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Couple Working in Guinea Shares Experiences While in Northland

Updated: 08/27/2014 10:22 PM
Created: 08/27/2014 8:57 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

A couple working in West Africa visited the Northland this week. They were in Guinea when the Ebola virus first started to spread.

"I really want it to stop," Doctor Jon Erickson said.

Jon and his wife Anja operate the Hope Medical Center in the southeastern part of Guinea.

"Just recently, people have come into the city nearby where we were and two people died and the rest were quarantine," Jon said.

"The risk is limited, but if you get it, the virus can be very deadly," Anja said.

The couple said the Ebola virus hasn't reached their community and they're thankful for that.

"We had somebody that was at a mission near us; their lab doctor died," Jon said.

Since April, Jon and Anja have been traveling. They were in Duluth to thank a couple at the Duluth Gospel Tabernacle for their support. Rolf and Ann Fure have visited Liberia for medical mission trips, but the Ebola outbreak canceled their trip this year.

Jon said it's spreading several different ways.

"We grew up with an idea of how to control germs and a lot of people where we are working in Africa don't really understand the concept of germs," Jon said. "We have a friend who's trying to teach how to stop it from spreading and when he went to the capital city of Guinea he couldn't even find Clorox. That's really an important thing you put in the water when you're washing hands."

Jon and Anja started their medical center 11 years ago, but now they aren't sure when they'll be able to go back. They have plans to expand their center, but they need more doctors. The two they have are overworked.

"They're on call every other night; they're on call every weekend," Anja said.

"A lot of people can't get surgery because to get a good surgeon you need to go a couple days away and people can't afford to do that," Jon said.

Rolf and Ann Fure are still accepting donations to send over to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak. You can drop things off at the Duluth Gospel Tabernacle on Superior Street in Duluth.

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