POV

Killah Hills 10304: No Ebola in Little Liberia

Story and photos by Caterina Clerici - caterina.clerici@gmail.com

The EBOLA Diaries – Staten Island from Citizen Brooklyn on Vimeo.

Park Hill is known to host the most densely populated Liberian community outside Liberia. The area lies right at the tip of Brooklyn’s pointed feet, tucked in the northeastern corner of Staten Island, where more than ten thousand Liberians overall are said to live. And to which many more have fled, during the days in which refugees from the civil war that was tearing the country apart were being resettled in the United States, or still travel to: from family members simply joining their relatives for vacations or business, to celebrity visitors like compatriots Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf herself.

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

But the only reason why Park Hill seems to suddenly be worthy of everybody’s attention is another one: it starts with an E and has already claimed almost forty-five hundred victims. As of yesterday, the assistant director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Bruce Aylward, said that the virus actually has a seventy percent mortality rate and that we could expect the number of new cases to skyrocket to ten thousand a week by December. In the meantime, after the death of Liberian “patient zero” Thomas Eric Duncan, two nurses who were part of the Dallas Hospital team who tried to save him are now infected.

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

So how are Liberians on this side of the ocean handling all this?

They’re worried about their families back home, tired of being asked “How do you feel about it?” and actually even starting to get a bit pissed off with the media, which by raising the public consciousness’s alarm level from “alert” to “almost panic” has increasingly and very subtly saddled them with an aura of guilt: they somehow brought the virus into the United States—or are about to.

And that’s why, at the sight of a camera, some kids showing off their new bikes around the hood will start shouting, mockingly but just as firmly: “Go away! There’s no Ebola on Park Hill.”

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Photo © Caterina Clerici

Read the update here: http://www.citizenbrooklyn.com/topics/pov/love-in-the-times-of-ebola/