It was a beautiful morning, the whole of Africa arose to the bells of a virus been born in her continent. In some countries, people had to face the reality that mothers couldn’t cuddle their daughters, fathers couldn’t hold their sons and the entire populace was scared of contact especially a random one, this was terrible because for people like me running a professional course at the time, touching people randomly wasn’t a choice; because I had to cramp in a bus every day. In summary people were frightened of each other, therefore trapped in their own freedom. Ebola was here and many people went to their early graves for that. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t funny. Heroes were needed as volunteers in Africa and ordinary Nigerian Health Workers responded.

Africa had long seen colonial rules, civil wars, corrupt leaders and even slavery but Ebola was in a class of its own. Nevertheless many organisations through the good wills of fellow men had been on standby just in case of a situation like this in any part of the world, but this Ebola outbreak that soon became an epidemic was beyond any logical plans, especially when all it needed to spread was just a single touch. The heroics of this volunteers were properly summarised by Nancy Gibbs a contributor to Time magazine, she said “Anyone willing to treat Ebola victims ran the risk of becoming one. Which brings us to the hero’s heart.”

In a country like Nigeria whose heroes have always been the military and on very rare occasion’s athletes, it was an overwhelming sight to see that out of the 855 volunteers around Africa, 206 came from Nigeria. This proves, despite the hard-core nature of an average Nigerian not to even think of the option to lay down their life’s for another Nigerian except that of their own family, there is a reserved set of individuals who for the right course and no military affiliation, can choose to lay down their lives, time and money for others and sometimes like these health workers for those not in the bothers of Nigeria.

There has been no confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the week to 6th of December as reported by #AfricaAgainstEbola campaign, although most of the countries are still under surveillance especially the 3 cases in Liberia back in November, its benign to say that Africa has come a long way the last one year or as clearly put by StriveMasiyiwa, who says “Experts predicted 1 million infection by Jan ’15, today numbers keep declining because we (Africa) said NO” and we are proud to see that Nigerians were part of that NO literally.

The war is not over.  But we are winning several battles already and it’s largely because of these volunteers from across Africa and the World. Today we as Nigerians celebrate the Heroes from Nigeria. Who despite leaving their families behind went far to keep us safe at the expense of their own lives. Thank you for being courageous.

By the way am just a Bystander


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