When the ebola crisis took hold in parts of West Africa in 2014, the world watched in horror and fear as tens of thousands of people died, and outbreaks occurred in different places. The way in which the disease was spread, via physical contact, made it especially awful, as it meant that any act of love or care for the sick could (and, in so many cases, did) prove fatal for the carer and those around them. Many people were therefore left to die alone without even the most basic care.
This week is World Water Week, and Tuesday evening saw the annual Dutch water sector reception at the Netherlands Embassy in Stockholm. This was a great opportunity to present some certificates of congratulations and thanks from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to Ines Coppoolse, Dutch Ambassador to Sweden, and Dick van Ginhoven, Senior Advisor Water and Sanitation, DGIS. These were given in a small ceremony inside the Ambassador’s residence. They were presented by Kelly Ann Naylor, regional WASH advisor at UNICEF and William Gyude Moore, Minister of Public Works, Liberia. I had the privilege to be present to take some pictures of the occasion – and it really did feel like a priviledge.
The ebola crisis lasted two years and killed almost 29,000 people. It showed those of us not directly affected ourselves how closely we are all connected, and that poverty anywhere harms everyone.