Liberia’s mere survival over all these tumultuous 16 and one half decades is alone an achievement for which we must give immense thanks to the Almighty.
But there are many other reasons why we should render thanks to our Creator. He has blessed us with a small, but growing and manageable population and with abundant resources that could make everyone well off. These resources include gold, diamond, iron ore and now oil.
He has also blessed us with abundant rainfall and vast green acreage. The Atlantic Ocean which washes our shores gives us 350 miles of coastline and abundant seafood for our protein. There is also fish in our numerous rivers and creeks.
In addition to all of these, Liberia has many friends around the world. From 1848 when Great Britain became the first to recognize Africa’s first independent Republic, to the latest Letters of Credence which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received from the Ambassadors of Denmark and Holland, Liberia has always been blessed with foreign friends. Yes, there have been difficult times when some of them, notably Britain and France, chopped off huge chunks of our land that are now part of Guinea, La Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone. But that is all now in the distant past. Today these nations are friends of Liberia, joining with many others to help us in our development.
But today we are living in horribly difficult times, when the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has been ravaging Liberia. Since March 2014 when the first case spread to Liberia from neighboring Guinea, thousands of our people from almost every area of the country have died from the virus, presenting us with the worst health crisis in our history. But here again, we must quickly say thank God that in spite of the pessimistic, Judgment Day predictions of global medical organizations, the infection rates have been consistently going down.
Part of this Thank You goes to our many health and medical workers, some of whom, being on the frontline in the anti-Ebola fight, have paid the supreme sacrifice to save lives; and others who have successfully treated many of the infected and are spreading awareness among the general population.
This Thank You goes also to our many international partners who, though belatedly, have come concretely to our rescue. They include our Chinese, American and European Union partners; our African Development Bank, German, Norwegian, Japanese, Nigerian, ECOWAS and African Union partners and many others. The Chinese have sent in several plane loads of health and medical supplies, and are now building an Ebola Treatment Unit at the S.K.D. Sports Complex; while the Americans who, following an order by President Barrack Obama, have deployed over 3000 troops on the ground building 16 or more ETUs and rendering many other kinds assistance.
Because of all these local and international interventions, the virus spread has in many places waned over the past few weeks. Today many of the ETUs show very low occupancy, including one of the newest in Congo Town. It was opened last Friday and as at this Wednesday evening, November 5, thank God, there were yet no patients there!
The good Lord has delivered us from many calamities in the past, and clearly now, He is delivering us from this one, too.
But in addition, He has led many of our international partners, notably the Chinese and the Americans, to pledge massive support to help us develop an efficient, nationwide healthcare delivery system in the post-Ebola era.
This, we submit, is a very serious and invaluable opportunity. Should we Liberians be prepared to make the utmost use of this opportunity, we could extend it to other areas of national need, other segments of our infrastructural development, including energy, roads, water and tourism ventures that will saturate this country with jobs. For our partners know disease thrives in poverty and underdevelopment. They could, depending on how serious we become and how prepared we are to challenge them—our development partners could take the long view and engage in long-term, many faceted development undertakings that could at last place Liberia on the road to full recovery and national development.
But first, all Liberians have to get serious, and if we do, we could one day say Thank God for Ebola, for it was out of its ashes that we could see a truly new day in Liberia. But everything depends upon us, with the help and direction of God.