from the commuter

The photos which I took myself are random images of commuting and life. Enjoy the ride!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Of Ebola and friendship

Commuter's work has entitled him to certain benefits that he enjoys. One of them is vacation! Commuter plans to go to the land of milk and honey, that is if he gets his precious visa approved. While the visa is no where yet in sight, he dreams of going to places, visiting friends, taking a picture of  'HOLLYWOOD' and other things that a poor lad could ever dream of.

Should good fortune be on his stars, he will travel in November. He will meet friends and get his passport stamped. Or will he?

Then, few weeks before his contemplated travel, he receives a Facebook message from his supposed host in Florida. It reads:

Dear Commuter, Let me start by saying, Please do not take offense to what I am about to say. This is not a personal attack to you. I know I've offered you my home for you to stay when you visit, however I can no longer make that offer because you are flying in from Nigeria, which is a very high risk country for Ebola. As you may already be aware, we have cases of it here in the US. I have a two year old at home and I am only looking out for the welfare of my family. I hope you understand. You know I love you and would love to make the best of your stay here. I really apologize.

There. The meeting of friends ends before it could even start. He could not believe what he had read. Suddenly, blood went up his head, but he tried to understand the situation.

Immediately he responds:

Dear host, I am not offended by what you had to say. In fact it is understandable. I work at the embassy where we get similar concerns. However, I cannot deny the fact that I am disappointed. As a result, I will have to cancel my planned visit to Miami. I will go elsewhere where I am welcome. Just for the information of all, Ebola in Nigeria has been contained, and I have never set foot in any of the West African countries worst-affected by the outbreak.

What he should have said was, "You are a dear friend. I will never harm you or your family. Your health, safety and peace of mind are more important than my personal happiness. "

Then he will try to assess his future travel plans.

With sadness, he reflects on the situation. Ebola has done damage beyond the  5000 lives it already claimed. It has already caused some major damage to the living, and will continue more so even beyond one's death.

For now, he prays for his health and friends. If he experiences difficulties in a country where Ebola is believed to have been contained, he could only only imagine what goes in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Spain and the US where his friend resides. "I hope it doesn't spread elsewhere," Commuter says.

Perhaps, sticking with Nigeria and the Philippines for tourism would be the best option for now. And besides, he has visa for Nigeria already.