Anyways, since I embarked upon this Africa scheme (I love having been exposed to the use of this word to mean "plan" and not "scam"), there have been people telling me I should not go to South Africa because of the ebola outbreak. After shaking my head in dismay, I realize that people are dead serious. I understand cautioning someone to be prudent in the face of very real risks, but letting fear rule my life seems like a bad plan.
So, mistaking ignorance for concern, I will address ebola.
Firstly, the University of California, like many institutions of higher learning, is concerned with liability. They would not send the spawn of litigious Americans to their certain doom... At least, not without proper documentation. So, they have maintained a comprehensive report on the state of the outbreak.
To the best of my knowledge, they have not even cancelled the Education Abroad Programs in Ghana and Senegal. Those countries are in the same general region as the outbreak. The nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia were the worst hit. Some neighboring countries may have had isolated or minimal infections. I am not going to any of these countries. Rather, I will be in South Africa, located clear at southernmost tip of the continent.
The distance from Cape Town, South Africa to Freetown, Sierra Leone is ~3,500 miles (~5,800 km). To put that in perspective, that distance will pretty much take one from Washington DC to Lima, Peru. It is almost like saying that visiting Nova Scotia would be nice, but I don't think I will go because of that drug cartel problem in Mexico. Only, ebola is even further from South Africa and there are more national borders between there and the outbreak.
In fact, there are no cases of ebola in South Africa. Despite the adamant arguments made by an acquaintance of mine (free of the shackles of supporting evidence), this means that there have been more cases of ebola in the United States than there have been in South Africa.
I think the talented voice of Trevor Noah put it really well.
However, to acknowledge the ignorance, oops, I mean concern of some of my friends, I will post my ebola status regularly during my time in South Africa.
Current ebola status: arrogantly uninfected