Laurie Garrett

I'm Back From Liberia and Under a (Self-Imposed) Quarantine in Brooklyn

Going from Monrovia to Belgium to New York meant enduring power outages, fever checks, Ebola questionnaires, and the hallway from hell.

Throughout my 29-hour journey home from the West African Ebola epidemic, one question lurked in the back of my mind: How will America greet me? Will I be quarantined?

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Ebola Was Here

Ebola cases are dropping so rapidly that Liberians are talking about the disease in the past tense. They shouldn’t be.

MONROVIA, Liberia — Promised by U.S. President Barack Obama in early September, the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU), built by the United States Army 101st Airborne division, opened yesterday to the appreciative smiles of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac. The 25-bed tent facility is the Cadillac of the country's Ebola Treatment Centers, or Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs): air-conditioned, comfortable, and staffed by highly trained members of the U.S. Public Health Service.

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The Pulpit Takes On a Plague

While some Liberian religious leaders are harnessing fears over the Ebola outbreak to further an anti-gay agenda, other churches are preaching peace, calm, and a chlorine rinse.

MONROVIA, Liberia — The pews were packed in Bethel Cathedral of Hope on Sunday, as some 600 well-dressed Liberians prayed for an end to the Ebola crisis. The Rev. Wolo Belleh beseeched his charismatic congregation: "Look back, look back at all our country has suffered. Look back at those who have been taken from us. Praise God!"

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Journey to the Center of an Epidemic

From New York to Brussels to Dakar to Monrovia: Day One of the trip to see Ebola-ravaged Liberia, up close and personal.

MONROVIA, Liberia — The journey to Liberia tests the mettle of any American wanting to help the nation in its Ebola crisis. The trek really begins with fears about how the Samaritan will be received once he or she returns from the epidemic, facing quarantines and stigma. And the first leg lands the traveler in a political and cultural climate in steamy West Africa marked by resilience in the face of genuine threat.

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