Virginia Barton

7 November 2014: Tragedy in West Africa


7 November 2014


What can one possibly do when the images from West Africa play across the television screen and the tragic results of the cruel disease Ebola come right into your own sitting-room? Beautiful landscapes peopled by suffering; children, babies, men, and women in the last stages of life or already dead.




Feelings of utter helplessness overcome one. Too old to be of any assistance on the spot, with outdated skills and nothing but goodwill to offer, the last resort is to reach for the cheque book or credit card and give as much as possible. Thankfully, there are doctors, nurses, and health workers already in the field doing the job in our place.


In January 2012 I wrote about the Japanese Skilled Veterans Corps, all aged over 70, who volunteered to go into the radioactive areas after the tsunami at Fukushima. They offered the remainder their lives for this purpose. I don’t know the end of the story – did they go? Was their offer accepted?

It’s exactly how one feels at the moment, except that one really has nothing practical to offer and would be far more trouble than worth.


The only thing to do is to dig deep into that pocket.




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