted with a “Wash your hands please” This is not a request, but a command from our nanny who bears a strong resemblance to my aunty Pat. Aunty Pat is someone you do not mess with, as is our nanny.
Hand sanitizer is used as a backup
Anyone who comes in must have a really good reason to do so. Sorry if we seem antisocial.
I’ve decided not to buy fresh/local fruit and vegetables. Rather will spend the extra money to buy imported frozen– for now.
Thankfully I brought a few cases of clorox wipes, so every evening we wipe door handles, switch plates, anything that is touched often
We are taking immunity boosters and have given them to our staff as well. Can’t hurt
NO ONE is allowed to touch the baby. I am completely GANGSTA about this and I could care less who takes offense
We will limit our movement and if we do go out will consider wearing gloves and masks. Fully aware though that this can also add to the hysteria and make us laughing stocks of the general public….
We live our lives trying not to scare the boys though they are old enough and aware of the precautions they need to take
We pray and trust God
I know there is a fanatical IJN movement– language that throws around concepts like “favor”, “God’s will” “my portion” etc. I am not subscribing to that. I do not somehow believe that God loves my family more than he does the families of the victims so far. That somehow we are worth saving as opposed to others.
But I do believe we are in Lagos for a reason, and that God has sanctioned that reason, and that He will protect my family and me. It’s a comfort to me, and you may call it what you will. He is our God and Lagos is our home.
Joanna has written an update to her Ebola post. You can read it
Thanks for reading. We may not all be able to do great things, but we can always do small things with great courage.
In the meantime, keep your hands clean:
It can only get better…
Thank goodness it’s Monday!! Another go at this work-life balance! You know how it is, Sunday night you start trying to sort out what needs to happen on Monday, and happen fast! You can tell by Monday morning traffic that EVERYONE is trying to beat the traffic jam to get to the workplace EARLY! Meetings, deadlines, school runs, exams! Just the dizzying thought of all that needs to be done on Monday and throughout the week can dissolve all the refreshment of a (hopefully) relaxing weekend!
Don’t let it be! Yes, there is a lot to do and a lot at stake, there is a lot that could go wrong, but this is why I love this quote I found on Mentors’ Channel:
Get Excited!! Get excited about that meeting because you KNOW that your proposal will be approved. Get excited about school runs because you KNOW you are investing in your child’s future, in a better future. Get excited about that exam because your brain is ready to razzle and dazzle! That interview? Not a problem, they will call you to negotiate your terms! The car is at the mechanic again? Less time spent buying fuel! Bad hair day? Good spa day!! Can I hear a “YEAH!”
We spend so much time worrying about the “what ifs, the shouldn’ts and couldn’ts.” Today, get excited about the “why nots, the absolutelys, the musts and the cans!” Get excited about what can go RIGHT!
Because, seriously speaking,
It can only get better!!
I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it!
All my dating ladies! Hello! So, you are having butterflies over that fine chap that you are hanging out with and it feels like things are getting serious. How do you know if the guy you are with is a great guy?!
Well, I found this great article from lifehack.org that gives some practical tips that you can use to tell if you are dating a guy who is not just alright, not just good, but great! Enjoy!
Agree? Disagree? Talk to me! Leave your comments below!
It can only get better!