Eman’s emails arrive hours ahead of the news here. He wrote on Sunday, August 17:
“An Ebola quarantine site was attacked and looted. News is that most of the patients have escaped. This is going to put more fear into the population. All this because people are denying the virus. More people might get exposed. I’m so weak I can’t wake up this morning. Its 6:00 pm and I am still in bed listening to the news. All this happened in a very populated area called West Point. Got pain all over my body. Keep me in your meditations.”
Emmanuel is a medical student in Liberia whom my husband and I have been supporting since he contacted me after reading my human genetics textbook in 2007. Until the fever hit him last weekend, he dedicated himself to “sensitization,” educating the public about how to stay safe. But now he’s too sick and weak to venture out.
His email from Monday, August 18, said only “Need help!”
Eman is our son in the African sense, not based on his DNA. And our families have grown close. Some of the funds we sent to see him through medical school helped put his mother through nursing school. It costs a fraction of medical education here.
The emails and texts from Liberia are eerie in the face of the crumbling infrastructure, the abandoned hospitals and schools. Eman taps on a phone these days, too terrified to use an Internet cafe as he has in the past. We know he’s in trouble when his brother Joseph takes over — it means Eman is in the hospital.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.