SSLF EDITORIAL A time to focus on hope, not fear.
The ongoing Ebola crisis entrenched in Sierra Leone and its two closest neighbors, Liberia and Guinea has cast a dark spell over the West African region and to some extent over the African continent as a whole. The news about the Ebola crisis appear to get worse as the days go by, it is increasingly hard for instance to find any positive news about Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia on television, radio, major newspapers and the various social media outlets. Quite frankly the seriousness of the Ebola crisis cannot be understated and the intense media coverage on the potential devastating effect of Ebola on loss of lives in the region along with the scary concern that it could very well become a global crisis, may be the impetus needed to get the world to act in unison to find a cure for this dreaded disease.
Amidst all this dark and gloom, however have emerged individuals of courage, displaying a strong commitment to duty despite the personal risks involved. The Sierra Leonean doctors who lost their lives in the process of trying to save others are mentioned in a fitting tribute made to them at SSLF's website by our Healthcare Director, Prof. Dr. Onike Rodrigues.
Outside the medical field there are also quite a few others exhibiting a deep sense of patriotism, individuals, who without any fanfare or reward seeking intention have devoted themselves to doing something constructive about the situation.
Beginning with the initial episode, this November, SSLF will be publishing periodic profiles of excellence, citing some of these individuals who are making extraordinary contributions in their own way in dealing with the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. We will also be contributing $100 to support the efforts of each individual profiled as a symbolic gesture of appreciation for their contribution in empowering others.
Our motive for doing this, - promoting positive news items- is frankly both self-serving and noble. On the one hand we have been a small part of the global chain dispensing the dire news about the Ebola crisis. In the interest of keeping the diaspora community informed, we distribute daily Ebola reports from Sierra Leone's health ministry, as well as monthly WHO Ebola situation reports and other related news to thousands through our network and on the SSLF website. Based on the overwhelming feedback that we have received, many find these messages useful and are quite appreciative of our efforts. Although we are grateful for this acknowledgement and we intend to continue performing this service, we realize that it is also incumbent upon us to begin to regularly shed light on some of the amazing stories of hope, compassion and patriotism we hear about, to help counter all this depressing news around us. So, this profile of excellence series is our self-serving attempt to redirect efforts and lead a way to gradually change the conversational piece on Ebola from that of being fear based - emphasizing that things are only going to get worse, to that of being hope based - believing that things will get better.
The nobler motivation on the other hand is that we sincerely believe that these stories about ordinary individuals doing amazing things to help others will inspire you the reader to get onboard the action bandwagon, if you are still waiting on the sideline. They will encourage you to choose to do something to help at least one other individual in Sierra Leone cope better with the crisis. Others may never know about your efforts and it may not be much in the eyes of those who happen to find out, but you will get the quiet satisfaction that you are also a part of the solution.
SSLF is all about promoting hope, hope in Sierra Leone, hope in humanity, hope in the future. We remain hopeful that Ebola will soon be eradicated.
The great Madiba, Nelson Mandela offered some guidance we believe is particularly helpful at this difficult point in Sierra Leone's history and we want to leave it with you as a parting thought.
"May your choices reflect you hopes, not your fears" Nelson Mandela
– SSLF Editorial Team.