Here at Search Africa, we have to reiterate that we MUST learn to use the internet to truly empower ourselves with information. We must learn how to share this information in a way that is meaningful and effective to those of us who don't have as much access as the rest of us.
This is so important!
Since the current scare of the Ebola Virus broke in parts of West Africa a few months ago, we in Nigeria had kept relatively quiet and unconcerned about the whole thing.
To be honest there is some lesson to be learned from that in itself; considering that we Africans claim to be one family.
Nevertheless my purpose in the post is to draw your attention into informing and enlightening each other as a form of protection against the loss of life through stupidity!
From last week, the reports became scarier as we heard about its spread into Liberia, and rumours about Ebola in Togo (which is even closer).
But much to my disappointment, this scare was widely met with jokes.
All over social media, and especially blackberry broadcasts, people were sharing jokes about the Ebola virus, as if it was something that they saw in a popular movie.
This is a dangerously crazy attitude to have!
Many of us made the same silly jokes about the HIV/Aids virus when we first heard about it, until it began to kill people close to those who were close to us.
That's what usually makes people take things more seriously....Proximity!
But why wait till then?
Brothers & sisters, this virus is in many ways deadlier than HIV. Because of how EASY it is to spread. It does not require something as elaborate as unprotected sexual intercourse. Please read the facts below:
Now please forgive me if it sounds like I am judging you (if you the reader have been a part of this jesting), it is not you in particular that I am angry with here, but the general idea that it is okay to keep making jokes about such serious issues.
The truth is that in this fully ripe age of Information, making jokes about something is the LEAST effective way to fight against it. In my opinion at least.
So let us fight this thing with the right information.
I rarely get a chance to watch Nigerian TV these days, and I know that many people don't even have tvs in their homes. While others (like myself) spend so much time watching DSTV.
Either Way, I do not see anyone sharing the info they are getting from the govt (if any at all). All I see are people making jokes about it, and perhaps a few comments about a possible cure in bitter kola. I haven't come across anyone sharing info about PRECAUTIONARY measures, which are critical at this point.
But luckily, some of us, like myself, also spend a lot of time on the internet. And so we are able to grab the necessary information when ever we need it.
And it is important to point out that sharing on the internet is NOT ENOUGH! People need to talk about this in community settings. We need to communicate to those who are not educated. If you are honest with yourself, you know that you know those kinds of people who will not be able to grasp a message from the tv or even think of reading an update on social media.
So let's be proactive:
Please join me and share this possibly life-saving piece of information VERBALLY with your neighbors, your friends, your maids, your cooks, those that drive you to work, and even that silly police man that stops you to extort N50 from you. Seriously!