Capital Region couple recalls time with Liberian Peace Corps

From WNYT:

Imagine having to flee your country and travel to a foreign land to escape a horrible disease.

It sounds like a Hollywood movie, but for about a dozen families who have come to the Capital Region from West Africa, it’s no movie. It’s their reality.

“The terror from seeing your neighbors going down, and seeing bodies in the street. It was like the aftermath of the war,” recalled John Kucig.

He knows of what he speaks, when it comes to the Ebola crisis in Liberia.  He along with his wife, Lyn, worked in Liberia as Peace Corp Volunteers.

“It seemed like a good way to serve the country and of course (John) Kennedy asked what can you do for your country,” she explained.

They were teachers and kept in contact with some of the people there-who they affection ally call “friends,” and heard about the desperation and despair people were going through. It’s a hopelessness that’s caused those who could to flee-headed for other countries–including the United States and right here the Capital Region.

“In the Capital Region there are probably between 12 and 15 people here at this point,” said Kucig.

He said all were grateful to find refuge here and voluntarily quarantined themselves.
“All of the ones that we’re aware of have fully complied with their local county health departments. They’ve cooperated, they’ve self-restricted themselves. They’ve reported temperatures during that first 21 days of monitoring,” explained Kucig.

I spoke to some of those families but they were afraid to talk on camera– afraid of retribution.

“There was a lot of sigma attached with anybody who came from anywhere in West Africa – no matter whether they might have had contact with Ebola or not. I think some of those folks who come to this area maintain a wariness about identifying themselves – where they are, who they are, where they came from,” surmised Kucig.

Now that the fear by some Americans about the disease has died down john and Lyn –are hoping people won’t forget that the situation in West Africa is still dire and that donations are still needed.

“It hit so hard and so fast. With an already damaged infrastructure, it devastated what was there,” said Kucig.

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