There has been a lot going on in Nigeria recently, from the issues we have “traditionally” battled with, to the relatively new insurgency, to the Chibok girls who have remained in the hands of their captors for 4 months now, then the outbreak of Ebola. It is almost as though there is a siege going on and with the siege comes the accompanying fear and worry! It is those 2 that I want to address.
Fear by its very nature takes away the ability to think rationally and make decisions that are knowledge based. Worry, is actually a state that increases hopelessness rather than the ability to create the change you want to see. As the Serenity Prayer says “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
So if we look at all of these causes for worry that exist in Nigeria at the moment, which of these categories do they fall under? Ebola- we can change/affect the spread of. Insurgency- we can affect the people who can change it. The Chibok girls- we can continue to put them at the forefront of national discourse so that they are not forgotten! My point is rather than live in fear or die worrying we can take action. We can also pray!
So first allow me speak the promises from Isaiah 62 over this nation:
“Because I love Nigeria, because my heart yearns for NIGERIA, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
The nations will see Nigeria’s righteousness. Kings will be blinded by your glory. And the LORD will give you a new name.
The LORD will hold you in his hands for all to see — a splendid crown in the hands of God.
Never again will you be called the Godforsaken City or the Desolate Land. Your new name will be the City of God’s Delight and the Bride of God, for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his own.
Your children will care for you with joy, O NIGERIA, just as a young man cares for his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.
O NIGERIA, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray to the LORD day and night for the fulfillment of his promises. Take no rest, all you who pray.
Give the LORD no rest until he makes NIGERIA the object of praise throughout the earth.
The LORD has sworn to NIGERIA by his own strength: “I will never again hand you over to your enemies. Never again will foreign warriors come and take away your LOVED ONES
You raised it, and you will keep it, praising the LORD. Within the courtyards of the Temple, you yourselves will drink the wine that you have pressed.”
Go out! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see.
The LORD has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.'”
They will be called the Holy People and the People Redeemed by the LORD. And NIGERIA will be known as the Desirable Place and the City No Longer Forsaken.” **
Amen and Amen!
Now to Ebola:
Ebola is indeed scary, but what can we do? 1. Remember that only a person who is already ill with Ebola can transmit it. Even if they have had contact with someone with the virus, until they become ill themselves, they cannot transmit it. 2. That said, if we look at transmission to people who were in the same hospital that the first person who brought the infection into the country were, (I don’t want to mention his name because I honestly feel that though the decision to come here wasn’t wise, I don’t think he came with malicious intent, I think he came thinking he could find help in Nigerian hospitals). Anyhow, looking at transmittal to the others, two things are clear, the need to keep hands clean between visiting patients, if you are hospital staff and as individuals, the need to keep our hands clean and sanitized- imagine that Mr A has touched C who touched someone with Ebola, neither of them is sick yet, so they think this hand washing and sanitising is too much sef or think they’ll get back to washing their hands later. Innocent you comes by, shakes Mr A, then you turn around, want to take your sanitiser out of your bag, but your eye itches, you scratch it, then bring out your sanitizer. Your eye being an open membrane means you have now deposited the virus which A got from C, and which maybe neither of them passed into their own membranes, directly into your own body? See?! That’s why we clean, sanitise and greet -for now- without handshakes!
Anyhow, don’t take my word for it please see what the experts have to say at http://ebolafacts.com andhttp://eboladettolprevention.com , I like the last one because it has information that is specific to Nigeria.
So please let’s act with wisdom, not fear, not panic but also not with denial. It is here but it can be contained and does not need to spread any further and you can play a part in ensuring that that doesn’t happen.
To the Chibok girls: let’s not stop drawing the government’s attention to them individually and collectively.
While dealing with all of these, we also need to keep our eyes on the global picture. As a people, we need to tackle the issues of corruption, lack of infrastructure, inequality, I discussed those here and here, please read and let’s all contribute to building the Nigeria that we want to see!
Ciao! Be awesome, be Ebola free and spread the facts, act in knowledge, not fear this week. Also please educate and empower people around you- buy wipes, Sanitizers and all for your domestic, staff, drivers, people around you who may not know how to deal with this. As you learn more about Ebola and what people can do, teach others around you. Let’s contain this please, we can do something!
** Thank you to my friend Sophia Mbakwe for sending Isaiah 62 as a prayer for Nigeria and allowing me include that in this post.