Just over three years ago, the worst Ebola outbreak in history began, taking more than a year to control and eradicate. The disease devastated three countries in West Africa: Guinea (Conakry), Sierra Leone, and Liberia. By the time the outbreak dissipated, nearly 27,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 eventually died from the disease.
Despite the recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola is no longer rampant in these three West African countries. However, there are still many who live with the scars of the disease — both physically and emotionally. Similar to the AIDS crisis that engulfed sub-Saharan Africa, Ebola left a stigma. Even those who fought Ebola and survived can become outcasts in their community. Some people are afraid to come close to them because they worry that the disease is still alive in their systems.
The Church of the Nazarene was not exempt from the effects of Ebola.
"We have continued to provide support to 22 children who lost their parents and families to the Ebola crisis," said Vidal Cole, Sierra Leone district superintendent. "We've worked with advocacy, food, and educational support for them."
Last December, the church provided a Christmas party for the Ebola orphans. The children, in turn, invited others in the community to celebrate with them, resulting in a great time of fellowship. The Africa West Field has also provided school stationary for 50 children who were desperately in need.
Boreholes and sanitation facilities have been provided for six communities through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.
"This has made life much easier for the inhabitants of these communities as they no longer have to walk miles in search of water," Cole said. "The quality of the life for the people has greatly increased and the presence of a water well in a community means a greater chance of survival, should Ebola resurface again."
To give toward wells in Sierra Leone and Libera through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, click here.