Monrovia to Bong
I left for Liberia on Royal Air Maroc. It seems that Brussels Airline and Royal Air Maroc are the only two airlines that are still flying to Liberia. I had a lay-over in Casa Blanca for an interminable thirteen hours listening to the piped music being played over and over. Having seen Casa Blanca a few years ago I was not to take a trip to the city. The flight from Morocco to Liberia was filled mainly with expats. Upon arrival we had to wash our hands and to have our temperature taken. I did not get into Monrovia till about four in the morning.
The following afternoon we drove to Bong. A huge sign in town announced “Ebola is real and it is here in Liberia”. We had to get down at two road blocks to get our temperature taken at a station with a banner:
Fight the Ebola virus,
Protect your family
Protect your community
Soon after leaving Monrovia the smooth tarmac road changed into ones with pot holes or red-earthed roads. Life seemed to go on here. Intermittently dark clouds threatened and rain fell heavily but only for a short spell. This is the tail end of their rainy season. In the darkened evening sky we turned into a red-earthed dirt road at a sign of The Ebola Treatment Unit of Bong County, funded by Save the Children and managed by IMC and USAID. After about a few minutes of driving through groves of rubber trees through wet, red earthed winding road, blue-tarped buildings appeared sitting atop a small hill surrounded by green jungle with ominous rain clouds in the back ground. Somewhere close by is an old Leper Colony.
I did not get down on the ground of the ETU having only sandals on my feet and my boots were in my suitcase which was buried under a heavy pile of boxes and other bags. I heard someone greet me loud and clear. A physician approached the cruiser and said that he heard my interview on NPR. My reputation preceded my arrival, whether it was good or bad. I raised some questions and issues regarding the process of volunteering for the Ebola outbreak with my interview with an NPR reporter while I was at the CDC training.
As we pulled out of the ETU, a crew in their personal protective equipment (PPE) sprayed down an ambulance which just delivered a sick patient. In the evening light, they looked surreal. In the distance the gathering dark clouds were pierced by wriggling lightning following by grumbling thunder.