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Continued: Watching Ebola outbreak, Minnesotans scramble their travel plans

  • Article by: SAMANTHA SCHMIDT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 4, 2014 - 9:16 AM

In Chaska, Cornerstone Mission Liberia raised $7,000 to build a school in a village about 25 miles from Monrovia, Liberia.

Annetta Daidii, the project’s founder, said she planned to buy a ticket last week to oversee the development of the school, but her travel agent advised against it. Now she worries about sending large sums of money without monitoring the work herself. “I have everything on hold right now,” Daidii said. “It’s really a sad situation.”

Children’s Surgery International, a Minnesota nonprofit, has canceled a trip to Firestone Duside Hospital in Liberia, where the team of nurses and doctors has traveled annually for five years to perform reconstructive surgeries.

“These are difficult surgical cases that they collect over the year,” said Peter Melchert, medical director for the organization. This year, he said, “these kids aren’t going to get that care.”

For many Minnesotans, the potential consequences of the spreading epidemic are even more direct and dramatic.

Denise Butler, a Brooklyn Park resident, has been trying to bring home her mother, a Liberian citizen who raised Denise and her family in Minnesota. Lady Butler, 57, lives in Liberia and had planned on visiting her family in Minnesota in June. She has been applying for a visa for the last three months, but has been denied because of the backlog of applications, Denise Butler said.

Lady Butler owns a funeral home in Painesville, Liberia. Although she has not yet received any bodies infected with Ebola, she is afraid that she could soon become exposed. “We pray that no bodies will make it to the funeral home,” Denise Butler said. “I’m very scared.”


Samantha Schmidt • 612-673-4641


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