A group of African students and students with African decent at Kalamazoo College came together on Sunday to reflect on the Ebola epidemic during the weekly Kalama-Africa student organization meeting. The discussion-based reflection was a result of a shared sentiment to address several issues pertaining to the Ebola epidemic in relation to our experiences on campus.
A couple of African students have been approached by fellow students on several occasions and questioned about Ebola and whether their families are safe.
“It’s like even though I’m not infected by the disease I am still affected,” said Thomas Nganu a visiting International student from Kenya.
Students of the Kalama-Africa Stuorg acknowledged that the Ebola virus disease is directly linked to the African continent and are touched and alarmed by the many lives that have succumbed to it. However, this does not mean that there is Ebola in every African country.
For the sake of clarity, the West African countries with active Ebola cases now include Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. In short, the epidemic does not define the African continent. It should not be used to shape or reinforce perceptions about Africa or Africans.
In response to the numerous Ebola jokes following the outbreak the Kalama-Africa student organization believes that it is inappropriate for anyone to trivialize the situation. What is a joke to one is someone else’s reality.
The organization urges the Kalamazoo College community to act respectful and empathetic towards the many people who have and are still battling with Ebola on a daily basis. The students of the Kalam-Africa organization urge the K community to become educated on how the virus is spread and how it is affecting certain groups of people.
If anyone is interested in learning more about African countries, the Kalama-Africa Student Organization welcome you to our meetings every Sunday at 7 p.m.