In Sierra Leone, the recent Christmas and the New Year observances passed with a whimper. The traditional public celebrations were muted on orders of the government in the face of the Ebola crisis that has ravaged its residents.
An estimated 3,000 people of Sierra Leone have succumbed to the deadly disease out of a population of 6 million. By comparison, that would be the equivalent of 158,000 people in America dying of Ebola. That’s roughly the population of the city of Eugene, Oregon, home to the University of Oregon.
Imagine the terror that would strike this country if 158,000 people had died of Ebola, with the disease continuing to claim victims. The disease has left thousands of children orphaned, among them those pictured above in a Freetown neighborhood.
In the summer of 2014, we in the Transformational Education Network were partnering with Rev. Samuel Kargbo in operating a Christ-centered Computer Training Outreach school in Freetown, Sierra Leone. That abruptly came to a halt when the Ebola crisis brought the country to its knees and he had to close the school that was operating in his garage.
We have had sporadic contact with Rev. Kargbo since then, understandable given the horrifying circumstances he and his family are enduring in the West African country. In a recent email, Rev. Kargbo wrote that while in church on Dec. 14, 2014, two of their close neighbors died. Those left behind included four more orphans.
For a while this past summer, Rev. Kargbo’s community was holding 15 funerals a day for the victims of Ebola. Since the wave of Ebola deaths has taken its deadly toll on his community, Rev. Kargbo and his wife, Mary, have been tending to the orphans and widows of his neighborhood.
“My wife and I want to kick off an orphanage home but it will involve a lot of funding and has to be continued,” Rev. Kargbo wrote in a December email. “The sustainability is the problem we are envisioning. If we cannot get partners to start the orphanage, we will embark on providing some assistance in addressing their basic needs such as education, medical and food items.”
One the Ebola crisis passes and Rev. Kargbo is able to open the TEN3 school, he envisions some of the orphans from the upper secondary school enrolling in the computer training school.
“We could provide skills for the widows using my wife’s knitting, soap making, gara tie dye and literacy program,” Rev. Kargbo wrote. “We can assist the widowers with some form of training and capital for business. We can send some to various skills training programs.”
We believe Rev. Kargbo is a bright, compassionate light in a country of darkness. From his emails his faith remains resolute, his hope strong.
“We are just waiting on the protection of the Lord from the Ebola virus disease,” Rev. Kargbo wrote. “Our family gives God the glory but frankly speaking, things are very hard for us.”
We are working on partnering with the Wesleyan Denomination to provide assistance in the form of supplies such as food, chlorine, soap and buckets, and funds to assist Rev. Kargbo. Please keep in prayer Rev. Kargbo and the church leadership as they meet next week to consider assisting him in channeling resources through the Wesleyan Mission in Freetown.
If you feel led to help in some manner, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
–Matt Sabo, TEN3 communications manager